Fine Lines: A Novel

Fine Lines: A Novel

by Simon Beckett

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
British journalist Beckett's first novel is a chilling tale of sexual predation. Celibate, aging art dealer Donald Ramsey returns to his London gallery for forgotten papers and comes upon his beautiful assistant, Anna, changing clothes in his office. Secretly watching from the hallway, Ramsey is transfixed by a rare sexual spark and inflamed with voyeuristic desire. Accepting his own romantic shortcomings, he lives for imagined pleasures with Anna until he learns that her brilliant but ugly American boyfriend, Marty, will be taking her back to New York. Because the pair ``were very obviously in love, and when I decided to end their relationship I knew I would need help,'' Ramsey pays sexual athlete Zeppo Marks a fortune to seduce the young woman while he himself poses as the couple's champion. Anna and Marty remain faithful to one another, however, rebuffing every onslaught that Ramsey and Zeppo devise and forcing a desperate plan to remove Marty permanently. But even this act of murder seems less abhorrent than the evil inflicted on Anna by the two conspirators, an evil made all the more horrific by her ignorance of their role in ensuing events. Beckett skillfully brings matters to their logically sadistic conclusion, then twists his tale around by ironically echoing Freud's tenet that desire lies just the other side of repugnance-two emotions that readers are likely to feel simultaneously as they speed through this clever yet brazenly sleazy story. (Oct.)
Alice Joyce
Beckett's debut novel is defined by a chilling vision of sexual obsession, personified by London art dealer Donald Ramsey. When this meek aesthete's comfortably asexual lifestyle is upended by his impetuous fixation on a gallery assistant, Anna, the wheels are set in motion for a deadly scheme aimed at satisfying Ramsey's voyeuristic urges. He easily enlists Zeppo, a male model whose most notable credentials are his sexual exploits, to play a pivotal role. Zeppo is drawn to the large sum of money being offered and, moreover, to the challenge of seducing Anna. Beckett sustains an element of mystery, as cold-blooded murder becomes essential to Ramsey's unyielding plan. It is only in the book's final pages that the persistent pace of Beckett's terse prose subsides, deflating the spell cast by this intriguing young English writer.

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Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
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