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SKETCHING EVIL
By DONNA ANDERS (Pocket; 2007) 

     Iíve found itís a good idea to occasionally look outside oneís sphere of interest into the wider world.  This is to say that my preference for weirdness and transgression in genre literature is well known, but in an effort at broadening my horizons I decided to give a paperback original called SKETCHING EVIL a try.

     The packaging gave fair notice that this would be a far more traditional book than Iím used to, a tale of ďRomantic SuspenseĒ by an author who apparently specializes in this sort of thing.  It features Abby, a NYC artist, staying in a rural B&B owned by her aunt--but the aunt is killed almost as soon as Abby arrives, leaving her to be stalked by a homicidal pervert.  A gruff detective is charged with protecting Abby; yes, he turns out to be a nice guy, and yes, the lady and the dick fall in love.  In the meantime the danger increases when a drawing Abby makes of her auntís killer is circulated by the media.  This not-exactly-surprising tale concludes with an underground confrontation in which the antagonist is finally unveiled.

     None of this is difficult to predict, and the narrative isnít exactly incident-packed.  The violence is kept to an absolute minimum and even the sex is pretty coy.  Nor can you expect much in the way of complexity, as the hero and heroine are both staunchly upstanding while the bad guys are one-dimensional creeps...and I donít think Iím giving anything away in revealing that the ending is an unambiguously happy one. 

     Obviously this isnít my thing.  Thereís no point hand-wringing over the book, however, as itís carefully geared toward an elderly female demographic far removed from my crowd. 

     Taken as such, itís actually not that bad.  The prose and pacing are smooth and the novel overall is about as good as those of other, more respectable authors who practice a similar brand of old lady horror but pretend otherwise (this means you, Mr. Koontz!).  Iíd be surprised if SKETCHING EVIL hasnít yet been snatched up by Hollywood (if for no other reason than movie folk seem to love ďingĒ titles)--or at least the Lifetime Movie Network, to which it seems ideally suited.
 


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