Friday, 5 November 2010

'The Big Picture' by Douglas Kennedy

I re-read a Douglas Kennedy book the other day 'The Big Picture' (Abacus, London, 1997). I love Douglas Kennedy's books, and indeed, wrote a long piece about his books a while back, which went both on this blog and on our website - see As I said in this piece, Douglas Kennedy has a remarkable ability to be able to get into the minds of educated and intelligent, but troubled women.

Anyway, 'The Big Picture' is somewhat different, as it is written in the first person, but as a man, not a woman. It is full of adventure and intrigue, and the plot, on first reading, really surprises you and goes to places where one would never imagine it would. It is a very clever plot; illustrating once again, the intelligence and capability of Douglas Kennedy himself of course.

The first person is Ben Bradford, who has a wife, two children and a steady job, but discovers that his wife is 'playing away'. In a heat of passion, he ends up mistakingly killing Gary Summers, the lover. Now, what to do? Ben decides to fake his own death, and to take on Gary's identity (forging his signature etc.). His own death is faked by him saying that he was going on a boat trip on his own; the boat blows up along with the remains of Gary's body that are in the boat.

Ben then starts his new life as Gary, the succesful photographer, which is very exciting for him, because he always wanted to be a professional photographer anyway. But things get complex, when a certain Rudy tumbles him and then blackmails him.

They are in a car together, with Rudy driving. Suddenly, the car turns over, Rudy is killed, but Gary escapes. Now, what to do? Ben decides to reinvent himself yet again, and to take on Rudy's identity. Wow - a real page-turner.

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