Detective Fiction | 2002
The tale of a contemporary American couple who have gotten very lost. Technical writer, Jack Hannan, one year into a court-mandated sobriety has been unable to face the bright lights of reality as a recovering alcoholic. Dry but still withdrawn, he begins writing a 1940's-style, Chandleresque detective novel, finding escape in the shadowy world of his hard-boiled alter ego, eventually confusing the characters in his book with the people in his life. This includes Leslie, the mysterious, sexy woman chairing his AA group. He begins to obsess about her until learning she is something altogether different than the "femme fatale" of his fantasy. Jennifer Hannan, suffering from the acute brand of loneliness only an estranged relationship can produce, wants to feel something, anything. She has abandoned her career as a psychologist and returned to college, where all she has found so far is Elliot, a good-looking, younger man happy to provide the affection her husband no longer can. While Jennifer searches outward, Jack continues to recede, until the line between himself and the hard-drinking, murderous protagonist he has created becomes indiscernible. The Hannans' fragile relationship comes to a dangerous crisis as the story goes from the volatile climax of Jack's obsessive novel to the vulnerable baby steps this couple must finally take toward healing.