The Interloper

Antoine Wilson, Author
Antoine Wilson, Author . Other Press/Handse $13.95 (260p) ISBN 978-1-59051-263-0
Reviewed on: 03/19/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
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In Wilson's pleasantly creepy debut novel, Owen Patterson, a Southern California software manual writer, believes that the "soil" of his marriage has been "poisoned" by the aftereffects of his brother-in-law's murder. The killer, Henry Joseph Raven, murdered CJ while Owen and Patty were on their honeymoon. Raven received a "twenty-odd-year" sentence, but Patty and her parents, a year later, are still in mourning. Owen, meanwhile, comes up with a convoluted plan for revenge: he creates alter ego Lily Hazelton, a lovelorn teacher's aide whose identity is a morass of tortured bits from Owen's past—chiefly his infatuation with now-dead cousin (and first love and sexual partner) Eileen—and writes to Raven in prison. Though the plan is never quite concrete, Owen aims to use Lily to seduce Raven through an exchange of letters, and then deny him the object of his desire, thus destroying Raven as CJ was destroyed. But as Owen gets more involved, it becomes apparent the scheme has more to do with Eileen than CJ. Though the plot takes some predictable turns as Owen's obsession darkens and the James Cain–style ending is telegraphed from the opening pages, the pathos, delusion and hope festering within Owen will carry readers through. (May)

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