cover image The Lolita Man

The Lolita Man

Bill James. Foul Play Press, $17.95 (158pp) ISBN 978-0-88150-198-8

Powerfully written, taut with suspense, the second outing featuring detective chief superintendent Colin Harpur ( You'd Better Believe It ) is not for the faint-hearted. Its plot, following the diabolical actions of a psychopath who rapes, tortures and finally kills pubescent girls, is deliberately paced, moving with the inevitability of a predator stalking easy prey. Trailing the criminal just as deliberately is Harpur, a finely drawn character with a full life of his own who is determined to avoid intense interdepartmental police rivalries and apprehend the elusive ``Lolita Man'' before another girl becomes a statistic. Most chilling is the author's use of parallel diary entries, written by the rapist and by his next targeted victim, Cheryl-Ann, a plain 14-year-old whose mixture of naivete and romanticism inevitably plays into the hands of the psychopath. Cheryl-Ann's vulnerability contrasted with the perverse and tortured mindset of the man she calls ``Mr. Dark Eyes'' will be no comfort to any parent of daughters, especially when it is revealed that Cheryl-Ann has been aware of the stalker for quite some time, is in fact the friend of Harpur's own daughter and has never confided in anyone about the significant figure that the Lolita Man has become for her. This fine psychological thriller rises above disturbing novels that exploit the victims they portray as it examines the loneliness that links the killer, the cop and the victim. James is a pseudonym for David Craig, author of Whose Little Girl Are You? (May)