After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill

‘This is my life, not just a story, …’

Madeleine D’Leon is a successful writer: her crime fiction series featuring Veronica Killwilly series is very successful. But Madeleine is drawn to a different story.  She creates a new character, Edward McGinnity, a writer of literary fiction, and as she begins to imagine his life, becomes drawn into it. 

Metafiction, or mystery?  Or both …

Edward is in danger, but so is Madeleine.  As she becomes caught up in Edward’s world, she retreats into it, spending less time with her husband Hugh.  In Madeleine’s story about Edward, he is accused of murder.  In Madeleine’s ‘real world’ her husband is increasingly concerned about her wellbeing.

‘Yes, it’s just imagination if you can stop.  Delusion has a life of its own.’

First published in Australia as ‘Crossing the Lines’ in 2017, this novel is imaginative and intriguing.  It’s also very different from Ms Gentill’s Rowland Sinclair series.  I kept reading, wanting to know whether (and how) Ms Gentill would bring her characters under control.  Was Edward guilty of murder?  Could Madeleine break free from her creation or, had Edward been made real, free to walk off the pages and exert his own influence quite independent from Madeleine? Some characters are like that.

I enjoyed this novel. Be warned: you’ll need to concentrate, in order to keep track.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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