Delusion by Peter Abrahams


Title: Delusion

Author: Peter Abrahams

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 304

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Geographical Setting: Belle Ville, Louisiana

Time Period: Present Day

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:

Nell Jarreau was pregnant when her brilliant geologist fiance was killed while they were on a summer evening walk in their native Louisiana.  Her eyewitness identification of Alvin Dupree as the killer sent him to prison for life.  Soon after the murder, she started dating the lead detective on the case. They married and raised her daughter.  For more than 20 years, they had an idyllic life together.  She ran an art gallery, her husband received frequent promotions and they vacationed often on the Carribbean island of one of their oldest friends.  Until there was a hurricane and new evidence surfaced that freed Alvin Dupree.  While Nell struggles to understand these recent events, her husband, now the police chief, refuses to investigate further.  A local reporter and distant friend begins investigating.  Nell wonders if she made a mistake.  Is this new evidence credible?  Who is telling the truth?  Is the reporter lying to write a sensational story? Although she spent 20 years believing her husband’s character to be completely honest and trustworthy, she begins to question his statements, his inconsistencies and his motivations.  Her husband turns from loving and supportive to angry and short tempered. These cracks in what was once a perfectly smooth veneer shed a new light on his life, his career and his friendships.  An added complication is the change in her college student daughter, once open and chatty, now closed and sullen. Her relationship with her stepfather is deteriorating and she’s becoming increasingly curious about her birth father’s life. The plot thickens, new clues surface, new motivations are uncovered and the twists and turns continued.  The setting is well described, in Louisiana and the Caribbean.

Subject Headings: Murderers, former convicts, reporters, police, witnesses, judicial error, betrayal, loyalty, belief and doubt, innocence (law), psychological suspense, suspense stories.

Appeal Terms: fast-paced, compelling, engaging, lifelike, realistic, well-developed, contemporary, details of Carribean and Louisiana, suspenseful, colorful, conversational, descriptive, smart, well-crafted, well-researched, character-centered, complex, layered, plot-centered, plot twists, investigative, layered, familiar, earnest, suspenseful.

Three terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, well-developed, plot twists.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Before I Sleep by Rachel Lee captures the story of a prosecutor who wonders if the man she helped send to Death Row could be innocent. Reigniting a romance with the detective who helped investigate the case raises the romance factor.

Cradle and All by Zachary Alan Fox is a thriller that create a nightmare for a new mother.  Mysterious happenings cause her to question her own perceptions and ultimately discover a web of lies that her husband spun.

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller is a novel with many of the same themes as Delusion. There is a satisfying life that’s been recreated after a terrible crime, secrets from the past and doubts about who to trust.

Just One Look by Harlan Coben is a story centered around a longstanding happy marriage that becomes unraveled after “just one look” at an old photo.

The Last Goodbye by H. Michael Frase is filled with murder and mystery after two passengers become deeply entangled in a relationship despite their short history together.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, Jim Dwyer.  Scheck and Neufeld are the civil rights attorneys who founded The Innocence Project which seeks post-conviction release through DNA issues. Dwyer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Daily News.

Innocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases by Scott Christianson.  This book follows 42 cases in which an innocent person was convicted.  It was written by an investigative reporter.

Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the near death of a great American city by Jed Home – chosen because of its coverage of the damage to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Furnace of creation, cradle of destruction: a journey to the birthplace of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis by Roy Chester.  This book is written for the non-scientist and explains how the surface of the earth is related to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes.


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