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How's this for an impossible case: Barrister Nick Downes has been assigned the defense of the nameless amnesiac (he turns out to be poet and painter Will Turner) who was caught in a Vice sweep of a Queensway brothel shortly after he told the lady-in-charge that he'd buried a body in a chalk pit in Kent. The body is there, all right, and proves to be Will's brother Charles, heir to the family's psychology practice. If only Charles were still alive, maybe he'd know what to make of Will, driven to schizophrenic dissociation by his memories of that chalk pit, and of Will's seductive wife Liz, who wastes no time baring her soul to Nick and indicates unwonted enthusiasm for baring the rest. Nick, whose longtime lover Sally Fielding has just left him for an old friend--and who's now opposing counsel in re Will Turner--is feeling unusually temptable, and after a long, steamy struggle (including interludes for porn tapes and sex clubs), he succumbs to Liz, who ""provoked in him lust and the desire to look after her in almost perfect proportion,"" even as he's improbably succeeding with her husband. But this victory only sets the stage for a new accusation and a second, even more hopeless trial starring all the same principals--Will, Liz, Nick, Sally--but in horrifyingly transposed roles. An even more feverish follow-up to Dias's memorably unpleasant debut (False Witness, 1995), with a particularly nasty series of surprises that don't get sprung till you're convinced you already know the absolute worst about everybody involved.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1996
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Mysterious