Synopses & Reviews
Ivy Seidel dreams of becoming a writer, a great American novelist. But running low on money and concerned that her writing might lack a depth and darkness, she takes a job teaching creative writing at a maximum-security prison. It is a world she has never experienced before, one ruled by enigmatic codes of honor, ceaseless aggression and absolutely savage violence.
But one of the prisoners there is unlike any of the others, and unlike any man she has ever met before. Vance Harrow is unique. He is soft-spoken, charismatic and brilliantly talented. Two things trouble Ivy deeply. First, she suspects that Harrow shouldn't be in prison at all. He possesses an intellect that separates him from the other inmates and a selflessness that might just get him killed. Second, he has at the same time deep reservoirs of rage and brutality that seem perfectly in line with the other prisoners a dichotomy Ivy finds difficult to reconcile.
Trying to understand the complex picture, perhaps even get some recognition for a writer as gifted as Harrow seems to be, Ivy begins to ask questions. How did such a man end up in prison in the first place? Is he truly guilty? If not, who could have been responsible for putting him there, and why hasn't he tried harder to free himself? But the more questions Ivy asks to free a man she believes to be innocent, the more attention she draws to herself. Soon other people begin to ask questions about Ivy Seidel.
In the span of just a few days, Ivy's life will be completely turned upside down. What begins as an inquiry into one man's innocence may explode into a love affair, and what begins as an obsession to save one man's life might just end up costing Ivy her own.
"Abrahams (Oblivion) solidifies his reputation as one of the best contemporary thriller writers around with this psychologically deep page-turner evoking the classic noir of Cornell Woolrich. Ivy Seidel, a struggling would-be writer paying the bills by working in a New York City bar, finds herself drawn into an unfamiliar world when she's offered the chance to teach writing at an upstate prison. The nave teacher is startled to find that one of her students, convicted robber Vance Harrow, is actually more gifted than she is. Unable to believe that he could be both guilty and such a creative talent, Seidel begins to pick at the stray loose threads surrounding his case despite Harrow's having pleaded guilty to the violent crime. Abrahams manages to make each individual step that his heroine takes into the twisted maze believable, even if it's clear that she's rapidly approaching a precipice that will threaten her life and her mental state. In 2005, Abrahams published his first children's novel, Down the Rabbit Hole." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Peter Abrahams is one of those writers you tell your friends about....[L]iterate, suspenseful fun....The novel is a delight and, if you haven't discovered Abrahams, a fine place to start, despite an ending as unnerving as it is abrupt." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World
"Hip, crisp dialogue and swift prose rife with apt, unflashy literary allusions; a credibly brilliant and likable heroine; an effectively chilling behind-bars mise en scene; and a firecracker plot all add up to a very cool, smart thriller." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] slow build, relying more on psychological traps than harrowing escapes, but by the end, it's almost physically impossible to stop turning pages. Abrahams' prose, cool and vivid, keeps the focus exactly where it should be: on the story." Booklist
"Abrahams's latest...affirms his position as one of the leading authors in the psychological suspense genre. His writing displays a wonderful combination of intensity and compassion blended with a silky delivery from start to finish. Recommended." Library Journal
"A stickler for realistic detail, Abrahams writes prison scenes that can curl your toes, but nothing captures the brutality of the life more expressively than the material turned out by Ivy's class." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
An ambitious young woman who hopes to give up her bartending job to become a successful writer, Ivy Seidel falls under the spell of Vance Harrow, convicted for a terrible crime, while teaching writing to inmates at an upstate maximum security prison, but when she begins to investigate Harrow's past in an attempt to clear his name, her own life will never be the same. Reprint.
While teaching writing skills to prison inmates, Ivy Seidel discovers that Vance Harrow, convicted of a terrible crime, shows tremendous talent. Ivy sets out to investigate his past and to correct an injustice, but someone doesn't want the past disturbed.
Aspiring author Ivy Seidel accepts a part-time position teaching writing to a group of convicted criminals hoping the experience will add depth and darkness to her own work.
But in the haunting writings of charismatic inmate Vance Harrow she discovers a talent possibly greater than her own. And in the startling, disturbing stories Harrow has to tell, Ivy finds a dangerous new purpose—and a terrifying temptation that lures her into an inescapable world of shadows.
About the Author
Peter Abrahams is the bestselling author of Down the Rabbit Hole, Oblivion, The Fan, and Lights Out, for which he received an Edgar Award nomination. Mr. Abrahams makes his home in Falmouth, Massachusetts, with his wife and children.