Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lies of the Heart-Michelle Boyajian

Lies of the Heart
Michelle Boyajian
Viking, Apr 19 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780670021314

Mentally handicapped student Jerry LaPlante walks calmly into the Warwick Center gym and shoots and kills his speech therapist Nick Burelli who was playing handball with two of his other patients. Jerry stands trial for murder while Nick's grieving widow Katie watches the proceedings and sadly muses over what led to the homicide of her spouse.

A documentary filmmaker Katie thinks back to her marriage and begins to wonder if the fractured relationship between her and her late husband led to Jerry pulling the trigger. They both befriended Jerry, but though the man is emotionally damaged Katie begins to believe Jerry could sense the resentment angrily flowing back and forth between the couple especially her fears that she will never measure up to her sister and ergo unworthy of Nick. She even considers Jerry killed Nick as a token of his love for Katie.

This is an intriguing character study of surviving tragedy and trauma as Katie struggles with why, but her answers to herself is not the paragon of her husband painted by the prosecutor, but of a raging Nick using Katie’s lack of confidence as a weapon in their relationship. Rotating between their past and the present, Katie does not hold the two men responsible only as she knows she hid behind the camera to avoid both especially her spouse. More a powerful psychological drama rather than a legal thriller, readers will enjoy Katie’s introspective reflections of her life leads her to draw conclusions wildly diverse from that of the prosecutor.

Harriet Klausner

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