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The care and feeding of exotic pets
Diana Wagman
Adult Fiction WAGMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A kidnapper in over his head, the naive 16-year-old Lacy, her deflated mother and dim but sweet father, and a seven-foot iguana populate this tar-black comedy set in Los Angeles. Lacy's mom, Winnie, is kidnapped by Oren, a reptile enthusiast and carpet salesman conducting a delusional online relationship with Lacy, who has made up stories about an abusive mother to impress Oren. Wagman adroitly builds suspense on several fronts and adds the bizarre comic twist of a kidnapper who is an amateur herpetologist. To accommodate his reptilian "best friend," Oren keeps his house tropically overheated and has turned the kitchen into a pen. The narrative shifts between Winnie's captivity and a day in the life of Lacy, who gets booted from class and ends up with Buster, actual boyfriend material, unlike Oren. Wagman has some twists up her sleeve, giving her time to explore Oren's frighteningly childlike mind in the deliberate runup to a gripping, bloody, and horrifying denouement. Wagman's talent for imagery is well served by the subject matter, and the story is perfectly paced, with humorous breaks in the tension. A PEN Center USA Award winner (for Spontaneous), Wagman has crafted an unusual thriller for psychological crime devotees and fans of the peculiar. Agent: Terra Chalberg, Chalberg & Sussman. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Winnie Parker, daughter of an Oscar-winning actress and ex-wife of a famous game show host, is stuck in her everyday life of caring for her increasingly rebellious teenage daughter and being a normal person in vanity-driven, celebrity-ridden Los Angeles; that is, until she's kidnapped while waiting for a rental-car pickup after dropping off her car at the repair shop. Her captor takes Winnie to his small, overheated house, where she meets his best friend: a seven-foot iguana named Cookie. What follows is a series of escape attempts, injuries, and revelations, for both Winnie and her kidnapper, as each is confronted with the true reason behind her abduction. VERDICT While the plotline is rather predictable, where Wagman's (Bump; Spontaneous; Skin Deep) fourth novel shines is in its complex character development. She gives readers an in-depth, realistic look at the psychological factors motivating her characters, from the shallowness of the celebrities to the insecurities of the teenagers. Not a novel for readers who want surprising plot twists, but for those who enjoy solid writing and personal insight, this is a perfect fit. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/12.]-Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., Pensacola (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Kidnapped; has a cat and mouse game with her captor; fights for her life.

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