cover image The Wrong Man

The Wrong Man

John Katzenbach, . . Ballantine, $25.95 (461pp) ISBN 978-0-345-46483-5

Bestseller Katzenbach (The Traveler ) manages the impressive feat of taking a thriller cliché and using it as the basis for a powerful and complex story. The one-night stand that Ashley Freeman, a Boston art history grad student, has with Michael O'Connell, a determined psychopath, leads to dire consequences. O'Connell quickly moves to obsessively control every aspect of Ashley's life, coupling a relentless will with ingenuity and computer skills that soon ensnare Ashley's loved ones as they seek to protect her from him. When their feeble attempts to buy or scare off O'Connell fail, Ashley's divorced parents, as well as her mother's lesbian partner, embark on a convoluted but ingenious plot of their own. The author deftly shifts perspective among his central characters, raising this page-turner above the run-of-the-mill by making all of them emotionally credible. (Sept.)