Author Miles Van Meter is on a book tour to promote his sensational bestseller Sleeping Beauty, a true-crime account of a deeply personal subject: the attack by a serial killer that left his twin sister, Casey, in a coma. Tonight the audience waits to hear Miles discuss recent developments in his sister's case -- unaware that pieces of this complex puzzle of violence, unknown even to the author, are about to be revealed.
Six years earlier, life was much simpler for everyone involved, especially seventeen-year-old Ashley Spencer, a popular high school soccer star. Then one night an intruder entered Ashley's home and murdered her father and her best friend. Traumatized and suffering from a crippling sense of survivor guilt, Ashley is ready to give up on both soccer and life until help comes from an unexpected source -- a scholarship to the Oregon Academy, an elite private school, is extended to her by school dean Casey Van Meter. The school quickly becomes a haven for both Ashley and her mother, Terri. As Ashley regains her sense of self through the school's soccer program, Terri joins a writing group for adults led by Joshua Maxfield, a former literary wunderkind who has disappeared from the bestseller lists since his second book was panned by both critics and fans.
Then tragedy strikes again and Ashley has to run for her life, unaware that the key to her survival is in the one book she's afraid to read -- Sleeping Beauty.
With its blend of dizzying plot twists and thrilling suspense, Sleeping Beauty shows Phillip Margolin at the very top of his form.
The criminal at the heart of bestseller Margolin's unsatisfying 10th thriller is particularly heinous. Late one night in Portland, Ore., he assaults teenager Ashley Spencer, rapes and kills Ashley's friend Tanya, a sleepover guest, and stabs Ashley's father to death. Ashley miraculously escapes, but her brush with terror is far from over. A few months later, just as she and her mother, Terri (out of town on the night of the attack), are beginning to re-engage with the world, the killer strikes again, murdering Terri and leaving another woman, Casey Van Meter, in a coma on the grounds of Ashley's new school, the exclusive Oregon Academy. Ashley doesn't witness the crime, but she sees Joshua Maxfield, the school's writer-in-residence, at the scene, clutching a bloody knife. Wondering why her quiet, loving family has been targeted by this madman, she goes into hiding in Europe, returning to Portland years later to bear witness when Maxfield is finally apprehended and tried. But is he guilty? And what was the motive for this crime spree? The search for answers generates a modicum of suspense, but the book never really commands much interest, thanks to clumsy plotting and even clumsier prose. Much of the story is revealed in flashbacks, framed by scenes from a reading in a Seattle bookstore given by Casey's twin brother, Miles Van Meter, who has written a bestselling true-crime book about the case and his comatose sister (and yes, it's as contrived as it sounds). Margolin (The Ties That Bind, etc.) has imagined a particularly lurid and sensational crime, but he fails to realize virtually any of its inherent dramatic potential.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I've never read a book that kept me on my toes!
Won't want to put down! Very interesting and fast paced!
A must read
I read this back in 9th grade,and fell in love. This is a book you Just won't want to put down. I've read it probably 5 times. It just doesn't get old.