Miles Van Meter is on a book tour to promote his sensational bestseller Sleeping Beauty, a true-crime account of the attack by a serial killer that left his twin sister, Casey, in a coma. Tonight the audience waits to hear Miles discuss the startling developments that occurred after his book was published, which involve Ashley Spencer, the only other person who survived an attack by this merciless killer.
Six years earlier, life was much simpler for seventeen-year-old Ashley, a popular high school soccer star. Then one night an intruder entered Ashley's home and murdered her father and her best friend. A scholarship to the Oregon Academy, an elite private school with a top-notch soccer program, temporarily provides solace -- but tragedy strikes again and Ashley has to run for her life, unaware that the key to her survival is in the one book she's afraid to read -- Sleeping Beauty.
"Ashley Spencer and her best friend, Tanyaones, both high-school soccer superstars, had just gone to bed at Ashley's house after a postgame pizza party. Their rest was disturbed by an intruder, who slaughtered Ashley's father (her mother was out of town) and proceeded to rape Tanya. Then he inexplicably stopped for a snack, giving Ashley an unexpected opportunity to escape. Although she avoided physical assault, the haunting memory of her father's cries, Tanya's sobs, and the clinking of fork on plate as the intruder raided the family refrigerator have left Ashley emotionally numb. A transfer to a prestigious prep school with a good soccer program seems to be helping, freeing Ashley's mother, aspiring novelist Terri, to take a writing class with best-selling authoroshua Maxfield. When Maxfield's novel appears to be based on the Spencer family assault, Ashley and Terri find that their nightmare is not yet over. Margolin knows how to put together a high-concept thriller, piling plot twist upon plot twist and keeping the narrative pounding ever forward, even, on occasion, at the expense of believability. This time he pulls off a genuinely surprising ending, too, making up in part for the torment he heaps upon poor Ashley, who undergoes more trauma than any teenager should be forced to endure, even for the sake of a good story. --Mary Frances Wilkens Copyright 2004 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"The criminal at the heart of bestseller Margolin's unsatisfying 10th thriller is particularly heinous. Late one night in Portland, Ore., he assaults teenager Ashley Spencer, rapes and kills Ashley's friend Tanya, a sleepover guest, and stabs Ashley's father to death. Ashley miraculously escapes, but her brush with terror is far from over. A few months later, just as she and her mother, Terri (out of town on the night of the attack), are beginning to re-engage with the world, the killer strikes again, murdering Terri and leaving another woman, Casey Van Meter, in a coma on the grounds of Ashley's new school, the exclusive Oregon Academy. Ashley doesn't witness the crime, but she sees Joshua Maxfield, the school's writer-in-residence, at the scene, clutching a bloody knife. Wondering why her quiet, loving family has been targeted by this madman, she goes into hiding in Europe, returning to Portland years later to bear witness when Maxfield is finally apprehended and tried. But is he guilty? And what was the motive for this crime spree? The search for answers generates a modicum of suspense, but the book never really commands much interest, thanks to clumsy plotting and even clumsier prose. Much of the story is revealed in flashbacks, framed by scenes from a reading in a Seattle bookstore given by Casey's twin brother, Miles Van Meter, who has written a bestselling true-crime book about the case and his comatose sister (and yes, it's as contrived as it sounds). Margolin (The Ties That Bind, etc.) has imagined a particularly lurid and sensational crime, but he fails to realize virtually any of its inherent dramatic potential. (Apr. 2) Forecast: The publisher is making a big promotional push, including a 14-city author tour, that should ensure placement on bestseller lists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved