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Whispers and Lies


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An ending worthy of Hitchcock rewards readers able to weather the false clues and emotional angst of Fielding's latest page-turner. Once again, the bestselling author (Grand Avenue; The First Time; Missing Pieces; etc.) tests the complex ties that bind friends and family, and keeps readers wondering when those same ties might turn deadly. Since Terry Painter's mother died five years before, the single 40-year-old nurse has been renting out the cottage behind her Florida home. When an appealing young woman calling herself Alison Simms arrives from out of town, Terry offers her not only the cottage but also her friendship. Alison pries into Terry's personal belongings, brings home rude young men, tells lies about her job and family and pops up everywhere unexpectedly and uninvited, while Terry's inner critic, in a voice sounding much like her mother's, fuels her suspicions. Threatening phone calls from a man who seems to know a lot about Terry and the tenant who occupied the cottage before Alison add to her growing paranoia. Despite these worries, Terry finds time to get involved with the son of one of her patients, an elderly woman named Myra. Careless, friendly Alison and responsible, guarded Terry are a study in contrasts, but as the novel progresses, Fielding makes it clear that they both have secrets to hide. The brutal denouement will shake readers lulled by the tale's cozy trappings, but those familiar with Patricia Highsmith's particular brand of sinister storytelling will recognize the mayhem Fielding so cunningly unleashes. 7-city author tour. (Aug. 13) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Geriatric nurse Terry Painter relates this story of her suspiciously sweet young tenant, Alison Simms, the cheerful, effervescent renter of her backyard cottage. Although Terry is compelled to like this adoring newcomer, catching her in lies and vagaries makes her suspicious of Alison's true motives. When Alison's sullen brother slinks in for a prolonged visit, the siblings increasingly appear to be in cahoots against Terry, whose modest life and belongings seem no enticement for two con artists. Yet Alison infuses herself into Terry's life-bringing gifts, popping up at the rest home where Terry works, insisting they celebrate holidays together, and ferreting out her deepest secrets. With an undercurrent of increasing doubt and fear for her own safety, Terry continues her tender caregiving at work and cultivates hopes of romance with the recently divorced son of Myra, a devoted elderly patient who calls her "my Terry." When Terry segues from fluffing Myra's pillow to resolutely smothering her, the listener is jolted into the realization that Alison is in danger, not Terry. The calm, measured reading by Broadway and television actress Laura Hicks gives no hints to ruin the final plot twist. The sturdy packaging will hold up to numerous circulations. Recommended for public libraries.-Judith Robinson, Univ. at Buffalo, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) A very satisfying page-turner.
Booklist Fielding delivers another page-turner...a suspense novel with a shocking twist.

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