Tempers flare and loyalties fray when old friends gather for a lavish bash in the English countryside.
A police interrogation provides the frame for this literary suspense novel from British author Day (Paradise City, 2015, etc.). Three weeks prior to Martin Gilmour’s summons by the Tipworth PD, Britain’s best and brightest gathered at charismatic power couple Ben and Serena Fitzmaurice’s new vacation home—a former monastery—to celebrate Ben’s 40th birthday. Also in attendance were misanthropic journalist Martin and his dowdy wife, Lucy, as Martin and Ben have been practically inseparable since boarding school. The question of what happened that night to attract the attention of the authorities is the skeleton on which Day’s plot hangs, but the book’s true mystery concerns the bond that links these two seemingly incompatible men. Martin is a spellbinding storyteller who doles out details like they’re a controlled substance. He pauses frequently to reflect upon his complicated history with Ben and the unhappy childhood that preceded it, and his narration is littered with keen yet cutting observations about people, their relationships, and society at large. Excerpts from Lucy’s journal fill the gaps and provide additional insight regarding her husband, their marriage, and the Fitzmaurices. Vividly sketched characters and evocative prose further distinguish the story, which ends on a note that both shocks and gratifies.
Day’s latest is a dark, haunting, and elegantly crafted tale of obsession, desperation, devastation, and rebirth.