Penzler Pick, April 2001: David Lindsey can write horrific thrillers such as Mercy, which ranks up there with such serial killer novels as By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. However, he is also the author of gentler tales--psychological suspense where the horror is subtle and comes from everyday and unexpected sources. Animosity belongs in the second category.
Ross Marteau is an American living in Paris, where he makes a decent living as a sculptor. After a particularly nasty breakup with his girlfriend of several years, he decides to return to his home in Texas and work from his studio in the art-friendly city of San Rafael. There he settles into a routine of working in the mornings on his next project and sharing conversation and a beer in the afternoons with his friend Amado Mateos. It is during one of these afternoon meetings that he notices a newcomer to the town.
Celeste Lacan is a beautiful woman who soon approaches Ross with a proposition. She would like to offer Ross a commission to sculpt her sister. Ross demurs--he already has a commission--but Celeste asks him to meet her sister before refusing, and when he does, he understands why Celeste is so insistent. Leda is not only the most beautiful woman Ross has ever seen, she is also the ugliest, and as a sculptor Ross knows that he will learn something new about beauty. As Ross begins working with Leda and meeting Celeste in the afternoons, he becomes obsessed with the two sisters. Life is about to become a living hell for Ross Marteau, and the ending of this story about art and love is breathtakingly horrifying. --Otto Penzler