Line of Vision- David Ellis

Marty Kalish has been having an affair with Rachel, the wife of a wealthy cardiologist.  When Rachel’s husband disappears, we find that Marty knows quite a bit about what has happened to the doctor– he was at the scene of the crime and goes to lengths to cover his tracks for his whereabouts on the night of the murder.  When he falls under suspicion by the cops, he confesses to the murder.  But Marty’s guilt is never entirely evident, as we watch him mount his defense and prepare for his day in court.

I picked up this legal thriller, not realizing it was a legal thriller, after finding the title on a list of Gone Girl read-alikes.  While it wasn’t quite as much of a crazy ride as Gone Girl, I definitely can see the similarities.  This is a thriller that will leave you thinking at the end.  Truth is relative and you find yourself with a narrator you can’t really rely on.  The major difference is that Line of Vision ultimately has a lot more legal drama to it and is focused much more on truth and the law rather than a relationship.

Marty is the narrator here and boy, is he an unreliable narrator.  I have no idea what really happened to the doctor after listening to Marty’s story evolve and witnessing some of his strange actions leading up to the trial.  I have no idea if I like Marty… sometimes he is very sympathetic, others times he comes off as a sociopath.  Being in Marty’s world the whole time is very limiting because we only get the picture he wants us to have (and the story keeps changing), but it is pretty absorbing at the same time.  I almost didn’t want to know how Marty came off to other people… it would have ruined the whole sympathetic sociopath thing he had going on.

The crux of the book comes down to something that Marty’s defense lawyers mention– that the truth of a crime lies somewhere in the middle of all the narrative constructed about it by the media, the defense, the prosecution, the accused, etc.  We are given multiple stories about Marty’s involvement in the murder of the doctor and relationship with Rachel and left to assume that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  I imagine that this book leaves one feeling much like they would if they were given the opportunity to assess the various defense and prosecution strategies, as well as the testimony of the accused and the media’s side of the story.  There would be a lot of conflicting details and a lot of half-truths and somewhere in the mess there might be what actually happened.

If you like a legal thriller, an unreliable narrator, and don’t mind leaving a thriller with a question mark hanging over your head, give this one a try.  It was a nice change of pace from my usual reading fare and it is always fun to be left thinking about a book for days after finishing it.

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