THE PMS OUTLAWS by Sharyn McCrumb
Ballantine Books - September 2000
ISBN: 0345382315 - Hardcover
Mystery - Explicit content

Reviewed by Nancy Mehl for
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Forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson finds herself unable to deal with the disappearance of her husband, Cameron. A marine biologist, he set out to sea to study seal migration - and was never heard from again. Elizabeth's continued belief that he will come back lands her in Cherry Hill Psychiatric Hospital where she knows that she must confront the fact that he is dead.

Meanwhile, her brother Bill and his law partner, A.P. Hill buy an old southern mansion with the idea of turning it into a place to house their offices and themselves. However, the mansion comes with a live-in resident, Jack Dolan. He seems to be a harmless old man who has nowhere else to go - but appearances can be deceiving.

A school acquaintance of Elizabeth's, lawyer P.J. Purde, has taken off across the country with her escaped client. Dubbed the PMS Outlaws, they seduce men - just to leave them unclothed, handcuffed and humiliated. What is behind this unusual crime spree and what does it have to do with Elizabeth? All three subplots come together with some surprising twists that make this an interesting novel.

The most compelling part of THE PMS OUTLAWS are the other personalities Elizabeth encounters at Cherry Hill. The issue of society's attitude toward physical beauty is explored, but perhaps is a little overdone.

THE PMS OUTLAWS is not McCrumb's best work - but I never lost interest. Elizabeth is an engaging character and the loose threads were all tied up at the end, even if some of them were a little frayed.


Nancy Mehl is the author of Graven Images and Sinner's Song.

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