Now You See Him, by Eli Gottlieb
(New York: William Morrow, 2008)
"The deaths of Rob Castor and his girlfriend begin a wrenching and enthrallingly suspenseful story that mines the explosive terrains of love and paternity, marriage and its delicate intricacies, family secrets and how they fester over time, and ultimately the true nature of loyalty and trust, friendship and envy, deception and manipulation.
"As the media take hold of this sensational crime, a series of unexpected revelations unleashes hidden truths in the lives of those closest to Rob. At the center of this driving narrative is Rob's childhood best friend, Nick Framingham, whose ten-year marriage to his college sweetheart is faltering. Shocked by Rob's death, Nick begins to reevaluate his own life and past, and as he does so, a fault line opens up beneath him, leading him all the way to the novel's startling conclusion."
"At this late date, would it be fair to say that people, after a fashion, have come to doubt the building blocks of life itself?"
Side note: While the barrage of end-of-year books I've just posted may have gotten somewhat out of order, I do know this was the last book I read in 2012. Just as parts of our lives have their own soundtracks, much of what I've done and read this past year comes with its own scenic backdrop. (Of course, some of the scenery was prettier than the rest.) There are novels I know I read in Boston because I can't see their covers without picturing the bedspread in my Boylston Street apartment; others I place in D.C. from the memory of painstakingly cramming the flimsy Days Inn pillows into place behind me so I could lean back while I read. Strangely, I could certainly look it up, but I don't know what I read in Pullman. I can see the autumn Palouse light, golden on the rolling hills and tinged pink through my window; I know I sat in the Lighty Hall atrium at lunchtime with a mocha in my right hand and a book in front of me. (What I remember from that trip is the podcast -- Frontline's "God in America" -- that served as its soundtrack: gasping uphill through the wildfire and paper mill smog in Lewiston on the way to the Nez Perce County Fair; twilight descending between the downtown taqueria with the mural and the community garden's fading sunflowers as I took the scenic route back to my hotel; gazing out the airplane window as Minneapolis fell away and realizing I'd be back amid the familiar bustle and mess of my family within hours.)
But this book did not come to Pullman. This one came to Boston over New Year's; I fiddled with the adjustable mattress as I sprawled on my bed in the Revere, the air smelling faintly of peppermint shampoo, Eliza channel-surfing and Mike doing game prep on his laptop at the art deco-inspired desk. Perhaps I sipped a glass of the wine we picked up at the 570 Market on our way back from dinner at Addis; it's likely I schlepped it to Manchester in my satchel when we drove up to see the NH side of the family.
If only. If only I could make the time to capture moments like this more frequently, rather than just sneaking them into tangentially-related blog posts like Jessica Seinfeld's vegetable brownies.
But oh, yeah, the book. Gatsby a la Richard Russo, if you transplant the title character from Roaring '20s Long Island to 21st-century