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A thrilling mystery evolving around the joggers' world

Published in THE SNOWMASS VILLAGE SUN  Feb. 3, 1982


Review by Ann Carol Ulrich

Once in a while a gem comes along, but due to ignorance it sits on the bookshelf untouched for a year or more. Such was the case with The Glow, a novel by Brooks Stanwood, published by McGraw-Hill in 1979. Somebody gave it to me for a Christmas present two years ago, but it was only recently I rediscovered it and only minutes into it that I knew I was in for a good read.

Jackie and Pete Lawrence are a young New York couple who have just passed the 30 mark and decide they need to improve their lives. They take up jogging, prompted mostly by Pete's reading an obituary on a friend who keeled over at 39.

Looking for a decent apartment for a halfway reasonable rent seems to be a harder task for this big city couple than it may be for locals in the Roaring Fork Valley. After weeks, actually months, of searching and finding dumps no better than their present abode, the Lawrences are ready to give up.

In the meantime, Pete has been faithfully jogging, agonizingly working up to a mile and a half in Central Park. When a thief makes off with his jacket (obviously containing his wallet), a group of senior citizens who are also out on their daily jog, witness the crime.

Because they can run circles around poor Pete, these oldsters help out by retrieving the jacket. As luck would have it, the wallet is gone. But later, the theft is something Pete celebrates with Jackie over champagne as it leads them to the apartment of their dreams.

It all seems too good to be true. The landlords are the three couples in their late 50s who met Pete while jogging in the park. They just happened to have an apartment available in their building, and they enjoy (THRIVE ON is actually a better phrase) having young people around them. That, along with strenuous exercise and health foods, they claim, is their secret to youth, vigor and happiness.

Shortly after moving in, Pete finds himself caught up in the health club atmosphere of the apartment building. He swims laps in the indoor pool, works out on the Nautilus, joins the "Twelvers" (as they call themselves) in their jaunt around Central Park.

At first, Jackie is critical and a little baffled regarding the strict regimen of fitness almost forced upon them. The older folks are getting on her nerves, to put it lightly.

The fact that they seem to be right at the door when she's getting ready to light a joint or down a martini is only the beginning of her complaints. It is only when one of the landlords sets his attractive and athletic niece out as bait for Pete that Jackie "straightens up" and becomes a devoted convert to fitness as well.

And once she is hooked, running several miles a day, keeping up with Pete, even training herself to run in races, Jackie realizes how good life is. She and Pete have never felt better. They are in terrific shape and find they have no time nor desire for a social life outside their jobs and their building.

Things go sour, however, when one of the other young couples like them in the building vanishes overnight. Although Pete seems willing to accept as truth all he is told, Jackie's doubts plague her sanity. The nightmare has just begun.

The Glow is a thriller for sure. For readers who love mystery and suspense, I highly recommend it -- as long as you have time to indulge in a book that can't be put down.

For those who jog, this book is particularly intriguing. But I feel I must warn you -- coming from one who does run on occasion, jogging may never be the same as you find yourself glancing anxiously over your shoulder.

 

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