In Paris, American sculptor Ross Marteau is renowned for his sensual depictions of women's bodies. After his latest love affair ends violently, he retreats to his home in Texas to start a new commission. In his local restaurant he meets Celeste, a charismatically beautiful woman, and she suggests another commission to him - her sister Leda. Intrigued ...
In Paris, American sculptor Ross Marteau is renowned for his sensual depictions of women's bodies. After his latest love affair ends violently, he retreats to his home in Texas to start a new commission. In his local restaurant he meets Celeste, a charismatically beautiful woman, and she suggests another commission to him - her sister Leda. Intrigued he agrees to meet Leda and discovers that as well as being the most beautiful woman he has ever seen she is also the most grotesque, her body distorted by her being a hunchback. Fascinated by the challenge sculpting her would entail, he agrees to take the commission. Soon he is obsessively in love with Celeste and obsessively intrigued by Leda, and he finds himself pulled deeper and deeper into their world until someone close to them is killed, and Ross finds himself so deeply ensnared in their web of dark secrets and twisted motivations that he is close to mortal suffocation.
Penzler Pick, April 2001: David Lindsey can write horrific thrillers such as Mercy, which ranks up there with such serial-killer novels as By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. However, he is also the author of gentler tales--psychological suspense where the horror is subtle and comes from everyday and unexpected sources. Animosity belongs in the second category.
Ross Marteau is an American living in Paris, where he makes a decent living as a sculptor. After a particularly nasty breakup with his girlfriend of several years, he decides to return to his home in Texas and work from his studio in the art-friendly city of San Rafael. There he settles into a routine of working in the mornings on his next project and sharing conversation and a beer in the afternoons with his friend Amado Mateos. It is during one of these afternoon meetings that he notices a newcomer to the town.
Celeste Lacan is a beautiful woman who soon approaches Ross with a proposition. She would like to offer Ross a commission to sculpt her sister. Ross demurs--he already has a commission--but Celeste asks him to meet her sister before refusing, and when he does, he understands why Celeste is so insistent. Leda is not only the most beautiful woman Ross has ever seen, she is also the ugliest, and as a sculptor Ross knows that he will learn something new about beauty. As Ross begins working with Leda and meeting Celeste in the afternoons, he becomes obsessed with the two sisters. Life is about to become a living hell for Ross Marteau, and the ending of this story about art and love is breathtakingly horrifying.
From Publishers Weekly
Set in the art world, this latest psychological thriller by suspense veteran Lindsey (Mercy; Color of Night) is an alternately entertaining and frustrating tale of a sculptor's entanglement in revenge and murder. Ross Marteau makes a handsome living sculpting female nudes from glamorous live models. After a bad breakup in Paris, he returns home to San Rafael a chic, artsy enclave in the Texas hill country for his next commission. Upon his arrival, exotically beautiful newcomer C?leste Lacan seeks him out and persuades him to sculpt her sister, Leda. Leda is striking in a photograph C?leste shows Ross, but Leda, C?leste hints, is not an ordinary beauty she will be a unique artistic challenge. As Ross soon discovers, Leda is a hunchback, stunning from some angles and startling from others. As Ross begins sketching her daily, and he and C?leste become romantically involved, he glimpses details of the sordid arrangement that binds the sisters to each other and to C?leste's abusive husband. There is an eerie tension among Ross, C?leste and Leda, which heightens when a murder disturbs the calm of San Rafael. Lindsey conceives an intriguing scenario and wrestles his story through unexpected turns. At time his efforts to conceal surprises make the writing, and especially the dialogue, irritatingly vague, and Ross becomes less sympathetic as time after time he fails to ask obvious questions when subjected to the sisters' cryptic babbling. But as the end approaches, Lindsey's obfuscation pays off, and a few clever twists are guaranteed to throw readers for a delicious loop. National advertising. (May 8)Forecast: Lindsey is one of the most accomplished writers in the thriller field, but his tales, while solid, don't match his enormous talent; and this novel, with its offbeat subject and erudite approach, won't be a smash hit.
A tortured saga of love, revenge, and betrayal, Lindsey's latest features Ross Marteau, a sculptor who is becoming a star in the art world. When a woman asks him to sculpt her sister, he has no idea that this request will lead him to obsession and murder, and a darker future than he could ever imagine. The twists and turns of the story are surprising, but the uneven narration by Joe Pantoliano requires the listener to make an effort to stay with the story. His reading of dialogue offers subtle vocal characterizations, but his reading of the narrative passages is halting and often totally flat--as if he is seeing the material for the first time. Both the suspense and the story are overcome by the dismal narration. M.A.M.
The author of ten highly acclaimed thrillers, David Lindsey is also a passionate collector of books and has built his own private library next to his house in Texas.