The Promise of a Lieby Howard Roughan
Howard Roughan's debut, The Up and Comer, was hailed as one of the most hip and entertaining thrillers of the year. Now Roughan returns at full stride with a scintillating novel of deception that begins when a gifted young psychologist becomes entangled in the life of a beautiful and calculating patient. Nothing can prepare Dr. David Remler for the shocking phone call he receives from a patient named Samantha Kent. Stunned and anxious to help, he rushes out into the Manhattan night to keep a bloody act of violence from spinning further out of control. He knows he is too involved, that he's crossed a line, and that his professional reputation is at stake. But he has no idea what awaits him at his destination...that he's become a pawn in a very deadly game of revenge. Suddenly the focus of a criminal case that flares into an out-of-control media circus, David has only one shot to clear his name. But first he has to clear up the mystery of his patient, - Samantha Kent. Just who is she? And why did she choose to involve David? Little by little, the outlines of a brilliant plot emerge - and, with it, the horrifying power of a single lie - In this richly textured tale of a man's battle against the mother of all manipulations, the perfect setup is even more diabolical than it looks.
- Grand Central Publishing
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 604 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
The Promise of A Lie
By Howard Roughan
Warner BooksCopyright © 2004 Howard Roughan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTo be perfectly blunt and unprofessional, my lineup that day read like the maladjusted all-star team of Manhattan. My nine o'clock was a bulimic, twice-divorced executive who was having an affair with her married boss.
My ten o'clock was a guilt-ridden kleptomaniac who could never keep what he stole. He was always revisiting stores in order to put things back.
Then came my eleven o'clock. So to speak. A sexually compulsive cellist who, among other things, liked to masturbate in the backseat of cabs. I suppose it goes without saying that she lived well beyond walking distance to my office. A couple of hours for lunch and paperwork, and it was time to reload.
Two o'clock: a soap-opera actor who could no longer distinguish between himself and the character he played. Next up was my three o'clock. On second thought, don't get me started on my three o'clock. Finally, there was my last patient of the day. My four o'clock. The main reason I remember that day at all.
His name was Kevin Daniels. A struggling young writer who'd written seven spec screenplays and had yet to sell any of them. Unable to drop the word aspiring from his desired profession, Kevin's frustration had manifested in a deep and bitter hatred of the very people he so much wanted to impress. To Kevin, Hollywood wasn't just populated by mere assholes or idiots. Rather it was infested with, and I quote, culturally retarded wayward whores destined to make feel-good-movie johns out of all of us. End quote.
I could only imagine how his screenplays read. But on this particular afternoon, an overcast Thursday in the middle of October, Kevin arrived at my office with an uncharacteristic smile. He professed to having significant news.
"I've had a moment of intense clarity, an epiphany," he said. He leaned forward and lowered his voice to a whisper. "I need to be in the belly of the beast." He stopped and stared at me. "So you-"
"That's right." He plowed on. "I'm moving, David. I'm going to Hollywood." "The belly of the beast, as you say." "You got it." "To fight the battle from within." "Exactly," he said.
I nodded, my face giving away nothing. "Are you sure this is a move you want to make?"
"Not only am I sure, I've practically already done it, "came his answer." I flew out there last weekend and rented a place in Hollywood Hills. I'll be heading back there for good the day after tomorrow."
"You're not wasting any time, are you?" "Not if I can help it." "Have you told your parents?" I asked. "They cosigned on the new apartment." "I take it that means they approve?"
"I wouldn't go that far," said Kevin, his palms raised. "My parents know they can't stop me, so they haven't bothered to try. What about you, though, David? Do you approve of my moving?" I cautioned myself. Much about psychotherapy, or at least the way I approached it, was predicated on the belief that an opinion should never do more harm than good. My job was not to ferret out right from wrong in any absolute sense. Only what was right or wrong for a particular patient.
Kevin was waiting for my answer. "Do I approve of your moving?" I said slowly. "To be honest, I'm not sure my thoughts have anything to do with approving or disapproving. The important thing-and this is something you and I have been talking about for quite some time-is that no one has more control over your life than you do. While that fact alone won't guarantee you success, it will guarantee you the right to make your own decisions. For better or worse." "In other words, fuck anyone who disapproves," said Kevin. "More or less."
He shrugged. "I can live with that." After looking at each other in silence for a few seconds, we both realized that continuing to talk merely because we had time left in the hour would be silly. Kevin told me I should still charge him for a full session. "No, this one's on the house," I said. "Really?"
"Sure. Buy two hundred, get one free." He laughed and we shook hands. I wished him luck. After taking a few steps toward the door, Kevin turned and looked back.
"The belly of the beast," he said. "That's where you can find me." Then he left.
And that's how it came to be. Why I remember that day so well. I'd told Kevin what I'd been telling him repeatedly over four years: that no one can have more control over your life than you do. It was pretty good advice, I thought. Too bad it was wrong.
I know this because Kevin's leaving created an opening in my schedule ... and the person who filled it was going to be all the proof I needed.
Excerpted from The Promise of A Lie by Howard Roughan Copyright © 2004 by Howard Roughan. Excerpted by permission.
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I enjoyed this book. There were few dull spots and many twists that surprised me! The time frame passed quickly from murder to trial to murder and then to the murderers themselves. The hero of the story was appealing but not terribly smart. His missteps were predictable and of course necessary for the development of the plot. (Which can be exasperating and not very believable.) But all in all, a good, fast read.
I picked this book up on a whim and I physically could NOT put it down. Truly captivating. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys suspense thrillers. Fabulous !!
After about two or three chapters I almost gave up on this book. I am so glad I didn't because it is awesome. So full of suspense. You should read it!
This is an excellent book. One of those books that, once you start, you can't wait to find out what happens so you sit and read until you finish. I look forward to the next book by Howard Roughan.