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DERAILED (article first published : 2003-06-11)

Fatal Attraction meets The Usual Suspects in Derailed, a dazzling thriller by James Siegel recently launched by Penguinbooks SA. Itís about a businessman whose life becomes a nightmare when he meets the wrong woman.

Advertising director Charles Schine is just another New York commuter, regularly catching the 08h43 to work. But the day he misses his train is the day that changes his life. Catching the 09h05 instead, he can't help but be drawn by the sight of the person opposite.

Charles has never cheated on his wife in 18 years of marriage. But then Charles has never met anyone like Lucinda Harris before. Charming, beautiful and a seductively good listener, Charles finds himself instantly attracted. And though Lucinda is married too, it is immediately apparent that the feeling is mutual. Their journeys into work become lunch dates, which become cocktails and eventually lead to a rented room in a seedy hotel.

They both know the risks they are taking but not in their worst nightmares could they foresee what is to follow. Suddenly their temptation turns horrifically sour, and their illicit liaison becomes caught up in something bigger, more dangerous, more brutally violent. Unable to talk to his partner or the police, Charles finds himself trapped in a world of dark conspiracy and psychological games. Somehow he's got to find a way to fight back, or his entire life will be spectacularly derailed for good.

Published by Time Warner, Derailed retails at R150.




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