Review by Aaron Paul Lazar
Title: Private Lies
Author: Warren Adler
Publisher: Stonehouse Press (2004)
Paperback: 344 pages
Price: Kindle eBook: $2.99; Paperback: $19.95
Publisher website address: http://www.warrenadler.com/aboutstonehouse.shtml
PRIVATE LIES is a mesmerizing read, starting with the powerful voice of Ken Kramer in the opening pages. I’m not going to provide a detailed plot summary, other than to say that this novel is a commanding glimpse into the minds of four very distinct characters. Mr. Adler rotates between these points of view, from a dispirited writer who has lost his dream and now settles for a job writing ads (Ken), to his long ago ballerina lover with whom he parted ways twenty years earlier and who he now runs into by a pure twist of fate (Carol), to his loving and enthusiastic wife, a virtual “earth mother,” who has organized his life and bore him two children (Maggie), to the final corner of this very odd rhombus, a self-engrossed, gourmand who’s always touting his latest “cause” and who can talk the best dinner partners under the table (Eliot).
One is immediately plunged into mystery and suspense when the story opens with a chance meeting between Ken, his wife Maggie, her new client Eliot, and his spouse, Carol. Ken knows she’s Carol—his past lover—yet she doesn’t acknowledge him. Not a glance, no eye contact, no conversation. Ken spends the whole evening wonder if this ethereal, swan-necked, divine creature is really the woman with whom he spent months of hot passion two decades ago. He’s positive it’s her; but why does she pretend not to know him?
Little by little, delicious secrets are unveiled. We discover Carol’s past, which I won’t divulge here, and finally get a peak into her mind.
I expected the story would stay in New York, set in apartments and coffee shops and restaurants, when suddenly the plot twists and we are airlifted to Africa!
The contrast between the scenes in the dark, dirty city to Africa are vibrantly divergent. Africa—land of the parching sun, torrential downpours, rare danger, and raw resplendent beauty—invades the minds of the quartet by unleashing inner urges, some not so pretty. The land influences and entices, invades sensible thoughts and tempts all four to go where they hadn’t dared before.
If it seems like I’m being cryptic here, I am. I don’t want to spoil the plot.
There are several twists in this story that made me stand up and applaud. Well done, Mr. Adler! It was these twists that grabbed my attention and made me love the book even more. As they should, secrets are unveiled and the plot runs wild with surprises coming in more frequent waves toward the end. Most satisfying.
I would recommend this book for adults only, particularly those who aren’t shy about reading delicately described sexual encounters. These tastefully drawn passages of great passion were evocative and sensual, adding to the texture of this finely woven literary tapestry. As in THE DAVID EMBRACE, Mr. Adler writes voluptuous and fiery passages when it comes to passion in the bedroom, or in the mind.
I’ve heard that PRIVATE LIES was up for a movie, and that was one of my first thoughts when I finished it. “What a great movie PRIVATE LIES would make!” I do hope that Hollywood grabs hold of this one and runs with it.
I highly recommend PRIVATE LIES for the thinking man or woman, and for those who enjoy diabolical, twisty plots and lush scenery.
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, FOR KEEPS (MAY 2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (APRIL 2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (JUNE 2012).