Putnam, Apr 2010, $25.95
Harvard University kicks out thirty year old graduate student Joseph Geist for slacking; the philosophy major was doing none of his class work. Reeling from that blow though he knows he is at fault, Joseph takes a second shot to the gut when his girlfriend ends their longtime relationship.
Needing gainful employment that does not require work, he answers a personal ad in the Harvard Crimson. Elderly Austrian expatriate Alma Spielmann seeks a meaningful conversationalist to discuss and argue issues. He answers the call and is hired. They become more than just employer-employee as the pair becomes friends. She invites him to move into her Cambridge house for free room and board; he accepts her offer. However, Alma’s nasty nephew Eric resents the non-family freeloader though ironically he depends on his aunt’s generosity for his finance and he occasionalyl visits her to see if the old hag’s health is failing.
This is a superb psychological suspense thriller that grips the audience once the triangle is set as fans of Jesse Kellerman anticipate something bad is going to happen but wonder to whom. The three key players come across as real with Joseph caring for his employer and Alma for her employee with angry Eric stirring the mix. Jesse Kellerman is at the author’s best with this strong character driven thriller that will readers wondering throughout who if any will be left standing.