Sex, violence, evil, and betrayal -- the shocking murder case splashed across the Florida headlines has all the right elements for true-crime writer Marie Lightfoot's next bestseller. And tell the tale she does, in a book that reveals the secrets of a love affair gone fatally wrong. But there are disturbing twists, which leave Marie sensing in her gut that something does not jibe.
Twist number one: the accused is a man of the cloth, who has allegedly killed his wife in collusion with his lover. Twist number two: a pair of young girls find the body in an abandoned mansion, adding the death of innocence to the magnitude of the crime. Twist number three: a shattering conviction turns the case on its ear. And the ultimate blow: for the first time in her career, Marie fails to win the the killer's confidence during a jailhouse interview. Suddenly, she knows with certainty there ia more to the story than even she realized -- and her conscience won't let her rest.
Then an unexpected visitor -- a shock in itself for the reclusive writer -- confesses something that not even the police know. The revelation may he the missing piece in a terrifying puzzle -- evidence that teaches Marie a bone-chilling lesson as threatening danger slowly encircles her: to err is human, but underestimating the criminal mind can be deadly.
Nancy Pickard premiered gutsy Marie Lightfoot in the national bestseller The Whole Truth, and kicked off a thrilling new series with "an intriguing story, fascinatingly told" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Now, Pickard once again "pushes the presumed limits of [crime fiction]" (Los Angeles Times) as she sends this complex heroine into a jagged maze with one destination: the darkest realm of human nature.
The appearance of The Whole Truth a year ago jolted readers and thrilled critics. Pickard, a popular writer of conventional mysteries, took off on a risky, imaginative tangent, making her protagonist, Marie Lightfoot, an author of true crime books, and alternating Lightfoot's personal story with her work-in-progress. Now Lightfoot is back, and once again Pickard crafts a marvelous behind-the-scenes thriller. As the novel begins, Lightfoot is beginning to edit her latest true-crime thriller, set in her hometown, Bahia Beach, Fla. The tale she has to tell is riveting minister Bob Wing and his lover, Artie, murder the minister's wife, Susanna but Lightfoot can't shake the feeling that some crucial element is missing. Nobody has anything bad to say about the charismatic Wing, who was an anti-death penalty crusader. He is now on death row himself, right next to Steve Orbach, a young man he had been trying to liberate. Once Lightfoot begins to investigate, both cases are revealed to be full of holes. How to explain the seven pairs of wedding rings found by the two little girls when they discovered Susanna's body Is it possible that the police were too eager to arrest and convict both men The clock is ticking for Orbach and Wing, and the separate solutions to the mysteries only come to light at the very last minute. Cleverly unraveling Lightfoot's original manuscript as she proceeds, Pickard constructs an intricate, perfectly timed double mystery. The dastardly plot she reveals at last is satisfyingly grotesque, and Lightfoot is a down-to-earth heroine, plagued with all the convincing problems of a real-life writer. Pickard never lets her premise descend into gimmick this second installment is as fresh and satisfying as the first. Mystery Guild Main Selection. (June 5) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 29, 2001
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Excerpt from Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard
I'm Marie Lightfoot, or at least that's the name my publisher puts on the covers of the books I write about true crime. In classic "true crime" fashion, my latest one is titled Anything to Be Together. It's the tale of a murderous minister, the Reverend Robert F. Wing, who with his lover, Artemis McGregor, killed his wife, Susanna. Here's how it begins. This is the raw story that I am supposed to make you believe:
They were a matched pair: evil for evil, no holds barred. If the devil had split himself into male and female he could hardly have done a better job of creating two strands of a DNA for malevolence.
They felt their attraction instantaneously when they met.
It was easy to see, perfectly apparent to the only witness to their meeting.
As irresistibly as hydrogen bonds with oxygen, "like" attracted "like" that day in the church. But what did it really feel like, inside their bodies, the first time they saw each other? Did it pierce them like a knife? Did it jolt like electricity, shooting at light speed from their eyes to their breath, hearts, minds, groins? Or was it more subtle and delicate than that, more like a rare taste of something savory on their tongues? Was it love -- or lust -- at first sight? It looked that way to the church secretary who saw them meet. But what, precisely, did they see in each other at that moment that nobody else had ever seen?
Well, it is said that the devil knows his own. And her own. At a dark, submerged depth below the light of consciousness, they must have recognized each other. Lovers, twins, soul mates. Surely there was something ancient, wicked, and intimately familiar for each in the others eyes. Before long, they knew they would do anything to be together, even murder -- especially, and most deliciously, murder.