Psycho-analyst Vera List notices that two of her clients, wives of wealthy business men, seem to have an affair with the same man. A man who manipulates them with things he can only know from her notes. To figure out what's going on she hires the surveillance expert Marten Fane and his team.
My impressions of Pacific Heights are mixed. On the one hand there is an interesting idea with potential: a man using psychological methods to manipulate people to commit suicide. But unfortunately the author doesn't make full use of this potential. The characters remain vague and undeveloped. And the plot is weak.
Quotes from the book
"It's our cultural zeitgeist", she said. "Watching people self-destruct, watching lives go down the drain, is our national pastime. We're dirty-secret junkies."
Anonymity – privacy – was the last refuge of sanity in an increasingly hyperconnected, tell-all, digitally exposed, gossip-hungry world. It was as rare as modesty and, once lost, as irretrievable as innocence.
"I'm looking for a connection between these two guys. Something besides this man sleeping with their wifes."
"Her mother slept with locals for extra money, and her father slept with Elise for nothing."
She had a master's degree in international politics from Stanford, a runway model's body, a wealthy husband, and a screwed-up psychology. If she stayed in analysis for the rest of her life it wouldn't be long enough.
Unless she began to smell, the soonest they would find her would be two weeks from now when the rent was due.
"Whatever else we find out about this guy", she said, "he's a classic creep. What he's doing is the intellectual equivalent of groping women on a crowded subway."
She stopped, surprised, confused, and surprised to be confused.
"You're not making sense." - "Oh, but I am", she said. "You're just not understanding it."
They looked at each other in silence, oblivious of the teeming lobby. It was as if the sound had been turned off and everything around them blurred. The only thing they knew was all that had passed between them, all that had brought them together, and, now, all that was pulling them apart.
He went into the living room, an old museum of a place in which the only thing that ever happened was that the maid cleaned its surfaces once a week.