On the surface, Henry Hayden seems like someone you could like, or even admire. A famous bestselling author who appears a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous friend and coworker. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. No one besides him and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.
For most of Henry’s life, it hasn’t been a problem. But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, he tries to find a permanent solution, only to make a terrible mistake.
Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past—which he has painstakingly kept hidden—threatens to catch up with him as well. Henry is an ingenious man and he works out an ingenious plan. He weaves lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. But bit by bit the noose still tightens.
Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, here is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.
To keep a secret, you should never lose concentration; tell nobody and never forget.
From the very first page, the author sets up a story riddled with complications, betrayal and deceit. And he delivered for the most part. The unexpected twists were enough to keep me interested, even with characters I never really grew to like and writing that I didn’t immediately connect with.
Henry is a best-selling author at the height of his career. He’s rich, famous and well-liked in the small town where he lives with his wife, Martha. His comfortable existence is threatened when he finds out his editor and mistress, Betty, is pregnant. He considers coming clean to Martha, but thinks he has a better plan instead. He’ll just make Betty disappear.
The major problem for me was Henry. I never grew to like him. Sure he did horrible things, never told the truth and came off as a coward in my eyes, but I still wanted to feel like he had some redeeming quality. Something that would make me care, even a teeny tiny bit. It never happened though, making it hard for me to totally immerse myself in the story.
“I’m a thoroughly bad, utterly insignificant person, believe me.”
It took me a little longer than usual to get used to the author's voice and the flow. I get it was translated, but some of the wording was just odd. There were a few times the POV was switched in the middle of paragraphs too, making it a little confusing and disjointed.
I can’t say I loved this book, but despite my issues with the characters and the writing, I liked it. It was the shock value that saved the story for me and kept me intrigued.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*