It’s that time of year again, worrying about your body looking good in a bathing suit, making sure you have enough sun protection products to keep you from getting a bad sunburn and having in your beach bag the book everybody is going to be talking about this summer. Trust me, that book is going to be The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker. It is a summer literary thriller dream come true. It’s smart, readable, and will have calling up your friends asking them have they read it and can you believe the ending you never saw coming. The book has been a huge bestseller through most of the world and is finally being published here. All I can say is it’s about time and when is his next book coming out? It’s 656 pages of pure readable summertime bliss. Okay, I think you’ve got the idea that I love this book so now let me give you a little description of what the book is about. It almost feels unfair doing it because I feel like I don’t want to give anything away but being a book reviewer it’s part of my job!
The book’s main characters are Harry Quebert, who wrote a hugely successful book called The Origin of Evil, his writing protégé Marcus Goldman, a 15 year old girl named Nola Kellergan, and then a cast of characters from the town of Somerset (think Twin Peaks meets Donna Tartt.)
The story opens up with the death of Nola. Harry was in love with Nola and Marcus comes into town to see Harry and ends up writing a book about the case of who is responsible for the death of Nola. It’s like a book within a book, within another book. Could Harry have murdered the young girl he loved, was it some local townsperson who had a thing for Nola, or could it have been Nola’s own father who carried out the deed?
Marcus, plagued by writer’s block, moves into Harry’s house while Harry is in jail and begins to interview the townspeople and takes a look into Harry’s past with Nola. Was it right for Harry to be in love with such a young girl? We are taken into everybody’s past and given many possibilities of whom it could be.
It sounds too good to be true, but when you read this masterful novel Mr. Dicker truly pulls it off. Until the last page he never lets you sit back and say, “I got this all figured out.” (I always thought I had it figured out.) He keeps you guessing and not just for the sake of it. He shows us that even when we think we know people and they can sometimes do things that they think is right for them but have devastating results that they never thought of.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is what so many mystery novels of late have tried to do but end up disappointing you in the end. I won’t name names but we all know which books I’m talking about. If you want to read a smart literary page-turner this summer then you have found it. Just remember to keep putting on layers of suntan lotion every few hours because once you start The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair you won’t be going anywhere for a while. Read, apply, read, apply….