The Accomplice: A Novel - book cover
Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher : Ballantine Books
  • Published : 25 Jan 2022
  • Pages : 368
  • ISBN-10 : 1984818260
  • ISBN-13 : 9781984818263
  • Language : English

The Accomplice: A Novel

Everyone has the same questions about best friends Owen and Luna: What binds them together so tightly? Why weren't they ever a couple? And why do people around them keep turning up dead? In this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Passenger, every answer raises a new, more chilling question.
"Masterfully plotted, The Accomplice is both a keep-you-guessing mystery and a keenly and tenderly observed character study."-Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home

Owen Mann is charming, privileged, and chronically dissatisfied. Luna Grey is secretive, cautious, and pragmatic. Despite their differences, they form a bond the moment they meet in college. Their names soon become indivisible-Owen and Luna, Luna and Owen-and stay that way even after an unexplained death rocks their social circle.

They're still best friends years later, when Luna finds Owen's wife brutally murdered. The police investigation sheds light on some long-hidden secrets, but it can't penetrate the wall of mystery that surrounds Owen. To get to the heart of what happened and why, Luna has to dig up the one secret she's spent her whole life burying.

The Accomplice brilliantly examines the bonds of shared history, what it costs to break them, and what happens when you start wondering how well you know the one person who truly knows you.

Editorial Reviews

"There's no one in crime fiction more inventive than Lisa Lutz, and The Accomplice is her greatest sleight of hand yet. Wry and menacing, with the gravity-defying grace of a skipped stone, The Accomplice is at once a suspenseful thrill ride, a deep and disquieting meditation on friendship, and a Wes Anderson comedy rolled into one. After this, I'd read her grocery list."-Amy Gentry, bestselling author of Good as Gone and Bad Habits

"Masterfully plotted, The Accomplice is both a keep-you-guessing mystery-like, seriously, I didn't see any of it coming-and a keenly and tenderly observed character study and portrait of a beautiful friendship complicated by a strange body count that keeps growing around them. I was rooting for Owen and Luna, but murder has a way of testing the bounds of even the tightest of best friends."-Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home

"[An] atmospheric, well-plotted, and brilliantly narrated story, which is at once mysterious, suspenseful, and witty."-Booklist (starred review)

"Quirky characters, humor in unexpected places, and a twisty but plausible plot keep the pages turning. Readers will be torn between eagerness to get to the bottom of the novel's mysteries-and reluctance for the adventure to end."-Publishers Weekly

Short Excerpt Teaser

September 2002

Owen Mann first noticed Luna Grey in an Intro to Ethics seminar. He would watch her, fascinated by the way she hunched over her notebook, scribbling, glancing up occasionally to see if anyone was watching her. Owen thought she was pretty, pretty in a way that might last or grow on you. She definitely wasn't one of those beauties who made you do crazy things. By all objective standards, Luna appeared normal, reliable, and even a bit square. Owen, however, saw past Luna's ordinary armor. He recognized a feral quality in her. He saw a girl roiling with secrets. And he would have paid good money to know a few of them.

Luna always knew when someone was watching her. Sometimes she'd wait it out. Other times she'd stare back and force the prying eyes to withdraw. When Luna glanced back at Owen, he smiled brightly, even though they'd never met. What the hell was he smiling about, she thought. Luna had seen Owen before. It occurred to her that he might know who she was. But the smile was wrong for someone who had her number. The girl sitting next to Owen was trying to get his attention. When the girl saw where Owen's eyes had landed, she fixed her gaze on Luna, shifting it from curious to withering within seconds. Luna quickly turned away. She'd seen that expression too many times to count.

In her head, Luna repeated, They don't know, they don't know.


A few days later, Owen ditched the glaring girl and sat in Luna's row, a few seats away. Luna felt her whole body tense up, until Owen fell fast asleep and didn't stir, even after the lecture was over. Luna tapped him on the shoulder to wake him as she climbed over his legs, clearing out of class. Owen rubbed his eyes, shook himself awake, and chased after her.

"Hello . . ." Owen said, as he caught up with Luna and began to walk in stride. "I don't know your name."

"I don't know your name," Luna said.

Owen had a stupid grin on his face. If she didn't have a secret, he thought, it would be deeply disappointing. Luna couldn't decide if the smile was taunting or goofy. Owen stepped in front of Luna and extended his hand.

"Owen Mann. A pleasure to meet you," he said.

Luna kept her hand by her side, debating whether to respond in kind.

"What can I do for you, Owen Mann?" Luna said.

"Has anyone ever told you that you have the social graces of a mobster?"

Luna fought hard not to laugh. "That might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me," she said.

Luna offered her name; Owen explained why he'd followed her. He'd slept through the Kant lecture and wanted to borrow her notes.

"Why my notes?" Luna asked.

Owen shrugged. "Don't know. But they have to be your notes."

Luna weighed the request. Then she leafed through the notebook to confirm there was no personal information in there and handed it to this Owen guy. They agreed to meet an hour later at the library.

Markham University was a small liberal-­arts college in the Hudson Valley. It sat on twenty acres of dense woods and prided itself on self-­directed independent study. It was also a safe haven for lazy stoners who wanted a break from life. Think summer camp with cushier accommodations. Markham U was Luna's first choice and Owen's third-­backup school.

Owen chose a seat on the third floor of Bancroft Library, at a desk nestled by a wall of windows. He opened Luna's notebook and poised his pen over a blank pad. Once he examined her text, he dropped the pen and visibly slumped in his chair. He couldn't decipher a single sentence of her handwriting.

As he stared at the mysterious script, it occurred to him that she was writing in code. Either way, it was aesthetically pleasing. He took out his sketch pad and rendered an abstract interpretation of Luna's notes. Then he removed his headphones from his backpack, blasted Mogwai on his MP3 player, and looked out the library window, watching the human traffic on the quad.

Luna arrived at the library five minutes before the one-­hour mark.

"Done?" she said.

"Can anyone read your writing?" Owen asked.

"No. Never," Luna said, relieved.

"Then why did you give your notes to me?"

"I thought you might be the first."

Owen liked her voice. It was deep, deadpan. Her pitch rarely wavered, even when she asked a question. Most people were cautious and slow to warm around Luna. Owen just barreled forward, unafraid.

"I'm going to need you to translate," Owen said.

He pulled out a chair and slid the notebook across the desk. He waited for Luna to sit, not even considering that she wouldn't. Luna accepted the chair and reviewed her notes. Sometimes, even she had trouble reading them. Above her ...