For The Love Of Alison

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
275 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

"For the Love of Alison" began life as a not very promising stage play, entitled "Here Be Clowns". The play opened well but was let down by a lame ending. I could think of a whole lot of better endings which could be done in a novel but not on stage, so I decided to revamp the story as a novel. But still I wasn't satisfied. The tale lacked bite. Then I thought of a massive surprise reveal that could happen nine chapters in that turned the story on its head. It all hinges on doubt. Is this person alive? Is she dead? Does she even exist outside of the protagonist's imagination? It's the classic unreliable narrator novel. Or is it?

    Book Review

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.

Lesley Jones

In For The Love Of Alison by Sahlan Diver, failed author-turned-journalist David Buckley was rejected by his childhood sweetheart, Alison, 30 years ago. The heartbreak resulted in a drug dependency, which caused a mental breakdown and hallucinations that made it hard for him to distinguish between reality and fantasy. When Alison makes contact again, David believes there could be hope of rekindling the relationship, even though Alison is now married to a successful lawyer. David arranges to meet Alison but when he arrives at her home, he finds Alison's husband has been murdered. David is now a suspect and discovers that Alison does not exist as she died 20 years ago. Did he imagine meeting Alison, is he losing his sanity once more, or is Alison really alive? David has no choice but to run from the police so he can prove his innocence and solve the mystery. But with determined detective Jane Magee on his case and not knowing whom he can trust, David must prepare for the biggest challenge of his life.

I loved the engaging style of writing in this novel, and the opening few sentences really caught my interest. Sahlan has an excellent storytelling ability. The author builds the story line gradually and introduces interesting characters that add to the plot in a way that makes the story easy to follow. The plot is constantly moving forward with many surprising actions and revelations from the characters, which provided great twists and excitement to the story. I really liked David as a character; he seemed to have many layers to his personality and was quite tortured. I was rooting for him to clear his name and find peace in his life. Millie had a great feisty spirit which I thought complemented David really well. The cat and mouse game between Magee and David also brought great tension to the story. The ending was brilliant and one I definitely did not see coming.