When British lieutenant Charles Acland returns home from Iraq, his serious head injuries are the outward manifestation of a profound inner change: he may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or it may be, as his psychiatrist suggests, the prolonged destruction of a personality.
Though previously well adjusted and known as an extrovert, Acland now withdraws into himself. As he begins his recovery in a dismal provincial hospital, crippled by migraines and suspicious of his doctors, he grows uncharacteristically aggressiveparticularly against women, and most particularly against his ex-fiancée. Finally, rejecting medical advice to undergo cosmetic surgeryopting, instead, to accept his disfigurementand cutting all ties to his former life, he moves to London. There, alone and unmonitored, he sinks into a quagmire of guilt and paranoiauntil an outburst of irrational, vicious anger brings him to the attention of the local police: they are investigating three recent murders, all of them apparently motivated by the kind of extreme rage that Acland has exhibited.
Now under suspicion, Acland is forced to confront the issues behind his desperate existence before its too late: Has he always been the duplicitous chameleon that his ex-fiancée accuses him of being? Can he control this newly apparent sinister side of his personality? And why, if he truly hates women, does he in the end seek help from a womansomeone as straightforward and self-disciplined as he is unsure and seemingly out of controlto repair the damage to his mind?
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"Surprisingly, Jackson is also one of the few convincing characters in this plot-propelled tale, a flaw readers may be willing to ignoreuntil they slam into a contrived denouement well below Walterss usual standard." - Publishers Weekly.
"Starred Review. Charles's suspicions spread to the reader, who soon wonders if anyone is as he or she seems in this solid thriller. Strongly recommended for all fiction collections." - Library Journal.
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Minette Walters is the author of several novels, two novellas, and a number of short stories.
Her first novel, The Ice House, was published in 1992. It took two and a half years to write and was rejected by numerous publishing houses until Maria Rejt, Macmillan Publishers, bought it for £1250. Within four months, it had won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey award for best first novel and had been snapped up by 11 foreign publishers. With her next two books, The Sculptress and The Scold's Bridle, Walters won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award and the CWA Gold Dagger respectively, giving her a unique treble. She was the first crime/thriller writer to win three major prizes with her first three books.
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