The Bottom Line: An addictive, erotic and unsettling psychological thriller that seizes from the very first page and never lets go.
Confrontation isn’t easy for anyone, much less a public speaker faced with a determined heckler. Accordingly, Nesly Clerge’s latest thriller manages to pull off one of the most memorable openings in recent memory, as Dr. Bernadette Moore – on a book tour for her New York Times bestseller – finds her credibility challenged by a fellow psychologist in the crowd. After an uncomfortable back-and-forth before a live audience, Moore reveals just why she’s an expert on the subject: “I’ve been divorced twice, cheated on, and did the cheating. That’s why I’m more than qualified to do what I do.”
The testy exchange earns Dr. Moore a new fan as well as a patient in Chelsea Hall. Chelsea is convinced that her husband is cheating on her. But Chelsea’s no angel either, having formed a secretive – if platonic – relationship with her husband’s brother, Richard. Told in part through therapy sessions with Dr. Moore, The Anatomy of Cheating gets more frantic, and the stakes higher, with each chapter.
To be clear, this isn’t your garden variety psychological thriller. Author Nesly Clergy seems to be carving out a genre of his own, having created a complex relationship drama, romantic suspense and murder mystery all in one. It is soapy at times? Absolutely! But somehow, in Clergy’s hands, each dose of scathing dialogue (“The thing you need to understand, Penelope, is that to me, you’re nothing more than a sex toy”) only increases the level of delicious intrigue. Let’s hope Clergy has another Dr. Moore novel in him. If all her patients are like this, sign us up for an entire series!