Apparently satiated with the gentle, homespun charms of Forrest Gump, Winston Groom enters the decidedly more menacing realm of blackmail, revenge, and torture in Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl. Readers expecting guileless and unequivocal protagonists may find themselves shocked by Groom's purview; readers looking for stylish suspense, enigmatic players, and voice-over commentary like "No trap is as deadly as the one you set for yourself" may find themselves unable to put the book down.
The girl is Los Angeles TV news anchor Delia Jamison, a still ravishing fortysomething who has strenuously and repeatedly exercised her right to leave suitors bitterly heartbroken. Oblique, seductive, and often blunt to a fault, it seems that she has begun receiving lewd and vaguely threatening letters from--she postulates--a jilted ex. Enter another former beau, Oscar-winning screenwriter Johnny Lightfoot, who fortuitously bumps into her and is captivated all over again--not only by her beauty, but also by the mystery of her tormentor. When she presents Johnny with a list of suspects (i.e., past conquests), he resolves to unmask the letter writer.
Audacious almost to the breaking point, Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl is nonetheless good fun--literary candy rife with cat-and-mouse interrogations, neon clues, and campy misdirection. Though the story becomes increasingly implausible, it also starts to mirror its vacuous heroine: as the men who are ineluctably captive to Delia's beauty know, it's nearly impossible to look away. --Ben Guterson [via]