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The Spiral Path    by Mary Jo Putney order for
Spiral Path
by Mary Jo Putney
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2002 (2002)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Having reached the pinnacle of success in her film career, Raine Marlowe is now ready to take the next step as a movie director. After acquiring strong studio support for her 'dream project', she has one last hurtle to jump - convincing her soon-to-be ex-husband and mega-star, Kenzie Scott, that he is the only man capable of playing the lead role in The Centurion. Working with Raine again is the last thing Kenzie wants, he's always felt unworthy of her, yet he's never been able to deny her anything. He still loves her, but knows their marriage would never work due to his dark and lurid past.

When he realises that the role of John Randall comes close to mirroring that very past, one that he's worked hard to suppress, from the tabloids, from Raine, and from himself, his legendary British control begins a downward spiral. But he knows he must see this project through, no matter how bad things are - he gave Raine his word. The situation only gets worse. First the female lead bows out, forcing Raine to take over the role, and then a conniving British tabloid reporter vows to expose Kenzie's secretive early years, to which only a select few are privy. As each day passes and as he's forced to confront his own demons with every scene he plays, Kenzie hovers at a dangerous breaking point and reaches again and again for the only person in the world who can keep him from shattering - his wife.

Already a master of historical romance, Putney's multi-layered, insightful and often poignant story, proves that she is equally skilled with contemporary settings and themes. Her characters are never just ordinary; they always possess that extra dimension and humanity that make them appear so real. Raine and Kenzie are no exception. Putney's most effective technique, however, is the way she meticulously takes readers through the process of shooting a movie, not so much to show them that she's also a great researcher, but to show how, every time Kenzie assumes the persona of John Randall, he is knowingly slipping further into the dark and horrific abyss of his childhood. In The Spiral Path, Mary Jo Putney has created another powerful and also throughly enjoyable story.

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