BOOK REIVEW / 'The Scissor Man' - Jean Arnold: Abacus, 5.99.

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The setting of this novel is exotic - a tropical voodoo island - but the emotional turmoil of 12- year-old Octavia will raise a sympathetic shudder in anyone who is or was a troubled adolescent. Octavia's life is blighted by her brain-damaged 17- year-old sister Maribel, on whom their parents focus obsessively; Mother grimly determined to 'train' her, Papi protective and tender. Octavia feels she might as well be invisible, until Uncle Claude arrives and begins his devious and disgusting night-time visits to her bedroom. Unable to make her mother believe her, Octavia must protect herself, and the anger, guilt and grief over the tragic events which ensue, still torment her as, aged 34, she awaits her first baby's birth. This is a sensitive study of fractured female sexuality and family dysfunction.