Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Madeleine is a well-known crime novelist in a fragile state of marital happiness. At home she feels she is walking on eggshells, and the only time she is truly content is when she's working on her new book. Her protagonist Edward is a gentleman with his own tragic past and tenuous relationships who starts investigating a murder at his best friend's art opening. Edward is increasingly endangered in Madeleine's story, and Madeleine starts to become conflicted with how she is treating her character and burgeoning friend. As Madeleine retreats further into Edward's world, a very real bond between the two begins to develop, influencing and changing Madeleine's everyday life. The author of the "Rowland -Sinclair" historical mystery series has written a metafictional stand-alone that delves into various kinds of relationships, whether contemporary marriage or the connection between an artist and her creation. The narrative is well written, but the honest portrayal of Madeleine and Edward (plus their supporting cast members) is really what carries this novel. VERDICT Literary or pop fiction lovers will enjoy, but readers should be aware that this is not a stereo-typical crime or detective story.-Jennifer Funk, McKendree Univ. Lib., Lebanon, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Fans of postmodern fiction will enjoy this departure from Gentill's 1930s series (Miles Off Course, etc.). It's an exploration, as one character puts it, of "an author's relationship with her protagonist, an examination of the tenuous line between belief and reality, imagination and self, and what happens when that line is crossed." Madeleine d'Leon, a former corporate lawyer who writes about a crime-solving housemaid, decides to try her hand at something different-a standalone crime novel featuring author Edward McGinnity, who writes "the kind of worthy incomprehensible stuff that wins awards." In Maddie's telling, Edward becomes a suspect in the murder of an obnoxious editor, who was found with a broken neck at the base of the fire stairs of a gallery exhibiting paintings by Edward's married love interest. Gradually, Maddie and Edward become aware of each other and grow close emotionally. Those who favor conventional mysteries should be prepared for an ambiguous payoff. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Two writers create each other as protagonists, and then become enamored of one another, leading to a postmodern blend of reality and fantasy. Madeleine d'Leon, happily married to doctor Hugh Lamond, has suffered several miscarriages and has largely set aside her practice of law to write. Edward McGinnity writes literary fiction, calling on the pain of his early life, when his parents and two siblings died in a car accident (leaving him lonely but wealthy), and on his unrequited love for his close friend, artist Willow Meriwether, who spurned him to marry artist Elliott Kaufman. But is Edward the creation of Madeleine, or is she a character in Edward's novel? Inevitably, the writers (real or imagined) become closer, complicating the progress of their stories and sometimes disturbing those around them. This is an elegant exploration of the creative process, as well as a strong defense of the crime-fiction genre, as Gentill illustrates the crossing of lines between imagination and reality. Rich with insights that can add pleasure to the reading of crime fiction.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Two authors' lives intersect in a strange and mysterious way.Madeleine d'Leon, a lawyer married to well-liked doctor Hugh Lamond, puts aside the successful historical mystery series she's written when she becomes obsessed with telling the story of a new character, Edward "Ned" McGinnity, a wealthy young author whose whole family was killed in a car crash. The accident has colored his life, and its shadow has appeared in all his work. Slowly Madeleine creates Ned's life, including his love for artist Willow Meriwether, who considers him only her best friend since she remains in love with her boorish artist husband. At Willow's gallery opening, she's approached by Geoffrey Vogel, a critic with no love for her work. His editing of Ned's first novel ruined it, and both Willow and Ned are natural suspects when Vogel is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs at the gallery. In the meantime, Ned has begun writing a novel in which Madeleine is the protagonist. He introduces her sadness over several miscarriages and the slow cooling of her relationship with her husband, who forces her to see a psychiatrist because he fears she's so obsessed with her hero that she spends all her time writing and even having conversations with the fictionalized Ned. Madeleine suspects her husband of harboring a real-life secret, perhaps an affair, but her own life is taken up with writing Ned's story and discovering who murdered Vogel. As Ned continues to work on his novel, detailing his problems with Willow and the horrors of being suspected of murder, his love for Madeleine grows. It becomes ever harder to determine what is truth and what is fiction in the intertwining stories of murder, love, and obsession. In this intriguing and unusual tale, a stunning departure from Gentill's period mysteries (Give the Devil His Due, 2015, etc.), the question is not whodunit but who's real and who's a figment of someone's vivid imagination. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.