Tuesday, May 16, 2006

There's so much pleasure and bafflement to be derived from this thriller by novelist Chad Taylor that it seems like an afterthought to point out that it's also a fascinating portrait of life in modern-day New Zealand. Two men are discovered playing pool in an Auckland billiard parlor: property developer Rory Jones and narrator Mark Chamberlain, of no immediately obvious occupation. We soon learn that Chamberlain is a professional burglar, and (in a scene worthy of Hitchcock) the next night he breaks into Jones' apartment and steals everything in sight-including evidence that Jones is the father of Caroline May, a high school classmate of Chamberlain's who disappeared many years earlier Was Chamberlain involved in the disappearance? Who else knows enough about his secret life to leave ominous clues in his apartment? A fine read and an interesting look at unfamiliar terrain.