Danger Zones

Overview

In the picture-perfect English Cotswolds, two teenage girls dressed in punk finery attend a wild midnight party. Music, drugs, and dancing are promised by the enigmatic young man known only as Star. Charismatic and cunning, a conjurer who procures heaven for a price, Star sells seduction for a living. Now he's got a pill - a White Dove - that delivers the ultimate high. And he has a plan. By dawn, one girl will be dead, the other will have vanished - swept by Star into the danger zone. At the heart of that ...
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Danger Zones: A Novel

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Overview

In the picture-perfect English Cotswolds, two teenage girls dressed in punk finery attend a wild midnight party. Music, drugs, and dancing are promised by the enigmatic young man known only as Star. Charismatic and cunning, a conjurer who procures heaven for a price, Star sells seduction for a living. Now he's got a pill - a White Dove - that delivers the ultimate high. And he has a plan. By dawn, one girl will be dead, the other will have vanished - swept by Star into the danger zone. At the heart of that perilous place stands the gifted and reclusive Maria Cazares, a couturiere of originality and passion, a woman who shuns her own fame, a legend shrouded in mystery. Around her swirl rumor and counterrumor, whispers of shocking secrets and taboos broken. Fiercely shielded from celebrity's glare by Jean Lazare, her iron-willed partner - some say lover - Cazares is surrounded only by a carefully selected few. And the most dangerous among them is Star. Now, as the glitterati assemble in Paris for the new collections, a fatal triangle established three decades before in sultry New Orleans is about to fulfill its tragic destiny. Two journalists, firebrand editor Rowland McGuire and investigative reporter Gini Hunter, pick up the heady scent of an unfolding scandal. And as they clash over how to cover it, their hostility ignites a sudden desperate flame of desire - a desire that, if quenched, will tilt their universe.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Journalist Gini Hunter returns to England from the mountains of Bosnia only to plunge into a murderous jungle of high-fashion and drugs as Beauman, bestselling author of Destiny and Lovers and Liars, liberally applies the melodramatic glitter. Both the heart and the womb are danger zones in this romantic thriller. Gini loves war photographer Pascal Lamartine, who loves her-yet resists fathering the child she longs to conceive. Enter imperious green-eyed editor Rowland McGuire, who struggles to resist the appeal of hauntingly intense Gini. The couple sizzle with a delicious tension that other characters respect and the reader laps up. But clever Beauman makes us yearn for Rowland to see the homey charms of Gini's pal Lindsay Drummond, smart fashion editor and terrific single mom. It's Lindsay who stitches together the mystery shrouding fragile fashion genius Maria Cazars, her formidable partner, Jean Lazare, and a deadly drug pusher named Star, whose psychotic rage culminates in a tense hostage crisis. Lindsay's ultimate role, however, is to deliver a sisterly wink from author to reader. Although she tells Rowland she's deep into an Updike novel, the book atop her pile is a soothing airport romance with deft plot and big emotions, if graceless style. It's an apt overview of Beauman's own novel, whose sharp details, appealing characters and nonstop action make up for some unwieldy sentences and stark pronouncements on gender. (May)
Library Journal
Journalists Rowland McGuire and Gini Hunter get more than they bargained for when they investigate mysterious couturier Maria Cazares and her very protective business partner, Jean Lazare. Rumors of an illegitimate child, incest, and drug abuse turn out to be the tip of the iceberg, and as our intrepid duo close in on the truth, their own lives become nearly as tortured as those they are investigating. Add to the mix a psychopath on a mission, a missing schoolgirl, a drug overdose, multiple murders, and lots of sex, and you have a compulsively readable romantic thriller that begins slowly but picks up speed as it races toward an explosive ending. Fans of Beauman's Lovers and Liars (LJ 4/15/94) will recognize Gini and her lover, Pascal Lamartine, but it isn't necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one. This entertaining novel is recommended for popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/96.]-Elizabeth Mary Mellett, Brookline P.L., Mass.
Donna Seaman
Beauman is pretty darn good, a cut above many best-selling commercial fiction writers. Her plots are intelligent, her cosmopolitan glamour genuinely lustrous, and her characters multidimensional. So much so that she's continued the heated tale of Pascal, a passionate news photographer, and his lover, the smart and sensitive journalist Gini, which she began in "Lovers and Liars" (1994). They're still smoldering here, but the war in Bosnia and a green-eyed, intense, but maddeningly insouciant editor named Rowland have greatly complicated matters. Unused to witnessing such horrors as she saw in Bosnia, Gini, devastated and ill, returns home alone. Lindsay, an appealingly down-to-earth fashion reporter, convinces Gini to spend a weekend in the country, but it isn't friends and fresh air that revive her, it's the death of one teenage girl and the disappearance of another. Gini and Rowland end up conducting a quickly improvised investigation, and Rowland soon realizes that this crisis is linked to his obsession, a big story involving a dangerous designer drug called White Dove and the shocking truth about the world's most influential couturier, Maria Cazares, and her much-feared right-hand man, Jean Lazare. This is clever, suspenseful, and completely entertaining.
Kirkus Reviews
Bestselling romancer Beauman pushes all the right buttons in this thriller that reintroduces the two protagonists of Lovers and Liars (1994), albeit in supporting roles.

