Friday, March 24, 2006

Derailed, by James Siegel

(hb; 2003)

From the inside flap:

“Every day Charles Schine rides the 8:43 to do the job he has done for over a decade in a New York advertising agency. With a wife and an ill child who depend on him, charles is not a man who likes changes or takes risks...until he is late for his regular train - and sits down across from the woman of his dreams.

“Her name is Lucinda. Like Charles, she is married. Like Charles, she takes the train every day to work in New York City. Her train is the 9:05, and tomorrow she will be on it again – and so will Charles. For there is something about Lucinda, the flash of thigh beneath her short skirt, the way every man on the train is eyeing her, something about this time of the morning that will make Charles take a chance he shouldn’t take, break a vow he shouldn’t break, and enter a room he should never enter...

“In a matter of days, a flirtation turns to a passion, and Charles and Lucinda are drawn into the dark side of the American Dream. In a matter of weeks, Charles’s life is in shambles. A man is dead. A small fortune is stolen. Charles’s home is violated and everything violently spirals out of control.

“But Charles is about to discover that once you leave the straight and narrow, getting back on track is the most perilous journey of all. And for Charles, that journey– of lies, terror and deception – has just begun...”


Difficult-to-set-down suspense novel, with many twists and turns – most of them effective, a few of them predictable (especially for noir afficionados). Siegel’s characters read like real people. The plot and action never lags, though, and the twists are often inspired bits of spitefulness and, occasionally, redemption.

This is a tidy thriller with an ending that is realistic, noirish and satisfactory to those readers who want a Hollywood-style finish. In short: a good read.

The film version was released stateside on November 11, 2005.

Clive Owen played Charles Schine. Jennifer Aniston played Lucinda Harris. Vincent Cassel played Phillipe LaRoche; in the novel, this character was named Raul Vasquez.

RZA played Winston Boyko. Melissa George played Deanna Schine.
Xzibit played Dexter. Tom Conti played Eliot Firth.

Mikael Håfström directed the film, from a script by Stuart Beattie.

1 comment:

megastein said...

The movie looked silly, but from your review I am intrigued enough to pick up the book.

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