(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“…I learned how a body could become a beautiful contribution to the power of cosmetics…the most exquisite, deepest shade of blood red lipstick you’ve’ ever seen, rich soaps made from the finest fats…all those parts put to wondrous use for our benefit. And for those who used them. Little did they know: they were using me for forbidden sexual pleasure… The entire business cycle bloomed into a beautiful, profitable circle, one that hasn’t even been close to being broken since its inception.”
How could Sophia Varga get involved in all of this? She knows she has a physical need to kill and an even greater desire to control. Cutting up her victims for profit doesn’t even faze her. Is this behavior innate or was it from her mother, or Claude, her business partner?
While in San Francisco, Sophia spots Paul, and becomes obsessed with him. She envies his ability to show compassion; she wants to become more “human”, like him. Even sociopathic Sophia finds the need for self-examination. However, Paul winds up being more than she can handle.
That’s only part of the story though. There is Celestine, a photographer who is obsessed with Sophia; there’s also Tamara, a transsexual who runs a local coffee shop. Unbeknownst to each other, all three left New Orleans to escape to San Francisco. As the story progresses, they step into each other’s lives . By looking into their pasts, we then realize that they have a lot more in common than one would ever suspect.
This psychological thriller hits you from the beginning with perverse action and vivid detail. It will initially make you feel uncomfortable and you may want to hastily put it down at Chapter One, but please don’t. You’ll get sucked in— just like I did—and then won’t be able to put it down. What Lies Within is exactly want I crave in a thriller: a character-driven story (with flawed characters) and a strong, complex plot.
This is not for the faint of heart or stomach, but if you enjoy unique and gritty crime thrillers, this one is definitely for you. I’m look forward to more from this author.