Mystery Andrew Wilson The Lying Tongue

ISBN 13: 9780743293983

The Lying Tongue

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9780743293983: The Lying Tongue

Fresh from finishing university in England, Adam Woods arrives in Venice to begin a new chapter in his life. He soon secures employment as the personal assistant of Gordon Crace -- a famous expatriate novelist who makes his home in a dank and crumbling palazzo, surrounded by fabulous works of art, piles of unanswered correspondence and the memories of his former literary glory.

Before long Adam becomes indispensable to the feeble Crace, and he finds himself at once drawn to and repelled by his elderly employer's brilliant mind and eccentric habits. As Adam comes to learn more about the scandal that brought Crace to Venice years ago, he realizes he has stumbled upon the raw material that could launch his own literary career and makes a bold decision: He will secretly write the famous author's biography. But outsmarting Crace is easier said than done, and the two soon find themselves locked in a bitter contest over the right to determine how the story of Crace's life will end. Against the haunting backdrop of the serene city, the two men engage in a ruthless game of cat and mouse that builds to a breathtaking and unexpected conclusion.

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Review:

Andrew Wilson has follwed Beautiful Shadow, his stunning biography about Patricia Highsmith, with his debut novel, The Lying Tongue, a book that follows in Highsmith's own tradition of plot twists and psychological conundrums.

Adam Woods arrives in Venice from England to take a job and work on his novel. The job quickly evaporates, so he finds another, as amanuensis to a reclusive old author, Gordon Crace. Things start out in a straightforward manner. The author is eccentric, to say the least, but after tidying up the place and perusing the fine art collection, Adam settles in. Crace has written one book, refuses to talk about it and tells Adam that he doesn't want his authorial life even mentioned. It is over.

The only thing we know about Adam is that he just graduated from college and his love affair ended badly. We subsequently find out that when his girlfriend broke up with him he raped her to show her how much she really wanted to be with him. Enter Adam, the sinister creep. That is just the beginning of what we find out about him, about Gordon and what they are both capable of in this revelatory tale of two truly despicable people. After finding two interesting--and damning--letters among Gordon's castabout papers, Adam decides to abandon his novel and write Crace's biography.

Wilson keeps us guessing as Adam leaves Gordon for a week, pleading a need to attend his grandmother's funeral. He goes back to England to head off another biographer, to snoop around to see what she has gleaned, and to do a bit of research on his own. Things do not go exactly as planned, but Adam is more than equal to whatever heinous act it takes to advance his own cause. When he returns to Venice and Gordon, the creep factor increases dramatically and ends in a crafty and perfect conclusion, one that the reader is not prepared for... which makes it that much better. --Valerie Ryan

About the Author:

Andrew Wilson is an award-winning journalist and author. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Sunday Times, and the Smithsonian Magazine. He is the author of four acclaimed biographies, a book about the survivors of the Titanic, and the novels, The Lying Tongue, A Talent for Murder, and A Different Kind of Evil.

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