Newton Thornburg A Man's Game

ISBN 13: 9780312859237

A Man's Game

3.22 avg rating
( 23 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780312859237: A Man's Game
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Sardonic, shrewd, almost joyously brutal, Jimbo Slade is a suspect in a number of Seattle rape-murders. But the police are unable to make a case against him.
In this tense, powerful novel, Slade turns his attention to teenage Kathy, the shy, stunning daughter of family man Jack Baird. Slade begins following Kathy home from work, taunting her with obscene come-ons and threats of barbaric sexual violence. Strongly protective of his daughter, Baird seeks help from the police, and for his trouble gets only a restraining order - which Slade totally ignores.
With nowhere else to turn, Baird takes matters into his own hands, at first just trailing Slade around town, then slowly worming his way into the man's confidence.
As Baird slowly wins Slade's uneasy trust, he finds himself sharing Slade's lifestyle, staying out all night, cruising the city's sewers, and lying to both Kathy and his increasingly estranged wife, as well as to the tough, sexy lady cop who has become his lover. He knows he can trust no one now - not with what he has planned for Slade....

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A Seattle dad goes deep in the hole to protect his daughter against the creep who's stalking her in this gripping, unconvincing suspenser. Jimbo Slade is every woman's worst nightmare--a part-time dealer and male prostitute who's been released after his previous arrest for assault only because the police lab lost samples taken from the victim. Now his attentions have fastened on sweet, shy Kathy Baird. Jimbo's oblique threats to Kathy aren't enough for an arrest warrant, but they're enough for a restraining order- -which he sedulously complies with by stalking her from 101 feet away and breaking into her family's house to steal some photos of her and vandalize her teddy bear. What's a father to do? When Jack Baird confronts Slade, he's amazed to hear the stalker suggest they have a few drinks together and shoot the breeze so that Baird will see that Slade's not the kind of guy Kathy thinks he is. But if Slade's suggestion is unbelievable, it pales beside Baird's reaction a few days later: He takes Slade up on his offer, telling Slade first that if he gets to know Baird as a friend, he'll leave his daughter alone, but then pretending to confess that he's always wondered about the unbridled fantasies of sexual humiliation Slade's living out. This cat-and-mouse game of Thornburg's (The Lion at the Door, 1990, etc.)--Baird planning to catch Slade in the act and turn him in, Slade going along with him until he can kill him--may seem to be the heart of the novel, but it's only one more stage in a story that will embroil Baird, tired of his cool, handsome wife, with an attractive police detective before dragging him through the section of hell reserved for loving fathers. An offbeat mixture of psycho-stalking and midlife crisis that's most likely to appeal to fans of the late Patricia Highsmith--though they'll miss her gift for making improbable twists seem inevitable. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Successful Seattle paper salesman Jack Baird's settled?if not idyllic?life is disrupted when his 18-year-old daughter is stalked by Slade, an obsessive sociopathic ex-con who menaces her with sexual threats. Jack's restless, disenchanted wife, mildly disturbed by his unnaturally close relationship with their daughter, is more concerned with searching for her own fulfillment. When Jack goes to the cops to get a restraining order, he discovers that Slade is a suspect in a series of rapes and murders; yet, strangely, the investigating officer seems unmotivated to intervene. The problem escalates when Jack confronts Slade and makes an impotent attempt to intimidate him. The dilemma is further complicated by Jack's rapidly progressing alcoholism and his sexual attraction to the seductive partner of the senior detective. Tormented by his escalating rage and frustration, Jack desperately tries to trap Slade by pretending to befriend him. Jack's misguided effort to protect his family effects a chilling Jekyll-Hyde transformation as he is pushed beyond the edge of reason by fear and confused feelings for his daughter. Murder, incest and a damning indictment of an indifferent law enforcement system are the themes that propel this chilling tour of society's sleazy underside.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Newton Thornburg
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