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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Set in a moldering mansion in modern-day London, crime fiction icon Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down is a thrilling psychological masterwork that explores the destructive -- and ultimately deadly -- consequences of obsession.
The three central characters -- Michael "Mix" Cellini, a fitness equipment repairman with a fixation for an infamous London necrophilic serial killer; Gwendolen Chawcer, an octogenarian landlord still pining for a long-lost man; and a naïve supermodel named Nerissa Nash -- are all living in their own warped versions of reality. Cellini believes that all his dreams of fame and fortune will be fully realized once he meets and marries the stunning model Nash, his destined wife-to-be. But as he stalks her and tries to mastermind devious scenarios to worm his way into her life, he slowly loses his grip on everything else around him. Meanwhile, Cellini's landlord, Chawcer, is obsessed with a doctor she met briefly more than half a century earlier. Living in a sprawling mansion that is literally deteriorating around her, all Chawcer wants is another chance to win over the love of her life. But when things don't go as planned for Cellini, the increasingly delusional repairman takes the first steps to becoming just like the serial killer he idolizes…
Darkly atmospheric, unnervingly intimate, and laden with brilliant plot twists throughout, this disturbingly accurate portrayal of burgeoning evil is yet another classic work from Rendell. Paul Goat Allen