We know Marty was outside their home that night. We know he has a motive. We know he's guilty of something. But is it murder?
Everything we learn - about Marty as a man, his affair with Rachel, and the night in question - comes from Marty himself. We want him to be innocent, but the more he tells us, the more we fear he is guilty. And as the twists and turns of the plot unfold, we can't be completely sure.
©2008 David Ellis; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio
This story is completely contrived, but I will try not to give anything away in my criticism. It is told in first person. Even though it is written as if he is revealing his inner thoughts, pertinent facts that the protagonist has and actions that he took are deliberately withheld from the reader. It isn't for lack of space; the protagonist's vicarious, sick fantasies are indulged time and again. The many twists toward the end are ridiculous and could be discovered by competent detectives. Further, even while charged with first degree murder, the guy isn't in jail or monitored, but is free to roam and create more mischief. If you appreciate Hannibal Lecter, you may like this story. The superficial self-analysis toward the end is pure Freudian--when all else fails, blame your parents! The polarization among reviewers shows that there is no accounting for taste. The narrator does the best he can with this flawed script; it isn't his fault.
First of all, the description doesn't relate to the story. We aren't wondering if the narrator is guilty, we know it, even if the killing is defensible and would have been legal w/o the coverup.
Second, writers can't get away with mysteries that don't rise to the level of Law & Order. If the police think the wife who is at the scene may have pulled the trigger, they test for residue. And everybody knows or else should know only dummies talk to the police w/o their lawyers present. Hence, the Miranda Warning, which gives even dopes a chance to get representation before they talk their way into trouble.
The hero in this book went to law school, and yet he babbles away like a legal know-nothing. "Think," he keeps saying to himself at the police station. Readers are way ahead of him. I couldn't finish this. David Ellis' later work excuses this rookie failure, which doesn't make the failure readable. The writing's good, but the plot is inexcusable. Narrator Dick Hill does his dramatic best to pump life into the corpse, but alas.
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