A deadly accident stirs up a hornet’s nest of secrets, lies, and adultery in an exclusive Pacific Northwest neighborhood.
Former model Benedict Werner now co-owns a modeling agency while his wife, Esme, a talented chef, owns the successful restaurant Dix-Neuf; they both adore their brilliant 17-year-old daughter, Zoe. Along with the other residents of Raven Lane, they form a tight-knit group. Frequent parties, mostly hosted by real estate agent Kitty Dagostino (who keeps a tight rein on who gets to buy a house on the street), keep things interesting and friendships thriving. However, the ties that bind them begin to fray when Benedict hits bestselling novelist Torn Grace with his car when pulling out of his driveway. Benedict didn’t see Torn coming around the corner on his bicycle, and Torn wasn’t wearing his helmet. Numerous witnesses, including Esme, insist it was an accident, never mind the wine Benedict consumed before getting into the car and, as it’s later discovered, the MDMA pills he popped before coming home that night. When Torn dies from his injuries, his husband, Aaron, is devastated. So is Esme, whose passionate affair with Torn ended in dramatic fashion shortly before the accident. When Esme and Torn’s affair is revealed to the police, Benedict is arrested and swiftly charged with second degree murder. Events spiral into an all-out circus when the media discovers Esme’s past as a rising movie star whose career was cut short by scandal. Cowie (Rapid Falls, 2018) alternates past and present to tell the story of a woman who feels that she’s compromised herself for the men in her life, but her characters are thinly drawn, and she frequently resorts to melodrama to heighten the tension. Excerpts of Torn’s claim to fame, the Lovecraft-inspired novel The Call, which Esme reads to comfort herself in the wake of Torn’s death, are more distracting than illuminating, and a wildly implausible twist in the final act may cause some eyes to roll.
An unconvincing drama.