The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy

2.93 (3,200 ratings by Goodreads)
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A Guardian Book of the Year

It is summer, 2012. Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountain-top house. As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions. Who is the real victim here? Who is the perpetrator? And who, ultimately, is the fall guy?

A story of fracture in paradise, where ancient resentments and current desires lurch violently to the surface and an idyllic summer retreat becomes a stage for lies, lust and revenge, The Fall Guy is Lasdun's most entertaining novel yet: a taut psychological thriller that is superbly written, darkly vivid, with an unforgettably febrile atmosphere of erotic danger.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 27mm | 399g
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1910702838
  • 9781910702833
  • 387,142

Review Text

"Lasdun's controlled, devious storytelling style infuses every tick of the clock with tension."
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Review quote

"Engaging, effortlessly readable... Lasdun's writing style is clean and straightforward. All the complexity resides in character and detail. This is masterfully controlled 2am noir." -- Lionel Shriver * Financial Times * "What a sinister and searching novel this is - and what a delight. James Lasdun is one of our great writers." -- Joseph O'Neill "Exceptionally entertaining...The Fall Guy reads like early Ian McEwan or late Patricia Highsmith... Lasdun is masterly in his story's construction... This is exactly what a literary thriller should be: intelligent, careful, swift, unsettling." -- Charles Finch * New York Times Book Review * "Nothing is straightforward in this slick, Highsmithian thriller, and while the damaged Matthew's capacity for self-deception is flagged early, Lasdun's skill lies not least in letting us think that we might therefore have his number. Wrong - and yet the novel's denouement feels fated even as it smoothly steals the breath. " -- Stephanie Cross * Observer * "Impossible to put down." * Daily Mail * "A deftly constructed narratives of guilt and buried resentment" -- M. Harrison * Guardian * "Already drawing comparisons to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train - but more aptly described as the literary descendant of Dostoyevsky and Patricia Highsmith in an alluring contemporary setting - The Fall Guy is a twisty, chilly, exquisitely written, and tautly suspenseful exploration of big ideas in the guise of a psychological thriller." * Boston Globe * "James Lasdun seems to be one of the secret gardens of English writing...when we read him we know what language is for ... In sentence after sentence, the reader feels Lasdun's words shaping and then freely donating a world to us, with great flexible artistry." -- James Wood "The early pages crackle with a gut-level sense of menace... [There is] a brilliantly unbearable pivotal scene... The artistry in this morally complex, coolly seductive portrait of an imploding psyche means that there is plenty to admire on a repeat visit." -- Anthony Cummins * Literary Review, 2017 Books of the Year * "James Lasdun has written an elegantly suspenseful novel set in a brilliantly realised affluent upstate New York community not unlike Woodstock - his characters are achingly real, and the self-deceptions that drive them so insightfully depicted, we might almost mistake them for our own. Truly a "page-turner" - propelled toward just the right ending." -- Joyce Carol Oates "In The Fall Guy, James Lasdun brings the signature gifts to contemporary noir that he's displayed in other literary venues - wit, style, an attractive gravitas. And the tale itself is sharp, acute in its observations, and absorbing. It's a rich read." -- Norman Rush "Elegant and disturbing...This simple-seeming novel, so graceful in its unfolding, proves dense with psychological detail and sly social observations." * Wall Street Journal * "Lasdun serves up another complex psychological thriller. . . A gripping, often unnerving page-turner perfect for fans of Thomas H. Cook, Ian McEwan, and Joyce Carol Oates." * Booklist * "Lasdun's controlled, devious storytelling style infuses every tick of the clock with tension." * Kirkus Reviews * "[A] terrific novel... Lasdun presents the inexorable turnings of fate in a subtle and disconcerting way." * Publishers Weekly *
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About James Lasdun

James Lasdun's books include The Fall Guy and Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked. He teaches creative writing at Columbia University and reviews regularly for the Guardian. His work has been filmed by Bernardo Bertolucci (Besieged) and he co-wrote the films Sunday, which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance, and Signs and Wonders, starring Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgard.
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Rating details

3,200 ratings
2.93 out of 5 stars
5 7% (226)
4 20% (647)
3 39% (1,251)
2 27% (856)
1 7% (220)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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