The Beautiful Ones Go First

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Gurney Norman


San Francisco 1987. Kerry O’Brien, a brilliant high school senior and social deviant, believes the Zodiac serial killer, long quiet after years of terrorizing the Bay Area, is trying to communicate with him. When the Zodiac appears to Kerry one evening, and conscripts Kerry to kill for him in exchange for Kerry’s beloved ex-nanny’s life, Kerry must decide whether to embrace his deviant nature or suffer the consequences.

The lives of six other Bay Area dwellers intersect with Kerry’s: Sal Palmieri, a Catholic priest disillusioned by the origins of his faith; Joan Evenhouse, a Sister who longs for a human touch; Ellen Fischer, a jilted wife and painter determined to reclaim her art; Harry Fischer, a public finance attorney caught between Ellen and a beguiling young associate; Gabriel Fischer, a teenage obsessive-compulsive who has lost the will to live in the wake of a homosexual romance gone wrong; and Janet Fischer, a professional photographer on the brink of a career breakthrough whose life becomes complicated when an eccentric treasure seeker unexpectedly intrudes. THE BEAUTIFUL ONES GO FIRST explores the question of who watches over us, and if we are ever truly safe, even in our own skin.

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