MYSTERY

A Fatal Affair

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon Jun. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781542039901. pap. $16.99. THRILLER
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A 911 call from the home of Hollywood power couple Hugh Iverson and Nora Kemp opens this fast-paced and twisty thriller from Torre (A Familiar Stranger). Hugh’s identical twin brother, Trent Iverson, and an unknown woman have been found dead at the estate’s guest house. Hugh and Trent, sons of famed televangelist Momma Beth, were teen stars of the religious program Story Farm, and their careers diverged after that show’s cancellation. Hugh moved on to Oscar-winning glory while Trent embraced a wild lifestyle and battled addiction. Torre provides shifting perspectives to tell the story, with chapters rotating points of view from different characters, including Iverson and Kemp, the sharp and wary detective Farah Anderson, the murdered woman (via her journal), and a missing child whose fate is entwined with the Hollywood drama. This approach gives the novel a jigsaw-puzzle quality, similar to the work of Lisa Jewell and Mary Kubica.
VERDICT A thriller with surprises aplenty and a breezy pace that includes well-written characters and the singular challenge of looking for truth “in a sea of professional liars and seducers,” this novel is sure to have wide appeal.
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