Both Miller and his flawed psychiatrist would be more frustrating characters in the hands of another author, but Clarke has again proven himself a deft engineer of plots. Exley's 300 pages move with irresistible momentum at a pace just comfortably short of dizzying; that every wrench he throws at its spokes are greased with delicious questions and complications elevates the book from simply fun to gratifying.

Christopher Gray can be reached

EXLEY | by Brock Clarke | Algonquin Books | 303 pages | $24.95 | reading at Longfellow Books, Portland | Oct 21 @ 7 pm | Free | 207.772.4045

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