Jennifer Reese
February 16, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Lying Tongue

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Andrew Wilson
publisher
Atria
genre
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B+

First came Andrew Wilson’s acclaimed biography; now comes The Lying Tongue, his fictional homage to the late Patricia Highsmith, a psychological thriller abristle with the cat-and-mouse gamesmanship, homoerotic tension, and matter-of-fact violence of her Tom Ripley novels. Wilson adds some metafictional mischief: The narrator fancies himself a literary biographer after taking a job as companion to Gordon Crace, a weaselly old novelist in Venice. He soon begins plotting (and lying and slaughtering) to delve into Crace’s lurid past. Wilson overthinks the hectic denouement, but getting there offers the same skin-crawling pleasure that Highsmith knew how to deliver so well. B+

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