978-0-00-710025-5 / 9780007100255

Killing Grace


Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers Ltd



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About the book:

In books such as Bloody Instructions and Dead for a Ducat the talented Simon Shaw has been doing considerably more than carving out a nice line in Shakespearian titles. Marrying the cold-eyed psychological intensity of Ruth Rendell to a scalpel-sharp observation of the social scene, Shaw's speciality has been a series of elaborately choreographed danses macabres between his characters. In Killing Grace, he adds a new dimension to his devious art: the motives of his three central characters unfold in a continually disorientating fashion, constantly inviting the reader to think they have all the necessary bearings, only to throw the compass away.

The charismatic Lewis has an irresistible fascination for women, and, as he works as a builder, he is fully able to avail himself of the houses, beds and sexual charms of his clients' wives. But his pleasant philandering is starting to lose its charm: he has no money, and he's finding it more difficult to observe his primary rule--never get involved. But the captivating Julie forces him to break his code, and he is still seeing her long after he has finished the job on her house. Peter McGovern could not be more different. He's rich, and as unprepossessing as Lewis is attractive. But Julie is his wife, and when the two men meet by chance over a game of pool, all three lives will shortly be changed irrevocably. Mixed into this dangerous brew is the deceptively angelic Grace, whose fragile good looks conceal a ruthless sensibility and an acerbic tongue. When she becomes involved with both men, the outcome for one or more of the characters will have bloody consequences. Quite the most striking thing about Shaw's smoothly amoral tale is its dispassionate telling: Shaw never nudges the reader but guides us inexorably through a narrative that becomes ever more sinister. And however reptilian his characters, we remain transfixed. --Barry Forshaw

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