This book's main character, Christopher Banks, gives new meaning to the term "unreliable narrator". He isn't as bad as Merricat from We Have Always Lived in the Castle (a total must-read if you haven't already), because he makes it clear from the beginning that he isn't quite sure that his memories of events are really clear:
I am sure this same agitated frame of mind accounts for the fact that when I now think back to the evening, so many aspects seem somewhat exaggerated or unnatural. For instance, when I now try to picture the room, it is uncommonly dark; this despite the wall lamps, the candles on the tables, the chandeliers above us--none of which seem to make any impression on the pervading darkness. The carpet is very think, so that to move about the room, one is obliged to drag one's feet, and all around, greying men in black jackets are doing just this, some even pressing forward their shoulders as if walking into a gale. The waiters, too, with their silver trays, lean into conversations at peculiar angles. There are hardly any ladies present, and those one can see seem oddly self-effacing, almost immediately melting from one's view behind the forest of black evening suits.
That's a description of a party he'd attended the previous night. Call me crazy, but I didn't completely trust his ability to solve the 15-year-old mystery of his parents' disappearance based on his recollections of childhood--regardless of how celebrated a detective he has become.
It's beautifully written--I was completely pulled into the book's world up until almost the very end, when it took an almost Adaptation-like turn. It really felt like someone else picked up the manuscript and just started writing a completely different novel. It was weird. And I think that, unfortunately, it changed my whole opinion of the book. If it hadn't changed like that, so abruptly, I probably would have been writing a rave review right now. I liked the first three-quarters of it so much that I want to try more of his stuff, though.