Praiseworthy Novelist: Elizabeth Dewberry

Backed by advance praise from critics and fellow authors, Elizabeth Dewberry has embarked on a book tour promoting her latest novel, Sacrament of Lies (Blue Hen-Putnam, $23.95).

The literary thriller is a fluid dramatic monologue that explores truth and madness. Grayson Guillory, daughter of the governor of Louisiana, suspects her power-hungry father of murdering her mother with help from her new husband. She's discovered a videotape in which her mentally ill mother accuses the governor of plotting her murder, but as Guillory searches for clues, she begins to doubt her own sanity. Her paranoia builds by increments, as she fears both that she's inherited her mother's delusional illness and that she hasn't.

In this role-reversed twist on Hamlet, the mystery isn't who done it; it's whether or not anything has been done at all. Naturally the plot intertwines some Louisiana politics — which, as Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Richard Ford says on the dust jacket, means sex, death, money, ambition and of course moral loss. Ford calls the book, ... a neat, fast-paced, immensely readable and smart murder mystery. It's certainly not the kind of book that puts people to bed at night.

Dewberry is the author of two previous novels, Many Things Have Happened Since He Died: And Here Are the Highlights (Vintage Contemporaries) and Break the Heart of Me (Doubleday). She's also the Playwright-in-Residence at Florida State University and the author of one one-act play, Head On, and two full-length plays, Flesh and Blood and Four Joans and a Fire-Eater.

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