The Bottom Line: This wildly imaginative psychological thriller is David Shawn Klein’s best book yet.
Meeting a deranged fan may not be novelist Phillip Raymond’s biggest fear, but it’s in the neighborhood. As And The Dead Shall Live opens, Phillip – a New Yorker who suffers from agoraphobia and is limited to a four-block radius known as his Zone of Safety – is on the phone with his shrink, Dr. Guano. He’s out of pills, and it can’t wait until morning.
Guanto talks Phillip through the short journey to get his prescription, but his mission to get home without incident is interrupted by grieving Mom Kit Wheaton. Wanting just 10 minutes of Phillip’s time, she shows Raymond a nude photo of her lifeless 17-year-old daughter, Paige, on a California beach.
It seems that Kit has traveled all the way from Texas to seek Phillip’s help with the investigation into Paige’s death. She claims that the police aren’t interested in looking into the death of “a wild girl who got drunk and fell off some party boat.” But as Phillip soon discovers, Paige wasn’t just on any old boat. The magnificent yacht is owned by a billionaire.
Author David Shawn Klein then serves up a masterful twist: Phillip intends to use Paige’s death as his launchpad to stardom. If he can publish an expose linking the billionaire with the girl’s demise, Phillip might once again rise to the top of the bestseller list.
Klein, author of 2021 Book of the Year The Money, has delivered his most white-knuckled thriller yet. That’s thanks in part to the sheer depth of Phillip’s curious proclivities and disturbing backstory (including “The Catastrophe”). We first get a glimpse into Phillip’s cunning when he decides which researcher to hire by figuring out who has a smaller number of friends and family (in case the researcher dies, he wants fewer people asking questions). His plan involves getting the researcher, Jesse, to apply for a job as the billionaire’s executive assistant (a role she fairly interprets as being put out as “bait”). What could go wrong?
Within the context of a truly wild and exhilarating murder investigation with a boatload of twists, Klein has filled the book with humor both from crackling dialogue and Phillip and Jesse’s internal observations. Film and TV buffs will also appreciate witty references to Citizen Kane, Misery, Love Island and more throughout.