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The Care and Feeding of Exotic Petsby Diana Wagman
Synopses & Reviews
Winnie Parker, mother to an angst-ridden teenage daughter and ex-wife to a successful game show host who left her for a twenty-something contestant, begins a normal day in her hum-drum existence by dropping her car off at the repair shop. After accepting what she believes is a ride to pick up her rental car, Winnie realizes too late that she's been kidnapped.
What follows is a riveting psychological game of cat and mouse set in the kidnapper's tropically heated house—kept that way for Cookie, a menacing seven-foot long Iguana headquartered in the kitchen. While desperately seeking to escape—which leads to several violent clashes with her increasingly unstable kidnapper—Winnie also tries to understand why she was taken captive. Is her kidnapper merely seeking a ransom or does he have something more sinister in mind? Does he know that Winnie's mother is an Oscar-winning actress? Or did he connect her with Jonathan, her famous ex-husband? When the truth reveals itself, Winnie is not only forced to fight for her life, but must also protect the lives of those she loves from the kidnapper's deranged master plan.
An engrossing, darkly humorous, edge-of-your-seat story, The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets explores the dynamic between kidnapper and kidnapped, bizarre reptile lore, and the absurdity of the celebrity lifestyle.
Diana Wagman is the author of the novels Bump, Spontaneous—which won the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction—and Skin Deep. She is also a contributing writer to the Los Angeles Times.
"A kidnapper in over his head, the naÃ¯ve 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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From a PEN Award-winning author, an engrossing, darkly humorous, edge-of-your-seat novel--featuring a seven foot iguana.
About the Author
Diana Wagman is the author of three novels and numerous short stories, essays and reviews. Her second novel, Spontaneous, won the 2001 USA PEN West Award for Fiction. She is also a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times.
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