Synopses & Reviews
A haunting and sophisticated debut in which priceless art and unspeakable desires converge.
French ex-pat Tristan Mourault is the wealthy, urbane heir to a world- renowned collection of art-and an insatiable voyeur enamored with Karen Miller, a fifteen-year-old girl from a working-class family in San Francisco. Deciding he must "rescue" Karen from her unhappy circumstances, Tristan kidnaps her and stages her death to mask his true crime.
Years later, Karen is now "Gisele" and the pair lead an opulent life in idyllic and rarefied Devon, Washington. But when Nicola, Gisele's young daughter, stumbles upon a secret cache of paintings-all nudes of Gisele-Tristan's carefully constructed world begins to crumble. As Nicola grapples with the tragedy that follows, she crosses paths with Amanda Miller, who comes to Devon to investigate the portraits' uncanny resemblance to her long-lost sister.
Set against a byzantine backdrop of greed, artifice, and dangerous manipulations, In Malice, Quite Close is an intoxicating debut that keeps its darkest secrets until the very last page.
"Told in turns by nearly all of its sexy, artistic, and obsessive characters, this byzantine debut stretches narrative to the breaking point. Tristan Mourault III, a rich, French Humbert Humbert-figure, becomes desperately infatuated with a middle-class American teen named Karen Miller, and the two fake her death and run off, with her posing as his daughter, Gisele; after a time living together in New York, they move to an artists' colony in Devon, Wash., at the invitation of the charismatic artist Robin Dresden. Gisele marries Luke Farrell, merely a pawn in Tristan's game, and has a beautiful daughter, Nicola. Of course, before long, Gisele wants out of her cage, so she takes other lovers and, through a series of convenient coincidences that involve blackmail and murder, Gisele's past re-emerges, and her long-lost sister, Amanda, now living in Seattle, happens to have some impossibly close and fraught connections with Tristan's milieu. The narrative winds itself into hysterical knots as revelations and twists pile up, sometimes more than a bit implausibly. Though Ryder gets credit for audacious puzzle building, the plot is more exhausting than enlightening; indeed, though it's a page-turner, it doesn't reach the dizzying literary heights it reaches for. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A sophisticated mystery debut in which priceless art and unspeakable desires converge
When French expatriate Tristan Mourault becomes enamored with fifteen-year-old Karen Miller, he "rescues" her from her working-class circumstances and stages her death to mask his true crime. Years later, Karen is now "Gisèle" and lives with Tristan in rarefied Devon, Washington. She has married another man to keep up appearances, but when her daughter stumbles upon a secret cache of paintings—all nudes of Gisèle—Tristan's carefully curated world begins to crumble. Set against a byzantine backdrop of greed, artifice, and manipulation—with tantalizing echoes of Lolita—In Malice, Quite Close keeps its most devastating secrets right up until the very last page.
About the Author
Brandi Lynn Ryder lives in the heart of Napa Valley. In Malice, Quite Close is her first novel.