Isabel Raine would probably be the first to admit that her
five-year marriage to Marcus has been anything but idyllic. Marcus
is driven, ambitious, sometimes secretive; he’s a passionate
lover but can be emotionally distant, even --- if Isabel’s
sister is to be believed --- cold. But Isabel, a novelist, loves
Marcus deeply. She believes that, in him, she has found the perfect
antidote to her own over-emotional, over-analytical nature.
When Marcus fails to come home after a long day at work, Isabel
initially fumes more than she panics; Marcus’s tendency to
get caught up in work and forget his domestic responsibilities has
been a pattern throughout their relationship. But when Isabel gets
a truncated, panicky phone call consisting of little more than a
man’s scream, she fears the worst. When Isabel arrives at
Marcus’s office, the FBI is hot on her heels and soon beats
her into oblivion.
When Isabel wakes up, she learns that Marcus is still missing,
the FBI agents are really just thugs, Marcus’s entire office
staff has been murdered, and the office and Isabel and
Marcus’s own apartment have been ransacked. Soon, though,
with the cooperation of two gung-ho police officers, Isabel learns
even more troubling details. Marcus Raine was apparently not her
husband’s real name, but the name of another Czech national
who disappeared a decade earlier. She also discovers that all her
personal and joint bank accounts have vanished into thin air. Who
was this man Isabel slept next to for years? Did she really know
him at all?
Isabel’s quest --- guided initially by only a few key
names and a cryptic, frantic text message --- will take her to the
most remote regions of Marcus’s past and into stranger
mysteries than even her novelist’s creativity could have
imagined. It will also take her straight into the path of a
dangerous conspiracy that could end her quest once and for all.
The basic plot of DIE FOR YOU --- a woman learns that her
husband is not who she trusted him to be --- probably sounds like
nothing new. In Lisa Unger’s capable hands, however, this
plot line goes far beyond mere thriller territory and into
somewhere excitingly different. Unger facilely handles the
novel’s suspense, keeping readers on the edge of their seats
as new and surprising twists are constantly uncovered. At the same
time, she relates the primary theme to the lives of all her
characters, from Isabel’s own life to that of her sister and
her brother-in-law, to her mother, even to the detectives
investigating the case.
People are not always who they seem, Unger’s novel
resolutely declares, and with rich characterization and suspenseful
plotting, readers will be swept up in her world --- and in this
unsettling idea --- from start to finish.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on December 29, 2010