Sunday, April 2, 2017
Review: THE BOOK OF MIRRORS
Reviewed by Craig Sisterson
When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued. The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder. One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.
Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime. But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried.
Bestselling Romanian author Eugen Chirovici's first book in English is a fascinating thriller about the malleability of memory, that reads like entering the classic carnival hall of mirrors, where everything is distorted, shifting based on where you're looking from.
Twenty seven years after a Princeton psychology professor is brutally murdered, top New York literary agent Peter Katz receives an intriguing query, complete with partial manuscript, claiming to reveal the truth behind the unsolved crime. Is it a confession, or an accusation? Can Katz believe what the author has written in the pages? What will the rest of the manuscript reveal?
THE BOOK OF MIRRORS is told in three parts, from three different characters' perspectives. Each picks up the tale and moves it forward, while also muddying the waters that have gone before.
Chirovici crochets together a tale that leaves readers’ minds whirring, trying to find an anchor of truth among surging tides of shifting perceptions, self-serving lies, evasions, and false memories. It's a book that is easy to get drawn into, and a quick, smooth read. At times I found myself feeling like I was admiring it from afar, a semi-detached observer rather than fully caring about the characters or what had happened. Intrigued intellectually more than invested emotionally.
Overall, THE BOOK OF MIRRORS is a fine tale that's a good read, a cleverly constructed thriller that is more about character and memory than definitively solving whodunit.
Craig Sisterson is a lapsed lawyer who writes features for leading magazines and newspapers in several countries. He has interviewed more than 180 crime writers, discussed crime writing onstage at arts and literary festivals in Europe and Australasia, on national radio, has been a judge of the Ned Kelly Awards, and is the Judging Convenor of the Ngaio Marsh Awards. You can follow him on Twitter: @craigsisterson