Hogarth - 2012
David Henninger, is a British physician who likes to drink a bit too much. He and his wife Jo are an unhappy couple and have been for a while. They've accepted an invitation for the weekend at a lavish estate owned by Richard an old college friend of Davids and his partner, Dally. The estate is located deep in the Moroccan desert. David has already been drinking, the roads are dark and unfamiliar, when suddenly out of nowhere two men leap out from the side of the road. The young men, presumably, were trying to sell fossils by the roadside. David swerves the car but can't stop in time before hitting one of the men and killing him while the other runs off into the desert night.
Not sure what to do and certainly not thinking clearly, David puts the dead young man in the car and brings the dead body to the estate hoping to get advice on how to deal with the situation. The hosts try to keep things quiet but word spreads among the servants and before long the father of Driss, the dead boy, is notified and arrives to claim his son's body. The family is poor and the dead boy's father and the host encourage David to return to the dead boy's home in the desert to help deal with the situation. By agreeing to this he hopes they see this as his way of seeking forgiveness. His wife Jo, seems relieved that she won't have to deal with his husband for a few days. She remains behind with the other party-goers trying to pretend that nothing has happened. Everyone seems to enjoy a bit too much of everything: food, booze, sex and drugs.
The Forgiven is very different from anything I've read in a long while, and although there isn't a lot of action, it's what happens behind the scenes that hooks you. The story doesn't even flow all that smoothly, yet there is was this constant feeling of foreboding that compelled me to read on. The interaction and comments from the guests and the servants showcase the great divide between the very rich and the poor and between the Moroccans and the Infidels. This is one of those novels where none of the characters were likeable, yet I was still compelled to keep reading. The ending was perfect and totally unexpected as well.
Worth Reading - 4.5/5 stars (arc and eGalley)