cover image Night Woman: Night Woman

Night Woman: Night Woman

Price, Nancy Price. Atria Books, $21 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74993-4

Well written and engaging, Price's ( Sleeping with the Enemy ) new romantic suspense novel posits an intriguing situation. Mary, the outwardly mousy wife of prizewinning author Randal Eliot--a raging, pulsing depressive who claims to write in a trance--frequently packs off her spouse to mental wards. During these delicious reprieves from his torrent of abuse, she writes his acclaimed novels. But when fate unexpectedly frees her of Randal, Mary is caught in an ironic double bind: she can't publish her own work because it appears to have been stolen from him. She marries Paul Anderson, a handsome, shiftless academic hanging on by his fingernails to an unimpressive teaching job; he thinks that an inside track to Randal will ensure his success as a biographer. When Mary infuriates him by refusing to spill Randal's secrets, she taps a wellspring of madness. The book pulls its punches until the very last chapters--the most thoroughly heart-thumping scene is a gothic chase that smacks of the romance slicks--but gritty, wry characterization, chilling images of insanity, and a long, ultimately satisfying tease which ends with Mary at last getting her due will keep readers flipping pages. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection. (June)