I just finished reading Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan, and I’m still decompressing.
I have a hard time imagining how this book can ever succeed commercially. But I sure hope it does.
As the story begins, the hero/narrator, Jason Harrow, a journalist turned realtor, is sitting in the back yard of his Midwestern home, watching his children play. He’s thinking about a girl who worked at his office, who’d made a pass at him. He didn’t take her up on it, but he can’t avoid a (purely hormonal) wistful feeling. Shortly thereafter he’s joined by his wife, and it’s obvious that they have an excellent relationship. She trusts him, and he deserves her trust.
Jason is being entirely honest with the reader. And that’s sort of the point of the whole book. He’s telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even to his cost.
From the very beginning, references and turns of phrase warn us that he’s going to go through a terrible test; that he’s going to become famous, and not necessarily in a good way.
Jason goes inside the house to answer the phone, and (as so often happens in stories of this sort) the caller is a voice from his past. It’s Lauren, the woman he lived with in another life, when he resided in Manhattan, thought he was an intellectual, and was part of a very kinky sex “scene.” Jason is a Christian today. He’s turned his back on all that.
But when he agrees to go to New York to help Lauren out with a problem with her daughter, he doesn’t tell his wife about it. He has to go anyway, because his mother recently died and he needs to empty out her house. He doesn’t plan to break his marital vows. But his motives aren’t entirely pure, and he can’t bring himself to bring it into the open.
When he sees Lauren, he’s somewhat relieved to find that she’s changed. He no longer finds her attractive. But she talks him into looking for her daughter Serena, who has disappeared.
He finds the girl, sick drunk, in a night club and takes her to his mother’s house when he finds that Lauren isn’t at home. The girl is raving, and one of the things she says is, “I didn’t know they were going to kill him.” Continue reading Empire of Lies, by Andrew Klavan