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Man and Wife - Andrew Klavan

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Paperback: 352 pages / Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks / Published: 5 Dec 2002

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      03.04.2013 11:58
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      A man's trust in his past begins to fall apart at the seams.

      Man and Wife by Andrew Klavan

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      I recently went on holiday to Spain and stayed in a nice villa in a small southern village. While there I came across a lovely cupboard full of random books that had been left by previous visitors. I had took three books to read of my own but felt as though I didn't want to leave them there as they were new and books that I wanted to keep. I saw this book by Andrew Klavan called 'man and Wife' and it sounded intriguing. I hummed and arred whether or not to take it but my girlfriend reassured me that the fifteen euro parasol we were leaving behind was enough to compensate. So, on that notion I took it home with me. I'm glad that I did.

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      The Premise

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      Psychiatrist Cal Bradley is living the life that most of us long for. He is a decent man and one that is loved by children and adults alike in both his workplace and the small village that he calls his hometown. His marriage is a romantic testimony that dreams can come true. For fifteen years he has shared his life with his beautiful wife Marie, a really sweet, unassuming and lovely woman that he adores and loves deeply.One evening a troubled teenager changes Cal's life forever. In a night of utter madness Peter Blue has a blazing argument with his girlfriend, which ends with him striking her. He then proceeds to set fire to the local church and pulls a gun on the town's sheriff; a man that you wouldn't want to mess with.Peter is facing prison and suicidal. He is sent to Cal Bradley for assessment. For Peter it is the last chance for redemption. For Cal it is a journey into a nightmare world of deceit, deception and murder.Cal soon realises that there is more to peter than meets the eye. He is an extraordinary young man and in some strange way his dreams seem to hold clues to some inner secrets and hidden truths from Cal's life.As Cal is drawn into this bizarre new world he begins to uncover some secrets that he wished he hadn't, the kind of secrets that are perhaps better off not being known and secrets that will change his life forever.

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      Critical Acclaim

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      A taut and tense thriller, Man and Wife is a gripping psychological thriller about what happens when you can no longer believe the one you trust the most.

      Here are just a few of the critiques that it has received.

      ''This is one of those books that you can't leave alone....miss this one and miss a terrific read'' - Independent On Sunday

      ''A fast paced tale of redemption that often borders on the supernatural, this violent ride through fear and empathy is an exemplary thriller'' - Time Out

      '' A plot-twisting, nail biting novel noir that defines edge of the chair suspense'' - Faye Kellerman

      Andrew Klavan is very close to securing his place within the super-league of American street-writers'' - Observer

      ''The narration is coolly detached, immensely detailed and totally convincing. Every character is brought to life'' - Sunday Telegraph''

      ''Mr Klavan, who has a perfect sense of timing, delivers all the cliff-hangers and hairpin turns that you want from a beat-the-clock suspense thriller'' - New York Times''

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      My Thoughts

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      I really enjoyed this book in the fact that it was easy to read and not bogged down in grammatical juxtaposition. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I like to read a literary great or a book laced in classic prose but I had just read three books on holiday and wanted something easy to sate my reading muscle while at the same time giving it a rest.That said, this book was hard to put down and the story was captivating enough to keep me hooked. The characters were believable and well-drawn and the situations that they found themselves in made me think and question my morals. The book is complex in its simplicity.It is a story of deceit and lies, of truths and how much we really know about those that we thought we did know but apparently do not. It makes you ponder and imagine what you would do in the same situation as the stories main character, Cal Bradley.

      Cal is a psychiatrist but shows the reader that we are all psychiatrists or psychologists in certain ways or to some degree. We are all able to strip a thought process down, to dismantle it in the hope of repairing it. It is just that some of us are better at it than others.

      There is nothing better in a lead character than someone who faces a moral dilemma. Cal certainly faces one. Does he tell the truth and hurt his family or does he lie and keep his family safe but risk hurting himself by having to live with the consequences of that lie?

      The book is well paced and not overly long. Andrew Klavan is definitely an author who I will look out for. This was the first novel of his that I have read but it certainly will not be the last. I know that he has also written a couple of books that have been turned into successful movies; those being, 'Don't Say A Word', which saw the debut of a young and sadly now deceased, Brittany Murphy and 'True Crime', directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. I have seen both and will definitely read the books if I get the chance.

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      Summary

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      I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to get lost in a story for a day or two. It is gripping and keeps your attention and you find that you can't wait to get back to it once you have put it down. I always find that is a sign of a good book. I like Cal Bradley's character and Peter Blue is also well drawn.

      Even the support characters are believable and you find it easy to relate to and remember who people are and they respond how you would expect them to. It is a chilling little tale and definitely one to snuggle up in blankets to in front of the fire on a cold winter night.

      I give it three out of four stars.


      ©Lee Billingham

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