My Best Friend

Wilson, Laura

Published by Delacorte Press, 2002
ISBN 10: 0385335792 / ISBN 13: 9780385335799
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1st Ed., 1st prt., ARC. A man is forced to face the 50-year old war-torn past and its secrets about his family. A novel of psychological suspense by the author of "A Little Death" and "Dying Voices". 257pp. in yellow wraps; stain to spine, skinned spot on rear cover; interior unmarked. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: In her spellbinding hardcover debut, Laura Wilson, the internationally acclaimed author of A Little Death and Dying Voices, delivers her most daring novel of psychological suspense yet: a mesmerizing tale of the ties that bind and of the obsession that sought to sever them.

My Best Friend

England, 1944: She was the most beloved children’s author of her generation. In a time of unparalleled fear, youngsters everywhere sought sanctuary in M.M. Haldane’s magical world, where no danger was ever great enough to prevent her hero from returning safely home to tea.

But when her own son, Gerald, went down to the woods one day, not even a mother could save him from making a discovery so horrifying that it would mark the end of both his sister’s life and his innocence forever. When the doors to the nursery close, they close for eternity....

England, 1995: As the country prepared to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of V-E Day, Gerald remains terrorized by his memories. Desperately lonely, he finds solace in following a young girl home from school. To protect her, he says. But when the girl disappears, all eyes turn accusingly to him.

Running for his life, Gerald’s only salvation is to finally confront the atrocious events of his terrible past — and the unthinkable, unspeakable truth about his star-crossed family, steeped in fiction and in guilt, that can finally set him free.

With the precision of a sculptress, Laura Wilson chisels into the minds of her characters, carving their stories with the skill of a master craftsman. Spanning a chasm of decades, ruthlessly peeling away the layers of an astonishing mystery, My Best Friend takes us on a journey of literary suspense that is at once disturbing, hypnotic, and impossible to forget.

Review: Penzler Pick, December 2001: With only three books, Laura Wilson has established herself as one of the very few heirs apparent to the psychological novels of Patricia Highsmith and Minette Walters. 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

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Bibliographic Details

Title: My Best Friend
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Trade Paperback
Book Condition: Near Fine
Edition: First Edition, First Printing.

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