A frustrated novelist looks to the real world for inspiration and gets more reality than she bargained for.
Lizbeth Greene has parlayed a personal tragedy into a successful writing career; the story of her abduction by and escape from a serial killer was a smash bestseller. Since then, she’s been churning out a steady stream of popular books featuring a detective with whom she shares similarities. At the start of Leigh’s debut, Lizbeth is in free fall: isolated in her rural house, stymied and bored with writing (murmurs of declines in sales and quality are not helping) and dangerously close to resuming her heroin habit. Snapping her out of this funk is the case of Wilson Velez, who is serving a life sentence for his part in running The Royals, a Latino gang from Corona, Queens. Lizbeth sets up shop in the small Philadelphia town near the ultra-maximum-security prison holding Velez and starts interviewing him about his criminal past and literary future (he’s written a creepy and impressive children’s story about a pair of mischievous gargoyles in Gramercy Park), hoping to get another bestseller out of it. The bulk of Leigh’s chilly, finely etched narrative shows Wilson and Lizbeth trying to outmaneuver each other. Nothing is as it seems, and little by little, Leigh pulls back the curtain on two characters who are not as innocent as they profess.
A powerful, gloom-shadowed morality tale.