Looks like the police searching for a missing writer are out of luck: The only clues he’s left behind are chapters of his latest novel.
For 20 years, Raj Chakraborti has made a profession of “reaching out to people” in his work. His signature memories include the death of his great-aunt and the fatal rape of his Paddington neighbor by another neighbor down the hall. Now he’s become nothing more than a memory himself for Ana da Lima, the mother of his son Seb, and his aptly named editor Ellery King, to whom he sent a new manuscript after he vanished. Raj’s latest work intertwines two stories. The first, a first-person account of the events preceding his disappearance, leaps insouciantly between decades and countries; the second, a novel he’s been working on, tells the story of Charles Robert Pereira, a freelance editor whose casual hobby of murdering one stranger a year brings him to the attention of a Brazilian criminal organization that wants him to work as an assassin for them. The two stories don’t so much converge as infect each other more and more completely, beginning with the tableau of a dying kitten with a violent history and culminating in Raj’s affair with book reviewer Sharon Pereira, whose tell-all tome promising to unlock the dark secrets of international finance is put on hold by her murder—a crime that sets the English police on Raj’s trail.
A teasing, haunting jigsaw puzzle, less a thriller than a provocative meditation on the intersection of fiction and memory.