Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Semantics of Murder-Aifric Campbell

The Semantics of Murder
Aifric Campbell
Serpent’s Tail, Sep 2009, $14.95
ISBN: 9781846687334

Cocky American Dr. Jay Hamilton moves from Los Angeles to London where he practices psychoanalysis in Kensington. His affluent clientele worship by him and his practice is thriving. However, they are ignorant that Dr. Hamilton has an alter ego.

As J Merritt, he writes stories about psychological analysis that is major sellers. His subjects are the clients he treats as Dr, Hamilton. He also has his own psychotic secret, the murder of his beloved older brother Robert, who raised him. Biographer Dana Flynn visits Jay to interview him about a book she is writing about Robert that leads to an abashed Jay questioning his ethics for using his clients especially Cora as the subjects of his books.

The semantics of Murder is an intriguing look at ethics as Dana’s inquiries into Jay’s late hero Robert coaxes him to take a discerning gaze into what he is doing. Robert, who was much older, was more a caring father than a sibling; thus Jay has the epiphany that Robert disappointingly stares down at him. Although the action is minimal, fans who relish a cerebral character driven tale will enjoy Jays’ morale reawakening.

Harriet Klausner