Smart and taut --, March 14, 2010 4 stars
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This was a very fast-paced suspense thriller that grabbed me from the opening pages and didn't let go until I read the final chapter a few hours later. I could not put the book down!
The characters are believable, unique, and interesting. The prose is incredibly clever and the narrative moves along quickly as the tension builds. Although the reader is not quite sure what exactly is going to happen, it's obvious that it's going to be huge, messy and dramatic! Although he has no way to know it, Joseph Geist makes a bad decision the day he answers an ad placed in the Harvard Crimson to apply for a position that asks him to be a conversationalist. He's down on his luck as he's just been terminated from the PhD program where he's been halfheartedly attempting, for about 8 years, to write his dissertation for philosophy and has been kicked out of his girlfriend's apartment. How much trouble can a guy get into just talking with this very nice, intelligent 80 year old woman who lives in this incredible house and asks nothing more than a couple of hours of good debate every day -- and is willing to pay him for it?!
As the two become close, other elements and events that occur start to ratchet up the sense of dread that something BAD is going to happen -- and the plot thickens! This author really knows how to turn a phrase and the inclusion of many different philosophical tenets and theories adds another interesting dimension to the story.
I liked this one -- recommended for a discriminating suspense lover who likes a smart and tightly drawn novel that is quite original.