Dianne Dixon's debut novel, The Language of Secrets, is destined to become this year's The Memory Keeper's Daughter and a perennial book club favorite. Part mystery, part psychological thriller, Dixon's novel is an absorbing, provocative and, ultimately, satisfying read from the first page.
The story takes place in two generations, beginning with thirtysomething Justin Fisher returning to his childhood home in California after 10 years in London. What he finds there leads him down a path of disturbing discoveries, one of which is revealed in a cemetery that bears his parents graves - and his own.
Dixon skillfully weaves the story of Justin's past and present in alternating chapters, creating an engrossing tale of loss and betrayal that will leave readers pondering questions of family, identity and belonging.
Dixon, a former screenwriter, wrote the novel four years ago after she was asked to pitch a TV pilot. She said she saw the whole story unfold, went home and wrote the storyline on 17 index cards. When she finished the book, nearly everything she had initially written remained.
The book debuted last week, and Random House is pulling out all the stops for this new novelist, with Twitter and Facebook campaigns, as well as author appearances in Santa Barbara, CA, Los Angeles and Connecticut, all places featured in the book.
Author Sue Grafton lent a rare endorsement, saying The Language of Secrets "will have you puzzled and intrigued right up to the moment Dixon's sleight of hand is revealed."
And it is a humdinger of a twist at the end.
The Language of Secrets has already been chosen as a 2010 Featured Selection by the Literary Guild, the Mystery Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Book of the Month Club online.
Pick it up. You won't be sorry.