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'“In this tightly coiled, intellectual drama, Cook (The Chatham School Affair) unwinds a marvelously tense story of belated redemption. While in St. Louis for a book tour, Luke Paige, a middle-aged writer of lackluster histories, agrees to meet with a long-forgotten acquaintance, the ‘little hayseed tramp’ he believes triggered a bloody tragedy that befell his family decades earlier. The story alternates between Luke’s recollections of his hometown; the ‘heady ambition’ of the despicably cruel, contemptuous younger Luke, who wants to go to Harvard and gets swept up ‘in the lethal tide of [his] own grand dream’; and the numb, disillusioned academic who sits down for a drink with Lola Faye Gilroy. A vertiginous precipice eventually materializes in front of Luke, who must finally confront the true nature of his father’s heinous murder and its equally tragic aftermath. The younger Luke is without a doubt one of the more convincing modern villains, a single-minded overachiever devoured by raging oedipal loathing and equally consumed by narcissistic ambition.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review'