Every Breath She Takes

Hot Chocolate

Husband, Lover, Stranger

The Morning After

Sinful

While She Was Sleeping

 
The Lonely Girls Club
by Suzanne Forster
(MIRA, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-7783-2201-7
****
The Lonely Girls Club was formed in the early 1980ís at Rowe Academy for Girls in California. The three surviving members were scholarship students, cruelly out of place with the wealthy sophisticated students that were drawn to the school.

The headmistress convinced these lonely students to join her club, which was really a forum to provide sex to paying customers. The psychological scars that resulted from this forced slavery in part fashioned the girls to become the women they now are.

Mattie Smith is the youngest female appointee to the Circuit Court of Appeals, Jane Dunbar is first lady of the United States and Breeze Wheeler owns a posh sex resort in Mexico. Ivy, the fourth member of the club, committed suicide while they were in school.

Headmistress Rowe was murdered while they were at school and the maintenance man William Broud was convicted of the killing by circumstantial evidence. New technology and a very bright attorney twenty years later finally resulted in his release not only from death row, but also from prison itself.

Broud has contacted Jameson Cross, master storyteller and seeker of the truth in murder cases, with a hint that he will tell what he knows now, having maintained his silence all these years. A very little known fact is that Broud and Jameson are stepbrothers.

Broud kept tattered notes in prison and these arrive in a packet addressed to Jameson. The notes arrive the day after Jameson had gone to Broudís hotel to discover the murdered body of his brother.

The notes tend to point to the Lonely Girls Club either acting singly or in concert as the murdering force that executed the Headmistress Rowe. Since Jameson has guilt issues about his relationship to his brother, he is very driven to discover the truth.

Mattie and Jane are in the most vulnerable positions with an investigation centering on them, and the author does an incredibly good job with flash backs molding the characters and providing small clues to the reader.

The interaction between characters is excellent and there are numerous, well-developed secondary characters who become more pivotal as the complicated plot twists and turns to some very unexpected conclusions.

The dialogue is also excellent and the author moves easily from teenage jargon in the flashbacks to mature responsible adults responding as tension and pressure escalate. Although, it is hard to judge who was the most severely impacted child, it is Mattie who finds it very difficult to let any one touch her. Her chemistry with Jameson, starting from that point and evolving slowly is interesting and heartwarming.

In addition to interesting and appealing characters, great pacing and interaction, the author must also be complimented on an original plot line. The Lonely Girls Club is strongly recommended.

--Thea Davis


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