FAMILIARITY: THE GODLESS CUT by Regina Watts
Coming Friday, April 30th
Libertine abortionist Dr. Hammond Harteveldt bears a charmed life, though most might not feel that way. After all, his former brother-in-law was recently found dead in his prison cell while awaiting charges related to some very sordid sex crimes, and the retired widower has subsequently come into custody of his deeply troubled goddaughter. Most men of recreation such as Hammond would surely see sudden custody of a dependent as a chore, but not Hammond.
Far from it: Theresa's presence in the home is an opportunity. He has not seen the girl in years--not since a falling out with her father--and the truth is that although the circumstances of her arrival were less than fortunate, she's already brought so many good things into his life. There's the alluring and naive Grace Primrose, young Theresa's fetching high school librarian caught in a dead-end, humdrum marriage. She could certainly use a helping hand, couldn't she? Then there's poor Isaac Redfern, the FBI agent responsible for Theresa's case who seems as if he's hovering on the verge of a nervous breakdown--increasingly paranoid about cults and psychological terrorism.
But then, of course, there is Theresa herself. Theresa, ah, Theresa--Theresa, who will be eighteen on Walpurgisnacht.
And by Satan, Dr. Harteveldt is smitten with all three of them.
Hammond Hardvelt is a terrible man. Let's just get that on the table right off the bat. Terrible, and ambitious. Busily cooking up all manner of audacious complications for the many lambs that he would lead down the left hand path. Every character in this gripping story is so fun. A dangerous sort of fun, like foraging for mushrooms. So much variety, so much beautiful detail, and with every new gem you discover, a little risk. A little squirt of neurochemicals courses through your body as your brain tries to alert you that you're in danger. Since the people and events in this story are safely contained in text, the danger is mostly just to your psyche. But the danger for all the characters in the story is very, very real. And yet, so fun.