Suicidal Tendencies
by Patrick M. Garry
Publish America

"There was a story to the trial, he might have said. About uncertainty: about not knowing what little missteps would later have such monumental consequences."

A man awaits the jury's verdict. The case seems implausible, the evidence is circumstantial, but juries are unpredictable. Luke is in jeopardy.

The action alternates between the present of the courthouse and a revealing series of flashbacks to both recent and distant history. The upwardly mobile Luke has come a long way from the house by his father's junkyard and his brother's brushes with the law. He has a job with a good public face, but with a seedy side of granted and owed favors. The likeable Luke is engaged to a woman with good social connections. His relationship with his fiancée is amiable but lacks passion. His adulterous relationship with a neighbor is passionate but lacks affection. His lover's husband appears on the brink of suicide, and Luke finds himself simultaneously counseling and deceiving him.

While the jury deliberates, the plot unfolds and more of Luke's history is revealed. He is not as likeable as he'd have people think. It turns out that he is used to secrets and has a few more of his own. The crime is gradually revealed through uncovered evidence, which may indeed be circumstantial but nonetheless fits a pattern.

This book is set in the wings of a courtroom drama and on the outskirts of a novel of society. It is an intense, well structured character study delivered in clear language. The themes of memories, betrayals, secrets, and lies are explored with clarity, and Mr. Garry expertly peels back Luke's layers of pretence and secrecy to reveal, au fond, a soul in need of redemption.

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