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WHEN PAST AND PRESENT COLLIDE...
on March 1, 2003
This book was a most pleasant surprise. It is well-written with just the right infusion of tension to keep the reader turning its pages. While many of its twists and turns are predictable, not all are. There are enough surprises for even the most jaded of readers. It is a wonderful story-within-a-story of friendship, envy, betrayal, greed, revenge, love, and redemption.
Maris Matherly-Reed, an editor at prestigious Matherly Press, and scion of the head of this prestigious New York publishing house, Daniel Matherly, receives an unsolicited, anonymous manuscript entitled "Envy". Pulling it out of the slush pile, this manuscript consists only of a prologue, but one so riveting and beautifully written, that Maris is intrigued enough to want to speak to its unknown but supremely talented author. Leaving her husband, acclaimed author and fellow Matherly Press editor, Noah Reed, to mind the store, Maris decides to follow up on this mysterious, but intriguing, newcomer.
Having only an address for an Island off the Georgia coast, she goes there and encounters the crude and rude Parker Evans, the author of this potential literary gem. Marist makes allowances for his behavior, attributing it to what she assumes to be bitterness over his being confined to a wheelchair. As she gets to know Parker and discuss his book with him, more and more is revealed to her about his novel. It is a story of two friends who, in the late nineteen eighties, go on a boat for a celebratory jaunt with a young woman, only to have it end tragically. As Maris begins to find herself attracted to Parker, little does she know that she is about to go on a voyage of personal self-discovery.
Meanwhile back in New York, unbeknownst to both his wife and father-in-law, or so he thinks, Noah Reed is plotting and planning a takeover of Matherly Reed by a corporate giant. He is also not behaving as a faithful husband would. When Maris returns to New York, her old world appears to be falling apart. As the veil is torn from her eyes, she no longer sees her husband through rose colored glasses. She begins to wonder to whom she is really married, as Noah reveals more of himself than she cares to know.
When Maris reads additional chapters in Parker's book, she gets a strong sense that the book may be a work of non-fiction rather than fiction. She also suspects that there may be a connection between herself and Parker that she had not before realized. As the story of the three young people on the boat develops, it becomes painfully clear that the past and present are on a collision course. The only question is whether Maris will realize it before it is too late, and the past collides with the present.
This is an ingeniously plotted novel, and Parker Evans is a very interesting character. The other characters are also fairly well fleshed out for such a plot driven book. Only the character of Noah Reed seems to be a cookie cutter character. As the book, however, is primarily plot driven, it does not unduly detract from such an otherwise engrossing novel of suspense. Moreover, the literary contrivance of a story-within-a-story is very well done. The two parallel stories are both dramatic and interesting. Each serves to propel the book towards its climactic ending. All in all, it is very well done.