Monday, October 22, 2012

The Investigation of Ariel Warning

There is something very strange about Ariel Warning’s behavior and Adam Remler is determined to find out what it is because Ariel is Adam’s on-again, off-again mistress and her erratic behavior is starting to make him very nervous.  But, worst of all, Ariel is also romantically involved with Adam’s identical twin, and is urging Adam to confess their affair to his brother.  If he refuses, she threatens to do it herself.

The Investigation of Ariel Warning may be a mystery involving a long, painstaking investigation, but it is also a book about the intensely, unique relationship shared by identical twins.  Everything in the lives of the Remlers begins with the fact that each has an identical, someone who knows them as well as they know themselves, a permanent backup and support system.   However, even for identical twins, their relationship is a strange one.  The two see each other every day, check in and out with each other when leaving their apartments, are both writers, and they share a production company.  One often knows what the other is thinking, and they literally share each other’s pain.     

Robert and Rich Kalich
Now, production assistant Ariel Warning is driving a wedge between the identicals, and neither brother is emotionally capable of doing anything to stop her.  Following one slim lead after the next (a few of Adam’s intuitive leaps forward do require a certain level of suspended disbelief on the part of the reader) Adam travels across the country in search of Ariel’s story.  What he learns about her past is disturbing enough to make him fear for his brother’s safety.  Suddenly, the investigation becomes a race against the clock.

The Investigation of Ariel Warning is Robert Kalich’s debut novel and, as the cliché about first-novels observes, Kalich “writes what he knows.”  Rather eerily, Robert Kalich has an identical twin brother of his own, both men are writers, and they jointly own and run a New York City film production company.  For their sakes, I hope there is no Ariel Warning equivalent in their past.

This one is very much a novel of the mind.  It is about emotional trauma, special relationships, temptation, sexual tension, and the overwhelming fear that one can end up all alone in the world – that even the strongest personal relationships can be destroyed.  I should note, too, that those familiar with Shakespeare’s The Tempest will solve the mystery of Ariel Warning a lot sooner than those who are not.

I found the novel’s pace to be a little creaky at times, but The Investigation of Ariel Warning has a lot going for it and is an impressive debut novel.

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)

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