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Publisher's Summary

In "The Man Who Fought Roland LaStarza" a woman's world is upended when she learns the brutal truth about a family friend's death--and what her father is capable of. Meanwhile, a businessman desperate to find his missing two-year-old grandson in "Suicide Watch" must determine whether the horrifying tale his junkie son tells him about the boy's whereabouts is a confession or a sick test.

In "Valentine, July Heat Wave" a man prepares a gruesome surprise for the wife determined to leave him. And the children of a BTK-style serial killer struggle to decode the patterns behind their father's seemingly random bad acts, as well as their own, in "Bad Habits".

In these and other stories, Joyce Carol Oates explores with bloodcurdling insight the ties that bind - or worse.

©2007 Ontario Review, Inc.; (P)2009 BBC Audio

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  • Diane
  • Louisville, KY, United States
  • 04-29-11

Not JCO's best

I'm not sure that the short story format suits Joyce Carol Oates particularly well. One of the things that draws the reader into her wonderfully dark books is her skillful character development and her grounding of the story in reality, but these elements are somewhat lacking in these short stories. The stories are all right, the title story being the longest and the best (and also the last), but they did not engross me the way most of Oates' books do.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful