Meet Quentin P.
He is a problem for his professor father and his loving mother, though of course they do not believe the charge (sexual molestation of a minor) that got him in that bit of trouble.
He is a challenge for his court-appointed psychiatrist, who nonetheless is encouraged by the increasingly affirmative quality of his dreams and his openness in discussing them.
He is a thoroughly sweet young man for his wealthy grandmother, who gives him more and more, and can deny him less and less.
He is the most believable and thoroughly terrifying sexual psychopath and killer ever to be brought to life in fiction, as Joyce Carol Oates achieves her boldest and most brilliant triumph yet a dazzling work of art that extends the borders of the novel into the darkest heart of truth.