Sliver of Truth

Lisa Unger, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $23 (355p) ISBN 978-0-307-33846-4

Bestseller Unger's sensational second thriller (after Beautiful Lies ) puts her in the same league as such genre masters as Peter Straub and Peter Abrahams. From the cryptic opening section, which ends with a New York Times reporter finding her husband bleeding to death, Unger grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go. Meanwhile, the FBI informs Ridley Jones, a magazine writer, that her late uncle, Max Smiley (who's really her biological father), is still alive and being sought by assorted international players on all sides of the law. Rapidly finding that little in her life is what it seems, Jones is horrified to be confronted with evidence indicating that Smiley is a misogynistic monster of the first order, who may have played a role in the murder of the reporter's husband. Unger's gifts for dialogue and pacing set this far above the standard novel of suspense and will leave many anxiously awaiting her third book. 10-city author tour. (Jan.)