Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The pseudonymous Smith's third elegant and sensational thriller ( Lives of the Twins; Soul/Mate ) is set in an affluent Connecticut suburb whose cultural hub is its conservatory of music. Here pianist Maggie Blackburn--34, lonely, diffident, austerely beautiful in her coronet of silver-blond braids--performs and teaches, selflessly devoted to her students. After the fall term is launched at a bibulously festive faculty party with a guest list of eccentrics, the predatory Pulitzer-winning composer-in-residence, aging, gay ``glamorous-thuggish'' Rolfe Christensen, rapes graduate student Brendan Bauer, a stammering, naive ex-seminarian. Outraged Maggie befriends Brendan, who is accused of murdering Christensen via a pre-Christmas gift box of lethally laced chocolates. When the bondage/knifing murder of another gay colleague further implicates Brendan, Maggie turns sleuth. The plot fuses the lurid and literary to focus on such issues as sexual harassment, styles of masculinity, the menace of AIDS. The romantic angle is gratifying, as is the bounty of musical imagery. The gifted Rosamond Smith is Joyce Carol Oates. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The rape of a male graduate student by Rolf Christensen, a famous composer and faculty member, follows a cocktail party given by Maggie Blackburn, director of graduate music education at Curtis Institute of Music in Forest Park, Connecticut. When Brendan Bauer brings charges against Christensen, the less-than-courageous ethics committee generates a cover-up. Someone is out to get Christensen, however, and Bauer seems to be the only suspect. Then Maggie begins an investigation of her own. The story moves at a languid pace through the details of Maggie's life to her championing of her friend. Nemesis is hard to classify. It is not a true ``detection'' mystery, as the author hides everything from the reader; it is not completely satisfying as a novel, since the characters are undeveloped. Yet it is an intriguing tale of life in a music conservatory set within a counterplot of what happens to people when they are touched by evil. Smith is the pseudonym of Joyce Carol Oates.--Ed.-- Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, P.L., Ohio

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

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