Behind The Mask
by Metsy Hingle, contemporary (2002)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-926-9


This is a typical "Chased By My Psycho Hubby" story. You've seen Enough? Sleeping With The Enemy? Double Jeopardy? And all those horrid TV movies of the same theme? If you can't enough, you must get a hold of Metsy Hingle's Behind The Mask.

It has the usual psychotic sex fiend husband who is so whacked that I am hard-pressed to believe that he can actually move about in society. But I guess that's why we call books like this "fiction". The badly battered wife, in this case Elizabeth Webster aka "Lily", only don't expect Lily here to actually stand up for herself. This is a strictly no-nonsense rescue fantasy - don't look too hard for affirmative action, there's none here. The brat, for the usual "Momeeee, help meeee!" fun. And of course, our hero, the Cop That Can't Get Over The Death Of His (Job) Partner And Is Now Guilt-Ridden, Mike Sullivan.

Mike Sullivan is offered a million bucks by psycho hubby to get the wife and son back, so he agrees despite having reservations about the huge amount of money being offered. But since he is scum, et cetera, he has no compunctions, blah blah blah, so when he finds Lily, he alerts the husband, then proceeds to distract her by wooing and flattering her until they both fall in love. But he can't tell her the truth until it's too late, and then everything is forgiven because he rescues her and her son.

Lovely.

I guess one's acceptance of Mike's nonsense will depend on how much the reader can accept blaming one's personal tragedy for all the nonsense the person does subsequently. Lily is weak and hapless and typically the usual movie-of-the-week heroine, minus the spine. The kid's not too annoying, that's a plus, and there's some skanky sex scenes courtesy of our psycho here to break the monotony and indulge in some cheap thrills without sullying our moral conscience.

What was it they say about "women's TV movies" again? Seen one, seen them all? Same with Behind The Mask. It offers nothing new to the "My Psycho Hubby Is Chasing Me and He Wants Me To Go Down On Him, Eeeek, Save Me My Hero!" genre. Catherine Anderson has done this better in her last two hundred books. Then again, Ms Anderson is in a class by herself when it comes to Trauma Porn. Metsy Hingle will have a lot of catching up to do before she can come close to stealing Ms Anderson's crown of tears. She can start by putting in a happy and smart rottweiler.

Rating: 66


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