"Pam Lewis is the literary equivalent of a forensic scientist. In her compelling second novel, Perfect Family, Lewis pulls the body of a beautiful young woman from a lake, then, layer by suspenseful layer, unpeels and reveals a well-to-do family's secrets, lies, and hidden heartaches. I was riveted."
--Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
"Lewis skillfully lures the reader through her narrative maze with plenty of plot twists."
Few authors manage to combine the page-turning suspense and emotional intensity of a riveting thriller with the fine qualities of literary fiction. Acclaimed author Pam Lewis did exactly that with her debut novel, Speak Softly, She Can Hear, which garnered rave reviews, formidable sales, and a substantial following. Readers loved her powerful blend of literary fiction and heart-pounding action; the New York Post called it "gripping…with a freshness that sets it apart from the thriller genre…Once begun, it's a hard book to let go of." Her sophomore effort, PERFECT FAMILY (Simon & Schuster, April 8, 2008, $25.00), the tale of an upper-class New England family besieged by tragedy and deception, will prove to be an equally provocative literary page-turner about a proper New England [West Hartford] family and the dark secrets that undo them.
The Carterets are an established industrialist family coasting on their declining wealth, but still in possession of a high opinion of themselves. Headed by patriarch Jasper, they are a close-knit clan, used to official family meetings and secret agreements. Though he maintains a strained relationship with Jasper, William, the eldest of the four adult children, is close to sisters Tinker, the family caretaker, and Mira, the moody, thoughtful one. However Pony Carteret-the lovely, headstrong, youngest member of the Carteret family-has always been his favorite. Happy-go-lucky, vibrant and athletic, she's also known as the family's strongest swimmer. So when she is discovered drowned at the family's summer home on Lake Aral, Vermont, her red hair tangled in an anchor chain and her baby abandoned on shore, her family is stunned by disbelief.
As the police conduct their investigation, Jasper, calls an urgent family meeting to address his doubts about Pony's death. Why had she been swimming away from shore when her infant son Andrew lay unprotected on the beach? How had she managed to drown in a lake she knew so very well? And who was the stranger that their neighbor, a teenage boy, had seen with her on shore? Had any of her siblings known that Pony would be at the house that day? Was she having personal problems, was she depressed? Had she ever revealed the true identity of her baby's father?
Ultimately, the police rule the drowning an accident. Unsatisfied with the official explanation, William sets out to discover the truth of Pony's death. His investigations quickly lead him to a new and more daunting series of questions, not only about the mysteries in Pony's life but also about the shadowy details of his deceased mother's past and even his own. Before long, he has opened a Pandora's box of family secrets, including one dangerous fact his mother has kept hidden for a generation.
His two surviving sisters keep their own secrets from the rest of the family. Tinker is called on to look after baby Andrew, but meanwhile her marriage quietly dissolves; Mira, lost in a fugue of sadness, becomes entangled with a disturbing friend of Pony's. Even the revered Jasper proves to hold a mysterious past. William's probing ultimately casts doubt on his own parentage, and the entire edifice of family unity and privilege begins to crumble. Beneath these deceptions lies the secret of Pony's death, a secret which may claim William's life as well. In a frantic, pulse-racing finale, William must confront a demon from a past he never imagined and choose a future that may hold an entirely new existence.
Pam Lewis's PERFECT FAMILY is a masterful, atmospheric tale that delves into ways in which family secrets, no matter how long they're buried, can wield tremendous power. Keenly observed and carefully plotted, this novel is an explosive new entry into the literary thriller genre. Pam Lewis wowed critics and readers alike with her first novel and is sure to win new fans with this extraordinary second book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pam Lewis lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Rob Funk. Her lifelong fascination with water and with family secrets is at the root of Perfect Family. Since 1991, she has worked as a freelance writer of business and marketing communications. She is the author of the novel, Speak Softly, She Can Hear. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and various literary magazines.
ABOUT THE BOOK
By Pam Lewis
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 8, 2008
ISBN-10: 0-7432-9145-X; ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9145-3