Trust Me by Earl Javorsky is a crime thriller that snares the reader’s interest from the beginning. The novel opens with a prologue in which a woman named Marilyn Fenner meets an unexplained death and the reader is taken on a white knuckle ride before the mystery is unravelled.
Unlike most crime thrillers, this novel is not driven by a cop protagonist. Instead there are four main characters whose lives are loosely connected and become even more so as the plot develops. Jeff Fenner makes an unlikely hero as the drug dealing, heavy drinking brother of the dead Marilyn. He is helped to sobriety by Ron Pool, a journalist and ex-alcoholic. Ron Pool has rebuilt his life around health regimes and self help groups, much to the amusement of his hard bitten detective friend, Joe Greiner. Holly Barnes is another troubled character whose path crosses with those of Ron and Jeff at a self help group meeting.
It is Ron who first questions the official ruling of suicide on Marilyn’s death. He spots a link between a spate of so-called suicides and the self help group Save Our Lives (SOL). He calls on the help of Joe and there follows an investigation into a sinister world of manipulation and corruption.
At the heart of the group is Art Bradley, a charismatic therapist. His true character is gradually revealed as he gets his hooks into Holly, drawing her deeper and deeper into his world. It is this relationship that provides the novel with much of its tension.
One of the things I like about the novel is the fact that it is set in LA with a backdrop of the seemingly rich and successful party crowd. Javorsky uses his story to dispel our illusions of LA by focusing on a dark seam running through all the surface glamour.
He also explores the theme of mental health problems and the prevalent use of prescription drugs. He uses the characters of Holly and Jeff to demonstrate how easy it is for people to become disconnected from who they are and what they want. The popularity of groups such as SOL reflects the way in which people can become lost in modern society.
I really enjoyed Trust Me and if you’re looking for an exciting but thoughtful read that defies you to put it down then I recommend you give it a try.