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James Siegel

Time Warner £9.99 tbo

Reviewed by Joanne Green

This is the first novel by newcomer James Siegel - I read the book over a period of three days couldn't put it down.
Charles Schine is a man with problems both at home and works. He has a daughter who has a degenerative diabetic disorder and he's about to lose his lucrative and high profile Credit card account. One stressful morning he misses his usual train to work and has to catch the later one. As the ticket collector comes round he realises he has forgotten his wallet and is offered help from the seductive and stunningly beautiful Lucinda Harris, They discover they are both at a place in their lives which is difficult and unhappy
As the affair is moving from a series of innocent lunch dates and evening drinks to another level, they decide to booked a hotel room for the morning and choose what seems to be a random hotel in a less than desirable part of town, these leads to a chance encounter with Vasquez, a man who will change Charles life through blackmail and emotional torment.
This book has many twists in the story and some of them have quite a sting. I enjoyed the way the book flits from present to the past so you're left on tenterhooks from one chapter to the next, and how the expected becomes the unexpected.
The main characters were strong and fairly believable, Charles Schine had faults and wasn't the all American good guy but it's the faults which made it more believable and more shocking. The description of Vasquez, gave you a clear picture of a truly evil person. I would liked to have heard more about Charles's wife and daughter as they played a big part in the story but I felt Siegel didn't pay them enough attention.
All in all - a good read with lots of excitement, a book that took you with it on every unexpected twist and turn.