cover image The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy

James Lasdun, read by Charles Constant. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 7 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-6816-8244-0

In his new novel of psychological suspense, set in 2012, poet-author Lasdun places Matthew, a young, out-of-work chef, under a literary microscope, catching every disturbing twitch of his increasing discomfort as he spends a long summer at the Catskill Mountain vacation home of his wealthy stockbroker cousin Charlie and Charlie’s beautiful wife, Chloe. In return, Matthew agrees to be the couple’s live-in chef. He’s a former Londoner, feeling adrift, and, in addition to providing him with a consistent British accent, reader Constant catches the character’s soft-spoken sense of aimlessness and, even more crucial, his exaggerated sensitivity. Lasdun spins his tale slowly and carefully, increasing Matthew’s growing tension by degrees until, eventually, it jumps into the red zone after he discovers Chloe’s affair with filmmaker Wade Grollier, a burly extrovert. Constant’s presentation of Wade, with his effectively rendered Deep South accent, complements the character’s easygoing and amusing nature, while Constant’s hard-edged, fast-paced description of events preceding the murder is quite the opposite. Lasdun and Constant make it clear who kills whom, but we’re left to decide who’s guilty, who’s innocent, and who fills the role of the fall guy. A Norton hardcover. (Oct.)