A classy suspense debut pitting two men against each other in that struggle between brothers that's as old as the Bible.
In this version, you're not quite sure who's Cain and who's Abel until the author is ready to let you figure it out. Eric Fairlie and younger brother Pilot (named by their flier father in an early attempt to influence career choice) furnish little evidence that they share a gene pool. Eric is brilliant, handsome, and a successful neurosurgeon while Pilot is not noticeably handsome, brilliant, or by any measure successful. Diagnosed a schizophrenic, Pilot battles to stay tuned into reality—to keep his feet on the ground, as it were, in an ironic subversion of Dad's hopes for him. There was a third Fairlie sib, Fiona, who vanished 20 years ago at age seven, never to be found despite an all-out police search. Fiona's mysterious disappearance soured an already shaky fraternal relationship. Did Eric play a part in whatever disaster befell her? Pilot insists that Eric killed her brutally and cold-bloodedly. But Pilot is delusional: his therapist says so, and so does everyone else, no one more emphatically than Pilot himself. Yet suddenly Pilot claims to have in his possession a gore-encrusted knife and a tennis shoe last seen on Fiona's small foot, though he won't tell where they're hidden. If such evidence in fact exists, who does it really implicate? In other words, who is raveling and who is unraveling? Skillfully shifting his points of view, Smith keeps us close to his characters, interested in their complexities, and guessing about their motives.
Stylish, substantive, and savvy.