England, 2003. Tom McIntyre is a worried man. Debts are piling up, his career is in free-fall, and his family life is under strain. Only his wife, Alison, remains unswerving in her support. Close to rock bottom, he clinches the deal of a lifetime before tragedy strikes, putting everything Tom values at risk.
In the aftermath, a toxic mix of grief, substance abuse and blame lead to different paths for the family. Duplicity is a story of lost innocence, unwitting deals with darker forces, and fragile family bonds. Can grief, love, lies and hate be reconciled? And can Tom repair his fractured family and release himself from the pact he has made? What fate does he deserve?
While Duplicity is very much a character-driven story, it was really author Fin C. Gray’s writing that kept my interest. Gray’s scenes are descriptive and full of tension, often building up for pages until there is a payoff. I really enjoyed that aspect of it, because that is one of my favorite methods of story building. Keeping the tension high and combining that with really descriptive scenes ensures my senses are on edge, and that state of heightened awareness makes me want to keep going until it ends.
But, even though the writing itself was really good, there are a few aspects of the book that kept it from achieving a higher score. First of all are the cover and title. I love them both. The problem is that I am not sure they really match with the content of the story. And speaking of the content, while reading this book I kept thinking to myself is this the story we need right now? The main character is a rich man named Tom who has self-destructive tendencies. When bad things happen to him – mostly by his owns actions and choices, mind you – Tom attempts to seek redemption. As a reader, I was never really given a reason to care about him, though.
The other piece of the story follows Tom’s son Daniel on his own journey to find himself, and I do not want to give too much away here (since this part is not described in the Synopsis put out by the author), but Daniel’s is a plot line that has been overdone in the last 20 years, and I felt the same way about Daniel as I did his father: nothing. His story never connected with me, and I never came to care about what happened to him. In my opinion, both Daniel and Tom’s stories are not relevant to today’s climate, and I never found myself rooting for them.
Despite its flaws, I did enjoy this book on some level. Author Fin C. Gray has an interesting writing style, and I will be looking for whatever Gray writes next. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you, I recommend giving the book a try. You may connect with the story more than I did.