Happily ever after?

Rosalea Ryan | Bendigo Weekly | 09-Nov-2017

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Les Zig, Pantera Press, $29.99
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One week. Seven days. Surely change can’t happen so quickly as to completely overturn someone’s sedate, settled life in such a short time span – or can it?

High school English teacher Casper Gray enjoys the type of steady contentment his still-single childhood mate Luke covets. Blissfully ensconced in the suburbs, Casper is about to celebrate his seventh wedding anniversary with Jane, who works in IT.

Both have steady jobs, close friends and supportive colleagues.

Their tenacious little terrier, Wallace, seems equally satisfied with his routine of digging up the backyard by day and snuggling on the sofa with his master and mistress after dark.

To date the only significant challenge faced by the couple is their struggle to have a baby, and even this will be overcome, they’re certain, once they have managed to save for a course of IVF treatment.

Admittedly, their neighbours can be odd at times: boorish Vic, with his thug-like demeanour, and exquisite Chloe, who on occasion just might be a little friendlier than is necessary towards the married man next door.

The vice-principal of Casper’s school, Stuart, is also a disagreeable character, with his exacting expectations and officious, condescending attitude.

In general, however, the Grays are as happy together as Casper imagines it’s possible for any pair of people to be.

Then it happens: an accidental stumble in the middle of the night results in the contents of Jane’s handbag being scattered across the floor. Along with the usual makeup, keys and purse, something entirely unexpected is revealed.

Is Casper right to suspect his wife of harbouring a gigantic secret, or is paranoia leading him down a dangerous path from which there may be no return?

Melbourne author Les Zig chronicles the ensuing week’s events at a compelling pace complemented by dark humour and a touch of cheekiness. – Rosalea Ryan

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