Picks and Pans Review: Death of a Writer

updated 09/11/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/11/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Michael Collins

This wonderfully creepy murder mystery opens with the botched suicide of Pendleton, a failed writer and professor about to lose tenure. Years ago he self-published a novel about a murderous madman and his teenaged victim; Adi, a grad student, discovers the novel and recognizes it as a masterpiece. With Adi's help the novel garners renewed interest and critical acclaim. But Adi—and a detective whose interest in the case is more than professional—begins to wonder if Pendleton was the murderer described in the book. More crimes are committed as lines of intent, culpability, guilt and atonement cross and re-cross in an intellectually vigorous, emotionally bracing read.

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