Where the Truth Lies Hardcover – 1 Jun 2003
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`A narcotically addictive thriller' -- Esquire
`Sexy and surprising' -- Candace Bushnell
-- Matthew Pearl, author of THE DANTE CLUB --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
From the Inside Flap
O'Connor, a vivacious, free-spirited young journalist known for her penetrating celebrity interviews, is bent on unearthing secrets long ago buried by the handsome showbiz team of singer Vince Collins and comic Lanny Morris. These two highly desirable men, once inseparable (and insatiable, where women were concerned), were driven apart by a bizarre and unexplained death in which one of them may have played the part of murderer. As the tart-tongued, eye-catching O'Connor ventures deeper into this unsolved mystery, she finds herself compromisingly coiled around both men, knowing more about them than they realize and less than she might like, but increasingly fearful that she now knows far too much. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.See all Product description
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As the O'Connor investigates the victim, interviews Collins, meets with Morris and his attorneys (since Morris plans to write his own story), and flies from Hollywood to New York and Florida, author Holmes incorporates spot-on period detail to recreate the roiling world of high profile performers and the intensity of their high stakes lives. The uninhibited O'Connor will do just about anything to get close to her subjects, and her wryly cynical voice keeps the reader entertained with the story's shifts back and forth in time and location. Her willingness to flout convention and her refusal to become rattled by the escalating tension and threats to her safety provide humor at the same time that they show her to be smart and resourceful.
As one may guess from the title, truth and lies sometimes overlap, and surprise after surprise unfolds for the reader as O'Connor finds herself making assumptions, being proved wrong, making new assumptions based on her discoveries, and finding those wrong, too. None of the characters are quite who they seem to be, and as Holmes's witty and lightning-fast dialogue reveals surprises, his background as a writer for stage and television and his mastery of pacing are obvious.
One of the best modern mysteries in recent years, the story is beautifully crafted and filled with characters who seem realistic, despite their Hollywood facades and glitzy lives. Twists and turns occur throughout the book, not just at the conclusion, as Holmes alternates relatively quiet scenes with those full of action. Two "dinner scenes," each of which could compete with the famous banquet/seduction scene from 'Tom Jones,' add life and color, and the uninhibited and sometimes graphic sex seems consistent with the lifestyles of the Hollywood stars and the casual values of biographer O'Connor. A masterfully executed mystery, filled with wit and excitement. n Mary Whipple
There were more times than I can remember when I actually had to say to myself (aloud) "calm down, calm down". And not because of the mesmerising storyline but because of the sheer beauty and accomplishment of the writing, all the more so since the book is 'narrated' by a twenty-something female journalist.
As a bonus, not that one were really needed, Holmes has written the best sex scenes in modern fiction (I thought Jane Smiley had already done that in 'Good Faith').
But, strangely and astonishingly, it was only after some three hours had passed since finishing this modern masterpiece that I stopped dead in my tracks and the hair on my neck suddenly rose to attention. Earlier I had wondered how such a perfect evocation of grief and loss had come to be written. And there in the author's acknowledgments right at the end is the answer. A double-whammy indeed.
Drop everything else and read this now.
I couldn't put it down and couldn't wait to get to the end and I just like his writing style. Thoroughly recommended.
The plot seems complicated but intriguing. It is set in the mid-1970s, and hinges on an event that happened back in 1959. The story is told largely in the first person from the perspective of the novel's main character, a 26 year-old woman journalist. O'Connor (the journalist) is determined to write the biography of one (or other) of a famous 1950s American double-act, Lanny Morris and Vince Collins. Morris is Jewish and was the comedy/slapstick half of the act. Collins was the duo's straight man with the fabulous singing voice, and came from Italian stock. Any resemblance between these two fictional characters and the 1950s duo Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin is entirely intentional, right down to the inclusion in the plot of a telethon.
These three principals are strong and entirely believable. All of them demonstrate character faults yet, as a testament to Holmes's writing, all still remain likeable.
I found this book fascinating, it was un-put-downable. Holmes manages to keep the tempo flowing from start to finish without ever flagging. He manages to tell the story convincingly from the perspective of a 26 year-old woman, which has to be a notable achievement from a man in (presumably) his mid-50s.
A cracking story, superbly written, utterly believable characters, a nod in the direction of some of America's finest entertainers from the 1950s, amusing throughout. If you enjoy the predictable, exaggerated, formula-driven nonsense papped out by the likes of Jeffrey Deaver or Wilbur Smith you will probably hate this.
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