Christine Mangan’s debut novel, Tangerine, takes us into the twisting and menacing streets and alleyways of 1950s Tangier, Morocco. Beginning as a college student in Vermont, Lucy Mason takes her obsessive love for her wealthy, insecure college roommate, Alice, to this ancient, mysterious city on the brink of revolution. Alice had begun to distance herself from Lucy when the death of her fiancé, Tom, in an unexplained car accident damaged Alice’s already fragile psyche and eventually sent her to the security of marriage to another man. Her healing and newfound self-confidence suffer another blow, however, when her husband’s work takes them to dangerous, frightening Tangier.
The story unfolds in alternating chapters by first Alice, then Lucy. The reader gains snippets of insight into each character’s life and past. But which one is telling the truth? Which one has a true grasp on reality, and which one lives in her own false and tortured version? Perhaps neither.
The novel comes alive in Tangier as Lucy finds the menacing, near lawless atmosphere of Tangerine life to her liking and uses it in her quest to regain Alice. Alice’s anxious, wounded mind is no match for Lucy’s gaslighting and machinations. The novel’s film noir atmosphere and sinister surroundings and characters add up to a superb story of twisted love, deception, suspense and murder. Promised extensive publicity and optioned by George Clooney’s film company, this should be a blockbuster. A must read.