Putnam, Sep 2001, 23.95
In Texas Simon Jester saved the life of Meg Fender when the woman almost drowned. Not long afterward, Meg married her savior. Meg's two children from her first marriage, fourteen-year-old Boone and twelve year old Alice fear the abusive Simon, who once burned his stepdaughter with a hot spatula for saying hello to him.
Boone and Alice believe Simon plans to kill them, but are unable to persuade their mother who is pregnant with his child. They wonder what really happened to his first family, who allegedly drowned in an accident and why he collects books on changing household items into poisons. They even go so far as using a code to inform one another on what is safe food; meaning not touched by Simon. However, this evening everything comes to a head as their mother tells them to run. They flee to a Lake Shine island where Simon has helped his true love, mental patient escapee Persely Snow, not yet aware of her link to the dangerous Simon.
THE ABSENCE OF NECTAR is an electrifying thriller that shows Kathy Hepinstall is no one hit wonder (see THE HOUSE OF GENTLE MEN). Alice tells the captivating story line, which allows the audience to understand the helplessness and fear with no one to turn to for help that she lives with every awakening moment. Thus, a suspense-laden thriller brings the reader inside the mind of the key player so that the audience can taste what Alice tastes and sees how she feels about the other critical cast members. This is a great tale by a rising superstar who knows how to write.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner