From Publishers Weekly
The unsolved 1971 murder of UCLA philosophy professor Richard Montague is the inspiration for Campbell's uneven debut, set in 2001. American psychoanalyst Jay Hamilton has worked in England for two decades, pretty uneventfully, despite a professional secret; Hamilton uses his patients as inspiration for the bestselling fiction he authors under a pseudonym. His comfortable existence is put at risk by an inquiry from Dana Flynn, a woman researching his late brother, Robert, a controversial UCLA professor; Dana is naturally curious about the circumstances of Robert's murder 30 years earlier. Robert, a closet homosexual, was strangled in his home. Based on Jay's account of seeing two men drive away in his brother's car, the official theory was that they were responsible for the crime. Campbell writes well, and does a good job of portraying the complex relationship of the Hamilton brothers, but the surprise she springs on the reader about the murder will astonish few.
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Campbell shows a light and conciliatory touch... She is excellent on the symptomatic one-upmanship of academia... she clearly has a talent for direct and uncompromising character portrayal. Irish Times Written in glistening prose... a major talent Irish Independent An enthralling and intelligent thriller swirling with dark, beguiling shadows, The Semantics of Murder establishes Aifric Campbell as a storyteller of really immense gifts. She combines a unique sensibility with a prose of shimmering beauty. This is gripping, haunting work -- Joseph O'Connor A tautly written thriller of ideas that asks awkward questions about the "talking cure" and its potential to blur fact with fiction... dark and damaged -- Adrian Turpin Financial Times A highly readable thriller... a page-turner with panache -- Araminta Wallace Irish Times Aifric is a master of metaphor, an expert at the extended simile. Her language is ideally suited to the character of a jaded cynic who is greatly bothered by the elements that have shaped his personality. Her depictions of the analytic sessions her protagonist conducts are painfully revealing; the jumble of emotions he expresses about himself and his relationship to others are even more so. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED I Love a Mystery - USA This is a surprising book that defies all expectations. The murder mystery is satisfying, with unexpected twists and turns, the characters are expertly crafted, and it is incredibly well written. It's definitely something that fans of literary fiction should pick up. S. Krishna's Book Blog USA
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