Which is more horrifying: suicide or murder?
After six years of trying to come to terms with the 1970 suicide of her fiancé Lenny Maxted, half of a celebrated television comedy team, Alice Conway, now living in the country far from the glitz and status of her high-living days as a London Playmate bunny, is agitated by the unexpected appearance of Lenny’s partner Jack Flowers and an anonymously donated news clipping that describes the recovery of a skeleton from a car that had been underwater for those six years. Another clipping heightens her unease, but not nearly as much as Jack’s drinking, his brandishing a gun, and his attack on her belongings and her person. Alice thinks her nightmare has reached its climax in the horrific deaths of a ten-year-old child and Alice’s ex-husband Jeff and in revelations about her beloved Lenny’s involvement in a scandalous ménage à trois that left two of the participants dead, the survivor seriously cuckoo, and a blackmailer with a target on his back. But her terror continues to escalate as she is victimized first by Jack, then by his estranged wife Val, and finally by the discrepancies between her memories and the truth.
Exquisitely grisly. Few can raise psychological goosebumps better than Wilson (My Best Friend, 2002, etc.), and her unrelenting exploration of violence and despair recalls John Fowles’s The Collector.