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Speak Softly, She Can Hear: A Novelby Pam Lewis
Synopses & Reviews
New York City, 1965: At Spence, the exclusive Manhattan girls' school, shy, overweight scholarship student Carole finds herself drawn into an unlikely friendship with charismatic, pedigreed Naomi. On a dare, Carole and Naomi make a pact to lose their virginity before graduation. Enter Eddie, a slick Upper East Side prep school dropout, expelled from a half-dozen private schools on the East Coast. Eddie is handsome, fatally charming, and more than willing to help the girls accomplish their goal. But something about him is not quite right — his overly familiar way with Naomi, his hair-trigger temper, the stories that just don't add up — and on one bitterly cold holiday weekend in an isolated cabin deep in the Vermont woods, a horrifying twist develops in the girls' plan. Before the night is over, a stomach-turning secret is sealed between friends, setting in motion a series of events that will have dire and far-reaching consequences.
Sweeping across decades, moving from New York to Vermont to California and back again, Lewis tells an utterly gripping, psychologically nuanced tale of friendship between two very different women, of the life-changing burden of a secret, the lies we tell others to save ourselves, and the lies we tell ourselves when the truth is too painful to accept.
"Blurbed by Wally Lamb as 'a sexy and suspenseful psychological thriller,' Lewis's debut opens with shy, overweight New York City schoolgirl Carole Mason heading to a Vermont cabin, where she intends to lose her virginity to handsome but venal Eddie Lindbaeck. Soon after she does, Eddie's friend Rita shows up for a threesome. When a bout of rough sex leaves Rita dead, Eddie convinces the drunken Carole that she broke Rita's neck. Carole's best friend, Naomi, arrives at the cabin, and the three of them dump Rita's body in a snowdrift, swearing to never reveal what has happened. The reader knows (if Carole doesn't) that Eddie and Naomi will use this secret to make her life a living hell. Eddie demands that Carole give him stolen presents, extorts money from her and seduces her mother. Carole responds by leaving college and starting a new life as a waitress in Manhattan. Eddie finds her, and she runs again, and again, winding up in Vermont not far from where they buried Rita years before. Eddie and Naomi turn up and cause more trouble until a final confrontation settles the matter once and for all. There aren't many surprises, but this is well-written and gripping enough that readers will stay up late to see whether beleaguered, tortured Carole can free herself from the despicable Eddie. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. 125,000 first printing; 10-city author tour. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Lewis, in her debut novel, tells an engrossing tale of an unlikely friendship, the burden of keeping secrets, and the insidiousness of lies." Booklist
"Nicely written first effort, though the sensational plot often undercuts what might have been a sophisticated take on the murder-mystery genre." Kirkus Reviews
"The very first chapter of Speak Softly, She Can Hear fires an electric charge that sent me racing through this sexy and suspenseful psychological thriller. Pam Lewis is a sly and sure-footed storyteller whose literary tale of treachery, deception, and truth sits comfortably alongside Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley." Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
"Pam Lewis will keep you guessing, she'll keep you up late at night, but most of all, she will bring you back to the friendships and betrayals of your past. Smart, clever, and emotionally involving. You'll never feel the same way about keeping a secret." Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Tenth Justice and The Zero Game
"The magnificence of Lewis's plotting here cannot be understated....Lewis has created a haunting work that does not comfortably fit into any particular genre but that easily can be embraced by several....Recommended." BookReporter.com
A violent secret between friends fuels this brilliantly crafted novel of literary suspense — the major debut of an exceptional writer.
About the Author
Pam Lewis's short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and other literary publications. She lives in Storrs, Connecticut. This is her first novel.
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