In Wilson’s debut novel, a woman finds herself torn between two lovers, one of whom just so happens to be a murderer.
When Charlotte, North Carolina, land developer Jay Stiles kills a business associate, he calls upon Wayne Johnson, aka “Streaker,” a cop-turned–private detective, to help him get rid of the body. Streaker, in turn, calls on one of Jay’s employees to assist him in disposing of the corpse. But when the employee is reported missing, too, Jay finds that he has a real mess on his hands. At the same time, Jay’s mistress, interior designer Camille Carson, goes to a bar where she meets Matt Garrison, who has moved to Charlotte for a new job. After spending the evening with him, Camille seriously considers leaving Jay. But along with all his other bad qualities, Jay is extremely jealous, and he’ll go to any lengths to ensure Camille’s fidelity. Then Jay introduces Camille to his new project manager, who turns out to be none other than Matt, thus igniting a slow-burning fuse that will threaten Camille’s future. The author follows in the footsteps of past masters of noir such as Margaret Millar and Dorothy B. Hughes when it comes to writing about tortuous relationships that lead to duplicity and murder. And both Matt, a strong-willed good guy, and Streaker, who enjoys taunting Jay, will remind readers of Elmore Leonard characters. Although the story takes place in contemporary Charlotte, it might just as well be taking place in any anonymous American town in the 1940s or ’50s. The plot is appropriately twisty and has an authentic hard-boiled feel to it. Wilson provides us with four memorable characters and sets them down in a shadowy maze of obsession and betrayal where there is only one way out.
Like the best noir, this story puts its characters through an emotional wringer and makes the reader feel their desperation, too.