Greg Iles proves once again that everyone has secrets. And, it's our secrets that get us into trouble. There is the "perfect" couple with sexual secrets. There is a psychopath whose actual existence is linked to a sexual secret. When they meet, you get a roller-coaster ride with murders, man-hunts, and intrigue. And, of course, it is all set in the rural south.
Wow! This 522 page novel is a gripping thriller. Iles excels at this genre. A serial killer gets his victims off a Sex website. After spending time with his victims on the internet, he then meets them and kills them for the purpose of getting their penal gland. He is a surgeon and wants to get longevity. None stop thrills.
Whoof! This tale of murder and intrigue with a very heavy over- and undertone of rampant sexuality can best be subtitled 'Mary Shelley meets Nora Roberts'. Yes there's a 'monster' here, engaged in a string of murders and kidnappings with a sinister purpose, but the centerpiece of the tale is the brief affair the narrator had with his future wife's sister. In spite of the fact the couple, Harper and Drewe, were engaged in one of those mutual "I'm sure, but are you?" hesitation dances and had agreed to a year's moratorium on their romance, when Drewe's sister Erin shows up to seduce him Harper feels a wave of guilt which he keeps with him for three or four years, scratching and picking at it like a festering sore. Then, just as things are going to start heating up on the monster/killer scene, and just as Drewe announces she is ready to have a child of her own, Erin drops a bombshell in Harper's lap...he is the true father of her child, his niece. If the tale is marred in any way it lies with Iles' using this plot device to extreme. We are treated to a continual rehashing of the "affair", not only in terms of Harper's own stream-of-consciousness mea culpas but we also get to examine it again and again from the perspectives of every other character, some of whom are told about it and some of whom Harper only imagines telling them 'his deep, dark secret'. But that flaw was not enough to make me want to close the book before finishing (which I have done often...I do not suffer fools gladly) because Iles manages to walk the tightrope just so and I kept right at it, sleep be damned, until the monster was appropriately dispatched and everyone (well, most) lived happily ever after. Good read.
This book kinda scared me. I couldn't stop reading it.