Tabloid-style sensationalism meshes with the literary device of an unreliable narrator in this brooding legal thriller hinging on alleged paternal incest and verifiable murder. Narrator Georgie Hillman lives with her husband, the once-promising sculptor Tim Hillman, on an idyllic island community off the New England coast, where they enjoy nearly godlike status as a model couple. When Zeke, the Hillman's three-year-old son, dies of cancer, Georgie, grief-stricken after her lengthy vigil at the hospital, resumes her place in the home only to discover that Tim has mysteriously alienated the affection of eight-year-old Sarah. Heartbroken and confused, Georgie stumbles-or says she does-across a portfolio of shocking photographs showing Tim and Sarah engaged in incestuous acts. Outraged, Georgie coldly puts a bullet in Tim's head while he is asleep. Devastated by the tragedy, Sarah rejects her mother. The nearly catatonic Georgie is defended by a notoriously flamboyant womens' rights lawyer, who argues that Georgie was acting in self-defense by proxy for her helpless daughter. Scott manages to work on several levels at once, portraying petty small-town jealousies, and, especially, the way love can color or obscure the truth. As the trial unfolds, the question of Georgie's competence to determine what really happened-and ultimately the question of whether she is telling the truth-enthralls the reader until the final word. (July)
Georgie and Timothy Hillman led an idyllic life among the well-heeled country-club set on Amity, an island off the New England coast, until one early summer evening when Georgie blew out Timothy's brains while he was sleeping. Needless to say, her friends wish nothing more to do with her, especially after her defense lawyer portrays the murder as the heroic act of a woman trying to protect her daughter, Sarah, from further paternal sexual abuse. Scott, a best-selling author writing here under a pseudonym, creates a lively and suspenseful story that weaves back and forth between Georgie's incarceration during the trial and the family tragedies leading up to the shooting. Recommended for public libraries.-Heather Blenkinsopp, Mercy Coll. Lib., Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.