Friday, May 23, 2008

The Narcissist's Daughter-Craig Holden

The Narcissist's Daughter
Craig Holden
Simon & Schuster, Jun 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9781416572787

In 1970s in Cleveland, pre-medical student Daniel "Syd" Redding hates his narcissistic boss, Dr. Ted Kessler. He dreams of killing the egomaniac, who makes his life at the hospital miserable. Working the grave yard shift, Syd meets Kessler's sexy wife, Joyce. She outrageously flirts with the young student and soon has him controlled under her siren’s S&M spell.

However, their affair falls apart leaving Syd angrier than his heroes the Ramones and bitter. His need to obtain revenge against these affluent snobs is stratospheric eating at his gut. He knows he cannot attack directly as he would lose. He chooses their seventeen years old daughter, Jessi. He planned to make her the avenue of his vengeance starting with dating her, but falls in love.

Two decades later, happily married Syd and Jessi raise a family together. All is well until a construction crew digs up human remains.

This reprint of an engaging family drama is fun to read as Jessi changes Syd’s attitude from hate to love, but twists it into a suspense thriller as that fateful year 1978 comes back to haunt them decades later. The story line is fast-paced once the players are introduced especially after Syd meets THE NARCISSIST’S DAUGHTER as he fears his relationship with her mom will surface like a Mrs. Robinson and destroy his happiness; instead a corpse threatens it. Although the homicide suspense comes across somewhat secondary in a supportive role, fans of character driven tales will appreciate Craig Holden’s fine look at family relations.

Harriet Klausner

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