Darcia Helle's "Enemies and Playmates" deals with a sensitive topic: domestic violence. The Covington family are all subject to the abusive father's whims. Like so many abusers, Alex Covington looks like the proverbial "nice guy" out in the world at large. Yet, within his home he is a monster.Helle's protagonist, Lauren, finds her father's wrath turned against her when she begins to date a man of whom Covington disapproves. But Jesse is no pushover ... and as the story unwinds, we learn more and more about Covington's wrongdoings and Jesse's attempts to bring him to justice.I think there is a great temptation amongst authors to make stories about domestic violence, rape and other crimes deliberately triggering. Helle avoids this trap, all the while creating a compelling picture of the emotional and physical abuse that Covington inflicts on his victims.An excellent, thought-provoking read.