Unreliable: A Novel (Hardcover)
Riotous and riveting, this is the story of a charming college professor who most definitely did not—but maybe did—kill his ex-wife. Or someone else. Or no one. Irby plays with the thriller trope in unimaginably clever ways.
Edwin Stith, a failed novelist and college writing instructor in upstate New York, is returning home for the weekend to Richmond, Virginia, to celebrate his mother's wedding—to a much younger man. Edwin has a peculiar relationship with the truth. He is a liar who is brutally honest. He may or may not be sleeping with his students, he may or may not be getting fired, and he may or may not have killed his ex-wife, a lover, and his brand-new stepsister.
Stith's dysfunctional homecoming leads him deep into a morass of long-gestating secrets and dangers, of old-flames still burning strong and new passions ready to consume everything he holds dear. But family dysfunction is only eclipsed by Edwin's own, leading to profound suspense and utter hilarity. Lee Irby has crafted a sizzling modern classic of dark urges, lies, and secrets that harks back to the unsettling obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe—with a masterful ending that will have you thinking for days.
About the Author
LEE IRBY teaches history at Eckerd College and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the author of the historical mysteries 7,000 Clams and The Up and Up.
"Creepy, twisted, darkly funny, and totally riveting, Lee Irby's Unreliable kept me guessing from the first page to last. You'll be off kilter the whole ride on this tilt-a-whirl of a book, and you'll enjoy every second."
—Lisa Unger, The New York Times bestselling author of Ink and Bone
“Lee Irby's Unreliable is just that—a wild ride of a story you can't trust but won't want to put down."
—Lori Rader-Day, Anthony Award winning author of The Black Hour
"Unreliable is, in truth, irresistible – an impressive high-wire act of a thriller combining the comic and the tragic in pitch-perfect style. Think Edgar Allen Poe meets Steve Martin with drugs, sex, and rock and roll tossed in, or maybe it is Psycho transported to the lunatic Deep South. Readers will race along, wondering whodunnit--and sometimes if it was even dun--but by the time the ride is over they will be laughing too hard to remember the question."
—Les Standiford, The New York Times bestselling author of Last Train to Paradise
"A tour de force of unreliable first-person narration . . . The Tell-Tale Heart meets Lolita."
—The Tampa Bay Times
"A quietly simmering tale . . . Unreliable is paced like a thriller . . . akin to books like Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys or John Cheever’s classic story 'The Swimmer.'"
—The Providence Journal
"At once side-splittingly funny and nerve-wrackingly sinister, Unreliable reads like a whirling dervish on speed straight through its gasp-inducing conclusion. And Irby’s fevered imagination channels a place in time travel where Edgar Allan Poe and Tom Robbins might have collaborated in unexpected harmony."
"A viciously delicious thriller . . . Unreliable is tense, hypnotic and elegantly assembled."