In Malice, Quite Close

Brandi Lynn Ryder. Viking, $26.95 (388p) ISBN 978-0-670-02279-3
Told in turns by nearly all of its sexy, artistic, and obsessive characters, this byzantine debut stretches narrative to the breaking point. Tristan Mourault III, a rich, French Humbert Humbert-figure, becomes desperately infatuated with a middle-class American teen named Karen Miller, and the two fake her death and run off, with her posing as his daughter, Gisele; after a time living together in New York, they move to an artists' colony in Devon, Wash., at the invitation of the charismatic artist Robin Dresden. Gisele marries Luke Farrell, merely a pawn in Tristan's game, and has a beautiful daughter, Nicola. Of course, before long, Gisele wants out of her cage, so she takes other lovers and, through a series of convenient coincidences that involve blackmail and murder, Gisele's past re-emerges, and her long-lost sister, Amanda, now living in Seattle, happens to have some impossibly close and fraught connections with Tristan's milieu. The narrative winds itself into hysterical knots as revelations and twists pile up, sometimes more than a bit implausibly. Though Ryder gets credit for audacious puzzle building, the plot is more exhausting than enlightening; indeed, though it's a page-turner, it doesn't reach the dizzying literary heights it reaches for. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-0-14-312117-6
Audio Product - 978-1-61120-216-8
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-51761-1
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-50821-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61120-219-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-61120-367-7
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