cover image Infernal Affairs

Infernal Affairs

Jane Heller. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-021-9

Move over, Faust: Heller (The Club) adds a witty, feminist slant to a strictly 20th-century story of the tug-of-war between good and evil. The devil in disguise makes his appearance to frumpy real estate agent Barbara Chessner in Banyan Beach, Fla., on the night on which Mitchell, her husband of 10 years, announces he is leaving to tie the knot with his partner in adultery. Having been derided for her flat chest, excess avoirdupois, disinterest in sex and failure to sell a house in over a year, Barbara ties one on, then staggers out into a tropical storm to tell whoever's listening that she's ready to make a deal. Done! She's a bodacious babe with a mouth. Soon, an attractive client, David Bettinger, comes on to her. But once she learns there's a price to pay (aside from brussels-sprouts breath), Barbara wants out of her bargain. Banyan Beach takes on a whole new light, or in this case, darkness. Waiting in the wings is pudgy Jeremy Cook, fisherman, singer, hater of pollution and secret admirer of the old Barbara. Cook cooks up a plan to best the bestial; Barbara buys into it. A bunch of wacky characters, including a persistently on-the-scene dog, share this frothy scenario, which lacks subtlety in plot and prose but succeeds on the strength of Heller's fast-paced dialogue and humor. Film rights optioned to Disney/Touchstone. (Apr.)