cover image The Dilemma

The Dilemma

B.A. Paris. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-15136-0

Destructive secrets abound in this maddeningly melodramatic psychological thriller from bestseller Paris (Bring Me Back). Adam Harman is busy preparing for his wife Livia’s 40th birthday party, an event for a hundred guests under a marquee tent in their backyard in Windsor, England. Adam is expecting their 19-year-old daughter, Marnie, who’s studying in Hong Kong, to make a surprise appearance at the party. But as he and 22-year-old son Josh set up chairs and choose a playlist, Adam learns that Marnie may have died in a plane crash in Cairo. His quandary is whether he should tell Livia and ruin her evening’s happiness. Livia, on the other hand, has discovered a highly personal fact that Marnie has withheld from both parents. Does she tell Adam and affect his relationship with Marnie? The novel bounces back and forth between guilt-ridden lies and deceitful behavior, such as Livia’s betrayal of Adam. By the end, the reader is likely to feel frustrated by a psychological thriller that withholds information for far too long. Debilitating circumstances aren’t enough to excuse egregious behavior of reprehensible characters. 150,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Camilla Bolton, Darley Anderson Agency (U.K.). (June)