Roughan, Howard. The Promise of a Lie. Warner. March 2004. c. 358p. ISBN 0-446-52943-5. $23.95. Fiction.

Psychologist David Remler has been framed for the murder of a Wall Street venture capitalist by a patient calling herself Samantha Kent, a wife so terrified to leave her husband that she kills him instead. But then the real (and grieving) Samantha shows up, and the terrified patient who claims to be Samantha disappears, leaving Remler with his life on the line. Although his fate is in the hands of a brilliant defense team, all the incriminating evidence points to Remler. With stick-thin secondary characters, a far from original situation (a doctor who gets emotionally involved with a manipulative patient), and a plot that hinges initially on the protagonist’s unbelievably stupid actions (e.g., his failure to call the cops when informed of a murder by a person he suspects is now committing suicide), Roughan’s second novel has a lot to overcome. That it does—in fact, it becomes an engrossing read that’s hard to put down—results primarily from a gripping courtroom battle that consumes more than half the story. Recommended for larger public libraries.

LJ, 129, no. 4 (March 1, 2004), 109.


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