Lisa Lutz is one of crime fiction’s most unpredictable practitioners. Opening a new Lisa Lutz novel is like taking a step into the dark unknown, aware that potential danger lurks around every turn as the storyline coils its labyrinthine path to unexpected places. This week, Lisa Lutz releases yet another spellbinding standalone – The Accomplice.
The Accomplice is the story of two friends – Owen and Luna – who meet in college and quickly become inseparable. Their bond is uniquely strong, able to survive years of evolution with nary a scratch to show for the strain. Never straying into romantic or sexual territory, Owen and Luna are nevertheless rarely apart – even once they begin to have lives of their own. This loyalty of friendship is what will first pull readers into their story. Why do they have this undeniable connection?
But this is a crime novel, so Lisa Lutz also provides not one, but two, mysterious deaths to keep readers invested. The first mysterious death occurs while Owen and Luna are in college. The narrative slowly builds to this death as readers are introduced to Owen and Luna and watch how their connection develops. It is often said that platonic male/female friendships are rare, but in this novel readers witness how circumstances and chemistry can combine to create bonds that are indestructible.
The second timeline occurs after Owen and Luna have married other people – developments that do not alter their friendship in the slightest. When Owen’s wife is found brutally murdered, the police investigation threatens to expose all the secrets of this unusual bond – some of which, Owen and Luna haven’t even shared with each other.
Readers would have reason to worry in lesser hands, but with Lisa Lutz they can proceed, confident that this is an author who is so fully in control of her craft that the risk of disappointment is minimal. The Accomplice is not an action-packed thriller, nor does it have incredible twists that readers would never expect. Everything in this novel blossoms directly from the friendship of Owen and Luna. Lisa Lutz has created two characters that could not really be more different and yet, every interaction on the page is believable and compelling. Just as Owen and Luna are forever bonded within the narrative, readers will find that they are intrigued by both of these characters equally and that thinking of them as separate entities becomes virtually impossible.
Pacing within a fictional work is challenging to nail, but in The Accomplice, Lisa Lutz makes it look like child’s play. She never rushes the developments that are so important to the story arc, but she manages to also never let the reader’s interest wane. What we end up with is two deep character studies surrounded by two captivating mystery plots that are chock full of other interesting and fully-developed side characters. The resolution is realistic and satisfying without the need for cheesy gimmicks or unnecessary twists. Lisa Lutz is an author asserting confidence in the story she has created, not allowing the literary marketplace to dictate her path, and that will surely bring a legion of new fans to this phenomenal author.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.