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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
For The Love Of Alison is a murder mystery/psychological thriller novel written by Sahlan Diver. Thirty years ago, life was both simpler and, at times, more magical for David Buckley. He was a student and an aspiring playwright in Birmingham, and he met Alison Tindell when she auditioned for the university drama society. David was instantly taken with her gift for mimicry, her comedic timing and her generally flawless and funny portrayal of the royal family. They soon became best friends, attending left wing marches and protests. David had actually fallen in love with his “friend,” but Alison’s eyes were always elsewhere. Her casual and easy flings, even with the English professor he had introduced her to, were something he endured while silently suffering.
Now, out of the blue, an older and possibly wiser David was astonished to hear from his old friend. She had called the newspaper office where he worked and asked him to come see her. She didn’t seem like the old Alison, even accounting for the thirty long years difference, but she knew all the old stories, and her laugh was as sexy as ever. That strangeness was accentuated by the abhorrent politics of her husband and the idea that she would marry someone with such different political views. Then Alison announced that the amateur dramatics society was putting on one of his old plays, a play he barely remembered. She asked if he’d help her run some lines in it. And, with that innocent return to his collegiate past, David’s life was forever changed.
Sahlan Diver’s psychological thriller novel, For The Love Of Alison, has the twists, turns and insights into the darker side of nature that would make it eminently suitable for a Hitchcock movie if that venerable filmmaker were still alive and at his craft. David is the consummate good guy who by chance becomes a pawn in a murderous plot, and his nemesis, the suavely sinister and polished psychologist Brian Peters, is alternately repellent and appealing. Diver’s plot is intricate and twisty, complete with red herrings and false clues, keeping the tension and uncertainty alive throughout the story. Diver deftly weaves past and present in this work, making this psychological tour de force more akin to a deeply felt experience than merely reading a novel. For The Love Of Alison is most highly recommended.