TANGLED LIES

In Osborne’s thriller, Vera Moon discovers her grown son, Charlie, on a blood-stained mattress in the apartment they share. She forces “her gaze away from his. Only then she saw the rest of his body, two feet away, severed from his head.” Months later, the police haven’t found Charlie’s killer. Vera considers contacting the Black Lives Matter movement for help, but her daughter Liza’s “whiter-than-white” ex-husband, Sam, reminds her, “The police didn’t kill Charlie and there’s no evidence his ethnicity played a role.” Charlie was having an affair with Erika Smith, who is White, married, and, in Vera’s opinion, “devoid of a moral compass.” Charlie, a freelance photographer, also was doing some sort of business with Erika’s husband, Griff. After Vera and Liza are hurt in a multicar hit-and-run accident, Erika reveals Griff was a passenger in another vehicle in the same wreck. She suggests someone arranged to hurt her husband and Vera because of “something illegal” Charlie and Griff were involved in. Dani, a troubled, 25-year-old “Black-Irish” woman who witnessed the wreck, believes that it was indeed intentional. She helps Vera at the scene of the accident and visits her afterward in the hospital. The two women eventually form a bond, regardless of the differences in their ages, races, and temperaments, and team up to try to uncover Charlie’s killer. In this engrossing novel, Osborne excels at characterization. A macho friend of Dani’s, for example, is the type to carry, not roll, a wheeled suitcase. And main character Vera acknowledges she has “failed at so many things—wife, mother, grandmother, businesswoman.” Although there is violence—the book, after all, starts with a decapitation—there is also humor. When Erika tells Vera she weighs 110 pounds, the protagonist flatly responds: “One hundred and twenty.” Pacing, dialogue, intrigue, and attention to detail are all first-rate.

TANGLED LIES
In Osborne’s thriller, Vera Moon discovers her grown son, Charlie, on a blood-stained mattress in the apartment they share. She forces “her gaze away from his. Only then she saw the rest of his body, two feet away, severed from his head.” Months later, the police haven’t found Charlie’s killer. Vera considers contacting the Black Lives Matter movement for help, but her daughter Liza’s “whiter-than-white” ex-husband, Sam, reminds her, “The police didn’t kill Charlie and there’s no evidence his ethnicity played a role.” Charlie was having an affair with Erika Smith, who is White, married, and, in Vera’s opinion, “devoid of a moral compass.” Charlie, a freelance photographer, also was doing some sort of business with Erika’s husband, Griff. After Vera and Liza are hurt in a multicar hit-and-run accident, Erika reveals Griff was a passenger in another vehicle in the same wreck. She suggests someone arranged to hurt her husband and Vera because of “something illegal” Charlie and Griff were involved in. Dani, a troubled, 25-year-old “Black-Irish” woman who witnessed the wreck, believes that it was indeed intentional. She helps Vera at the scene of the accident and visits her afterward in the hospital. The two women eventually form a bond, regardless of the differences in their ages, races, and temperaments, and team up to try to uncover Charlie’s killer. In this engrossing novel, Osborne excels at characterization. A macho friend of Dani’s, for example, is the type to carry, not roll, a wheeled suitcase. And main character Vera acknowledges she has “failed at so many things—wife, mother, grandmother, businesswoman.” Although there is violence—the book, after all, starts with a decapitation—there is also humor. When Erika tells Vera she weighs 110 pounds, the protagonist flatly responds: “One hundred and twenty.” Pacing, dialogue, intrigue, and attention to detail are all first-rate.