Meet Edward Rollins, scion of one of Boston's more notable families. A diligent but uninspired employee at one of the city's finest investment houses, he is a man of means -- and of secrets. Each night, armed with a hand-held tape recorder, he randomly picks a car and follows it to a destination, cataloging the habits and peculiarities of its driver. A harmless obsession.
But one night changes everything. Trailing a car to a remote suburb, Rollins follows it to a house that, he eerily realizes, was once frequented by his murdered cousin. Drawn into a mystery to which he unwittingly holds the key, he must unlock the secrets of his past to find the truth -- a search that could free him from his own dark house of despair.
A harrowing, tension-riddled literary thriller that echoes the storytelling power of Frederick Busch and Ian McEwan, The Dark House heralds the arrival of a major talent.
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October 02, 2001
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Excerpt from The Dark House by John Sedgwick
"Eleven thirty-eight P.M.," Rollins said quietly into the tiny Panasonic in his palm. "North on 93, just past Exit 32. The Audi's two cars up, holding steady at" -- he glanced down at the speedometer -- "about fifty-seven, fifty-eight miles an hour." The Audi was navy blue, or possibly black, with green-on-white Massachusetts plates. Rollins put the tape recorder down by the newspaper on the passenger seat of his Nissan. As far as he could tell, the Audi was occupied only by the driver, who was thin and fiftyish and had a look of concentration that was unusual for this time of night. Because the man was wearing a suit coat and unfashionable glasses, Rollins at first had guessed banking. Then he spotted an umbrella on the rear dash, and he reconsidered. Insurance? After all, the forecast had said nothing of rain, just the endless steam heat so typical for Boston in late July.
The trees were set well back from the raised highway, opening up a wide night sky. A blurry moon rose through the glass by his left shoulder. Before him, the asphalt gleamed like open water. As Rollins followed along, he knew enough to keep out of the Audi's rearview mirrors, both center and side. He was sensitive that way, almost as if his skin were allergic to another's sight. He stayed well back, and one lane over, to make it clear that he just happened to be traveling this road tonight. His slim hands curled lightly on the wheel, Rollins was ready to move when the Audi moved. It was a kind of dance, Rollins supposed. A dance with a shadow.
On a pursuit, Rollins never flipped on talk radio or whistled, as he might do at other times -- when he was staring at the stock prices floating across the bottom of his computer screen at the office, say, or sitting in the big chair by the phone in his apartment. He didn't want to break the mood of the evening by cutting the white noise that enveloped him. He was comforted by the steady drone of his engine, the wavelike rush of passing cars, the buzz of the tires on the asphalt, the whoosh of humid air from the vents. Inside the Nissan, he felt snug as an astronaut, tidily enclosed in his bubble of glass and steel. But keyed up, too, on the cusp of a new adventure.