That incendiary mix of sex and money simmers quietly on these pages until brought by the skillful handling of this pseudonymous author to a climactic, if somewhat predictable, flashpoint. Stark ``Tommy'' Thompson III, a divorced, unambitious lawyer in his old-money family firm, is given to mild womanizing until Kitty Goldmark, a young widow and entrepreneur, brings sexual obsession and a shady, complex money-making plan into his life. Sex with Kitty often has a violent edge; her inside information arouses him further. Starting his own firm to handle trusts and estates, Tommy covers his tracks as he makes lots of money. When a keen-eyed MBA with a provocative computer printout asks Tommy for a part of the action, Kitty places the young man with her brother Ted, a brash Wall Street hot-shot recently appointed head of an old investment banking firm. Kitty can convince Tommy to do anything: they get married, they commit murder. Then Tommy finds himself in charge of a family fortune much more vast than he'd imagined, although nothing, it appears, was ever beyond the imagining of Kitty or her brother. Set in Bonfire territory and reported with the same cool, uncertainly reliable voice as Presumed Innocent , this authoritative, highly readable thriller is a chilling amorality tale. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; movie rights to Universal; Literary Guild selection. (Sept.)
After Kitty Goldmark seduces Stark ``Tommy'' Thompson, their affair isn't very interesting because their dialogues are so banal. The storyline improves, however, when they decide to mix business with pleasure and become very rich from an insider trading scheme. More wealth from a family enterprise follows, as do greed, distrust, murder, and sundry other best-seller ingredients. Even some clever plot twists can't save this book though, because the first-person narration drags too often and the protagonists are neither likeable nor engaging. Public libraries may want anyway, in case the hefty book promotion stirs demand. Freeborn is the pseudonym of a supposedly well-known author; this is a Literary Guild selection.-- Ed. -- Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.