By JP Delaney
Claire Wright is a British actress in the U.S who is struggling to find jobs. She wants to get her Green Card and takes on a job that promises to gain her that document. But, the job turns out more dangerous than she thought. She is working for a lawyer who sets her up as a decoy to find cheating husbands. Her last assignment ends badly when the man’s wife is found murdered. Claire was one of the last people to see her alive. She agrees to work for the police in trying to get the man, Professor Patrick Fogler, to confess. Using all her acting skills, she inserts herself into this man’s life. Things get way more complicated than she bargained for though.
It’s hard to tell who is deceiving who is this complex story. First, the reader thinks it’s Patrick, then Claire. The plot is well-woven and the reader is drawn into the mystery. But, there is also a certain darkness to the novel that will probably repel some readers. A lot of it deals with psychological perversions and really “out there” stuff. If you don’t want to read about these things, I would avoid this book. The characters are deeply involved in this subculture surrounding the violent poetry of Baudelaire.
I found it difficult to get into to the writing style in the book. The main character is an actress and often imagines her dialog in her head in a form that reads like a written script. I am not really a fan of live performances, and would have preferred a more standard narrative form to the writing. But, the author uses this as a gimmick because the main character is an actress, and there is a play in the last half of the book as well. I can see how this style is fitting with the theme, but it was difficult for me to read.
The storyline itself was convoluted. At one point, Claire is sent to a mental hospital, which I found somewhat misplaced. It seemed like that whole section could have been left out. Except for the fact that Patrick has to rescue her from the situation, that whole part of the novel didn’t seem to have a real purpose to me. It probably served to let the reader know that Claire was doubting her own sanity, but I didn’t think the novel needed that scene.
Honestly, I liked the first book by this author a lot more than this one. I just couldn’t get into this one because I was put off by the counterculture stuff and the seeming unnecessary parts to the plot. The ending was interesting, but seemed contrived to me. It was pretty far from reality, in my opinion.
I can’t really give this book a full five stars. I think this author has done better work. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.