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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Truth-Teller's Lie, by Sophie Hannah, apa Hurting Distance ($15)(c2010)

I've read some dour books lately, so I thought (wrongly), "Hey, here's a book by someone with a cute name, Sophie Hannah; it should be entertaining."

The Truth-Teller's Lie is entertaining, but not in the way I thought it would be. The back cover quotes The (London) Times: "A superbly creepy, twisty thriller about obsessive love, psychological torture and the darkest chambers of the human heart." That quote neatly summarizes this book. So, ditto.

Just before embarking on a disastrous vacation, Detective Sergeant Charlotte "Charlie" Zailer interviews a distraught young woman who is convinced her married lover, who has disappeared, needs help. She and her partner Simon Waterhouse chalk it up to the hysteria of a discarded lover and put the case on ice. Since every other chapter of the book is the first-person narrative of that woman, Naomi Jenkins, a reader can suspect that Naomi's concern is justified.

In a convoluted series of events, the stories of Charlie and Naomi intertwine as the story becomes darker and more depraved. As Hannah says, "The diagram [of connections] now resembled a morbidly obese spider -- a huge black mass of lines, arrows, circles, loops. The shape of chaos."

I probably should have read The Times' quote before reading this book, but it was soon too late. I was immediately caught in Hannah's web, trying to make sense of the chaos. She does it so well.

Apparently the Jenkins/Waterhouse series is being adapted for television in Great Britain.

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