• Title: My Best Friend
  • Released: 2013-12-05
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 0
  • ASIN: B009S8HJ1S
Penzler Pick, : With only three books, Laura Wilson has established herself as one of the very few heirs apparent to the psychological novels of and . Wilson uses the device of telling her story through several different voices. Each voice is in possession of a portion of the story, the telling of which is always colored by the personality and self-interest of the narrator. It is the reader who is the unbiased observer, listening to each person's story as it unravels into a coherent and horrifying chronicle of lies, deceit, and murder.

We meet Gerald both as a boy, through his journals, and as a troubled man in his early 60s. He has obviously had some run-ins with the police in his time, but we are not sure about what. Gerald is the son of one of England's greatest children's writers, M.M. Haldane, now deceased. M. (Marjorie) M. (Maud) was the creator of Tom Tyler, boy detective, and she and her husband, Arthur Traxton, adopted another child before Gerald was born. That child, Vera Traxton, was murdered during the war and an American serviceman was hanged for the crime.

We also meet Tilly, M.M.'s sister and a former actress who now lives out her life in a nursing home with her dog. She loves to reminisce about her time on the stage, but she also has a lot to say about her sister's treatment of her own children.

Jo works with Gerald. She is a single mother and her young daughter, Mel, is being followed home by an older man. Jo is worried about this, but she has a new boyfriend, Ron, and is just not concentrating.

As each person talks, the reader is treated to a story that builds to a shocking climax. There are also excerpts from M.M. Haldane's books, which only add to the horror of what we think may be happening.

My Best Friend is an original, chilling tour de force that solidifies the growing reputation of an exciting new author. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly Delicate, merciless psychological probing drives this U.S. hardcover debut by suspense novelist Wilson (A Little Death, etc.), a study of the precarious line that separates the oddball from the murderous villain. As a boy in the Suffolk countryside in 1944 and as a grown man-child in contemporary London, Gerald Haxton is a gentle, troubled soul. He begins his narrative wistfully ("It wasn't the first time I'd come across a hand"). He then recounts how his twin brother died at birth, his sister was brutally murdered while still a teenager, his father cannot protect him and his mother cannot abide him. Mumsy is the famous M.M. Haldane, author of the Tom Tyler, Boy Detective series, and excerpts from the detective stories provide an excruciating contrast to Gerald's own bleak childhood. As an adult, he lives vicariously through theatrical experiences, seeing Cats 105 times. Despite run-ins with the police, he begins following a young London girl who reminds him of his sister, Vera. Interspersed with Gerald's story is that of his Aunt Tilly, his mother's sister and his father's lover, anxious to set things right before she dies. Each of Wilson's characters represents a unique imbalance between human weakness and longing for something better. The emotional weight that tips the balance to create kindness or crime, a savior or a monster, grounds Wilson's story as well as her style. She is at her best in detailing loneliness. If she rushes a bit to tie up loose ends or uses secondary characters who lean to stereotype, it does not undermine the stark effect of her psychological portrait of a family of oddballs and monsters more horrible and more real than anything portrayed in the Haldane books, which dramatize childhood travails.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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