A mysterious new drug called White Dove, and the evil figure who dispenses it—an equally mysterious young man known only as Star—are at the heart of this hypermodern novel set behind the closed doors of the glitterati all across Europe. Deeply involved in the intrigue are fashion designer and notorious recluse Maria Cazarès and her constant companion (maybe lover) Jean Lazare, who is witnessed acquiring a large quantity of White Dove for his own, unexplained purposes. The Cazarès collection is soon to be shown in Paris, and fashion editor Lindsay Drummond is headed for London to assume her front-row seat for the show. Handsome Rowland McGuire, however, the new features editor at her paper, has other ideas: He wants Lindsay, and her friend—top-notch reporter Gini Hunter (who, with her lover, photographer Pascal Lamartine, is a Lovers and Liars carry-over)—to get to the bottom of the Cazarès/Lazare/White Dove connection, on which he has accumulated a fat file of clippings and questions. Two teenage girls disappear from a rave staged by Star in rural England. One later turns up dead, and the search for Mina, the other, last seen leaving the party with Star, becomes entangled with the sordid fringes of the fashion world; eventually, it is McGuire himself, with Gini as a partner, who undertakes an investigation that could rip the lid off the White Dove conspiracy. Sparks fly between McGuire and Gini as they hunt for Mina, Star, and the keys to all of the mysteries, but it takes the involvement of Lindsay's best friend, fashion photographer Steve Markov, to set the wheels of justice in motion.

Certainly tawdry, undeniably silly at times, but, overall, a gem in the genre: enough sex, backstabbing, and underworld dealing to satisfy the most demanding fans.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517269756
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/17/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 424

Meet the Author

Sally Beauman
Sally Beauman
A former journalist -- she had a hand in getting a fledgling New York magazine off the ground -- Sally Beauman's true forte is fiction. From her award-winning re-imagination of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca to her acclaimed novel, The Sisters Mortland, she's been thrilling her loyal readers for years.

Biography

Born Sally Kinsey-Miles in England, Sally Beauman graduated from Cambridge with a master's in English Literature and moved to the U.S. with her then-husband Christopher Bauman in the mid-1960s. She joined the staff of the newly formed New York magazine and traveled extensively through America before returning to England, where she continued to write for various publications, including the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, The Observer, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

Bauman received the Katherine Pakenham prize for her journalism and became the youngest-ever editor of Queen magazine (now Harper's and Queen). But after the birth of her son, she found the demands of journalism and motherhood hard to combine, so she turned to full-time writing. Published in 1982, her first book was a serious, well-received work of nonfiction (The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades). In 1986, Bauman forayed into fiction with Destiny, a controversial "romance" that raised eyebrows for its graphic sex and record-breaking one million dollar advance, the largest awarded to date for a first novel. The book, which became a huge bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, was widely misunderstood at the time of publication; today it's viewed as a feminist, genre-subversive study of a materialist woman living in a materialist man's world.

Destiny was followed by other bestsellers, including Dark Angel, three linked modern thrillers (Lovers & Liars, Danger Zones, and Sextet), and The Sisters Mortland. But the book for which Bauman is best known is Rebecca's Tale, a sequel to Daphne du Maurier's classic novel of gothic suspense. Growing out of a 1993 article on du Maurier written for Tina Brown's New Yorker, Bauman's story gestated for several years before emerging in 2001 as a rich reimagining of the first Mrs. de Winter's life at Manderlay.

Not unlike her idol du Maurier, Bauman has been saddled with the label of romance writer; in fact, the novels of both women embody a sophistication and complexity that transcends the genre. In an interview with her American publisher HarperCollins, Bauman stated emphatically: "The 'romantic novelist' tag infuriated du Maurier, and quite rightly: that particular slur was a product of lazy thinking, of feeble critical acumen. Rebecca is a profoundly anti-romantic novel, I would say; it uses the conventions of romantic fiction to explode and shatter the entire concept of romance. Is it romantic to end up as Mrs de Winter does, shackled to a murderer and a perjurer? Is it romantic to allow such a man to determine your very identity? I'd say that Rebecca is a novel fuelled by rage, not romance -- and in some ways the same is true of my own Rebecca's Tale."

Good To Know

Some fascinating anecdotes from our interview with Beauman:

"My first proper job was in America. I was hired as editorial dogsbody on the newly launched, shoestring budget New York magazine. By the time I got that job, I'd had rejection slips from just about every magazine on the East Coast, so I'd have done anything to get it -- if they'd wanted a cleaner, I'd have said ‘When do I start?'"

"I was hired because I had a Cambridge degree, a twenty two-year-old pretty face and an English accent. Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, and Jimmy Breslin were working for the magazine -- so I learned fast. I learnt: a) not to be English b) to meet deadlines and c) to push hard. The first piece I had published, and the first interview I ever did, was with Norman Mailer. He was making a movie on Long Island, and he threw me off the set. It was an excellent start."

"I'm a woman, and a mother and (just recently) a grandmother. That's important: women writers have to juggle their personal and professional lives in a way that very few male writers do -- you can't retreat to an ivory-tower study and slam the door when you're breast-feeding. I view that as an advantage: babies and children make you constantly re-examine your priorities; they're a humanizing force. Humbling, too."

"I like isolation. When I worked as a journalist, I was constantly surrounded by people -- it took a lot of adjusting when I began writing fiction, and learnt to spend long hours alone. Now, I love to be with my family, but I'm also addicted to silence and solitude -- so I have a house on a remote Hebridean island, and I go there every year to write. Miles of empty white sand beaches and a pounding Atlantic sea -- nothing but ocean between me and Newfoundland: I think it helps the prose."

"I don't really believe that readers should know very much about writers -- too much biographical information is irrelevant, and can get in the way. What matters is the work -- so I'd like them to know me through my books, through the words I put on a page."

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 25, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Torquay, Devon, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English Literature, Hons Cantab, 1966; M. A., Hons Cantab, 1969

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