Give Me Your Heart, By Joyce Carol Oates


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Melodrama runs high in these crisp, creepy stories of sexual predation, infanticide and revenge.

Oates creates characters with usual deftness, working her mystery theme to full effect with fast, fluid writing designed to make you gasp.

The violence ranges from macabre fantasy and psychological menace to sudden spurts of brutality. So "Dr K" receives a letter from a woman whose innocence he once stole, who tells him she has spent the intervening decades watching his family; a second husband finds an old photograph of his wife in the arms of her first, and is tipped into murderous rage.

 The best kind of psychologically suspenseful writing, it enters into the minds of both the rapist and rape victim, the murderer and the soon-to-be slain.