SANDRINE'S CASE, by Thomas H. Cook

This is such a pleasure to review. I don't know where the dividing line between mainstream and literary novels actually lies, but I'm pretty sure Sandrine's Case straddles it. Author Cook, with about thirty fiction books, a dozen or so non-fiction and anthologies, plus many awards (Edgars and such), shows his mastery of the writer's craft with this intricate, time-leaping novel.
I've never seen present and past tenses mixed with such impeccable skill; nor have I seen a basically unlikeable protagonist - sarcastic, withdrawn, cold-natured, cynical - better drawn. Professor Sam Madison, is portrayed with the finest of word images, each piece building up as his personality is revealed. And the impossible situation Madison finds himself in is unforgettable: he is on trial for taking Sandrine's - his ailing wife - life. Has he killed her? Is he being framed? As the evidence mounts, you'll be wondering the same...right to the last chapter Told in first person, you will be drawn in and held by this compelling tale. A 5+.