The Crime of Julian Wells

Thomas H. Cook. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $24 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2603-0
The suicide of unhappy true crime writer Julian Wells propels this spellbinding thriller from Edgar-winner Cook (The Quest for Anna Klein). As literary critic Philip Anders tries to piece together his closest friend’s final days, Philip discovers that Julian may have been planning to return to Argentina, where years earlier, on a visit, the pair met a young woman, Marisol, whose subsequent disappearance haunted Julian. It’s obvious that Julian never stopped searching for Marisol, and as Philip follows his trail, he wonders how much Julian really knew and whether guilt for an unknown transgression fueled his lifelong sorrow. Cook threads the narratives of Julian’s unsettling oeuvre throughout Philip’s increasingly obsessive journey to unearth the reason behind his friend’s decision to end his life. The stories of real-life criminals—from a 17th-century Hungarian countess with a penchant for torture to notorious Soviet-era serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, the subject of Julian’s last manuscript—add to the aura of unease. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/25/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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