The first book was a fun story about masking, romance, and eroticism that really played with roles and identities. A natural mimic, expert study of human behavior, and master craftsman when it comes to masking and bodysuits, Dominic closed out that book with plans to follow Ethan to American - not as another stranger, but as his Aunt Gillian.
As this story opens, Ethan has just arrived home, and is anxiously awaiting the completion of Dominic's latest identity. While we are waiting for them to be reunited, we learn that Ethan's stepsister is a high-tech voyeur with a passion for disguises. She has never experienced the thrill of deception quite like Ethan has, but Nicole is addicted to the stories of Diane St. Cloud, mistress of disguise, and actually arouses herself to the scenes of unmasking in those novels. Her very presence in the house adds a whole new level of danger for Dominic, who must not only be convincing enough to fool Gillian's brother, but to escape a horny teenage girl with webcams in every room.
As you can imagine, this is a story that gets very intense, very quickly. In case you thought it would be easy for Aunt Gillian to breeze in, get access to her brother's office laptop, log in, and embezzle a fortune, the reality is far more complicated. Dominic plays so many roles in this one, often at the same time, that it is remarkable that the story holds together so well. There are times where he is playing the role of the real Aunt Gillian for Nicole's cameras, while simultaneously role-playing Aunt Gillian for Ethan, but doing so with Marla's voice, while speaking as Dominic. He eventually lets Nicole in on the secret of his masking, but concocts a whole new deception to hide the truth, and even initiates the young woman in exploring her own disguise fetish.
I love that Ghostly Writer keeps so much of Dominic's plans from the reader, only giving us as much insight and knowledge as Ethan and Nicole share. As a result, we share each of their fears and hopes, and really do have to wonder what the climax could possibly be. Of course, I love even more than the story indulges the erotic side of masking so intensely, really driving home the fantasy element of being intimate with someone who can become anyone. It gets intense, and turns very dark in the latter parts of the novel, but you really do get a sense of how much arousal comes from our mind as opposed to our genitals.
Admittedly, it is a very small literary niche, but I do believe A Lie Within A Lie is the finest example of masking fiction you are ever likely to come across. It is a story to be appreciated even as it is enjoyed, with more twists and surprises than even the wildest of masks can disguise.
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