Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyFuchs uses a thin mystery structure to house a satire that proves to be more enthusiastic than able as it skewers the egotism of the misbehaving adults of Berkeley, Calif. When assistant teacher Maren arrives late for a parent's meeting at the nursery school where she works, head teacher Judy tells her that Mal O'Boyle, aggressive father of Caleb, is dead on the cornmeal table. All the evidence points to Judy as the murdererand when there's another murder, even Maren begins to wonder. The book is very funny in places, and much of the humor involves sex. Mal and Celine Livermore made pornographic films, and there is a ribald sketch of Celine at work directing the well-endowed Boffo the clown. Maren and her husband, Aaron, have grown far apart, and the investigating policeman, a former boyfriend, makes a serious pass at Maren. But after a while, the comedy, like the prose, settles into its superficial skin. Ultimately, the satire of Berkeley yuppie parents is tame. As a mystery, the story breaks down, sacrificing suspense and plotting to the necessities of a rather unilluminating social critique. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library JournalA breathless, cluttered narrative threatens to lose readers of this first novel, although some of the fog dissipates along the way. Nursery school teacher Maren and her husband, Aaron, investigate a parent's murder at the school. Head teacher Judy seems the most likely suspect, but others are collared as well. Quirky humor arises unexpectedly at timesa half-dressed clown has problems with his surgically augmented "unit" during the production of a porno tape, for examplebut not often enough. A second murder spurs things on, however, providing cleaner focus toward the end. An uneven debut; only for large collections.
Kirkus ReviewsBullying little tykes, the little tykesþ victims, and whining parents pleading every excuse under the sun for some extra accommodationþall the everyday crises Maren Matthews is used to dealing with at the Hillside School get elbowed aside by the discovery of Caleb O'Boyle's father Malcolm, bashed to death on the cornmeal table. As the surviving parents rush to remove their darlings from the horrid sceneþexcept for video producer-director Celine Livermore, who withdraws her daughter Minka only to fob her off on another parent who then brings her back to school when Celine's day-care arrangements break downþthe Berkeley cops, led by Maren's onetime boyfriend Jimmie Greenlee, focus their coercive attention on Hillside director Judy Thompson. But Maren's not convinced, even when she finds out that Judy and Mal had quite recently been trysting on the cornmeal table, and that Judy's softball bat was very likely the murder weapon. Seeking a break from her husband Aaron, "a mean, spiteful, self-centered asshole" sunk to the neck in his book on Edith Wharton, Maren tracks down Mal's links to an adult- video outfitþjust in time to learn that his two partners in porn have been killed as well. Fuchs's debut novel is a low-rent Berkeley Compromising Positions that's stronger on milieuþespecially the heroine's domestic lifeþthan on plot.
- Creative Art Books
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