Toronto Book Review

15

HIDE AND BE BY GARY L. STUART

In Stuart’s legal novel, a case involving mistaken identity takes on a sinister new dimension.

The protagonist, Martin Cheshire, finds himself on trial for the murder of his twin brother, Arthur. However, before proceedings can commence, the authorities must ascertain Martin’s true identity. There’s uncertainty surrounding whether he is indeed Martin Cheshire or Arthur Cheshire, as he now claims. The prosecutor candidly admits, “None of us are confident about who Mr. Cheshire is.” The brothers’ history of impersonation adds complexity to the situation, compounded by doubts about the sanity of the man in custody.

Dr. Lisbeth Socorro from Psychiatric Evaluation Services is tasked with unraveling this enigma through regular sessions with Martin (or Arthur) at a detention facility in San Diego. As she delves into his past, a tale of a tumultuous upbringing in Portland, Maine, unfolds, marked by deception, embezzlement, arson, and their peculiar game, “Hide and Be.”

Stuart adeptly portrays a range of characters, from the authoritative judge presiding over the case to the convincingly erratic twins. Arthur’s recollection of assuming Martin’s identity and engaging intimately with his girlfriend reveals the complexity of their relationship dynamics.

Drawing from his experience as a trial lawyer, the author meticulously depicts the courtroom proceedings and pays attention to intricate details throughout the narrative. Readers will relish untangling this perplexing mystery, which eschews conventional twists in favor of more unexpected developments.

Overall, Stuart’s novel presents a sophisticated legal thriller that explores the essence of identity.

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