“The Big Picture” by Douglas Kennedy
“The Big Picture” is a very appealing, well written mystery. Douglas Kennedy's premier novel opens calmly, but possesses an insidious catching quality that is superbly disquieting. So let me make a brief review of the plot.
Ben Bradford is main hero whose father expects him to follow in the lawyer field, but Ben is a born photographer. After a running battle through college, and more than one failed relationship, Ben does his father's bidding and becomes a lawyer. He marries Beth, “…the most beautiful and tempting girl in the Universe”. Although they plan to continue both of their careers and never live in the suburbs, they end up “in the burbs with Beth at home trapped with young children”. Their marriage goes very sour.
Beth becomes involved with a photographer neighbour and Ben kills the man in a fit of rage. The main hero then removes all signs of the murder, and assumes the dead man's identity. This requires Ben to stage his own death and disappearance. Posing as the murdered man, Ben goes west to small town Montana, and becomes the photographer he always wanted to be. His incredible success almost causes him to be recognized as the fraud he is.
One person does figure out the real essence and threatens to blackmail Ben for the rest of his life. In a fortuitous car crash, Ben is given another chance at life when the blackmailer is killed, but mistaken for Ben. Meanwhile, the woman he has now fallen in love with discovers Ben is a fraud. She is also pregnant with Ben's child. Ben is now totally at her mercy in terms of identity and finances.
She decides to take a chance on Ben for the long run of marriage and a family. She finds a new home and job in Los Angelis and lead hero digs up a third identity. Ben finds contentment “in a simple homelife and begins building his photographic career once more. "
So let me go in further details concerning such an interesting and resonant main hero and magical...
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