Private Lies

344 pages

The book that fueled an unprecedented bidding war in a Hollywood commission before it was published.

Two couples are caught in an emotional web of adultery and deception that turns deadly on an African safari. 

Ken Kramer, a Manhattan advertising copywriter and his wife Sheila, appear to have a comfortable life and loving marriage. But when Ken is taken along on a business dinner and introduced to the wife of his wife’s major client, we discover she is Ken’s old flame — in fact, the love of his life and the object of his sexual obsession as a young man. Baffled by her non-recognition, he learns that she has totally reinvented herself and snagged a rich husband who has no knowledge of her real early life. Unbeknownst to Ken, his own wife is carrying on a steamy affair with the client. When the love and sexual obsession between Ken and his old love bursts into flames again, the plot thickens as both couples embark on an African Safari with startling and tragic results.


“Once again Adler (War of the Roses) focuses not on the redemptive power of love but on its capacity for destruction, in this case in the form of all-consuming sexual passion. When Ken Kramer and Carol Stein meet at a dinner arranged by their spouses, it has been 20 years since they ended their incendiary affair. Inexorably, the old erotic flame draws them together, but they are not the same people they once were. She, having failed as a professional ballerina, has married pompous Eliot Butterfield for his money; Eliot had hoped to become the next Hemingway but he’s writing advertising copy instead. This is not, however, a story of lost dreams and new chances, for Ken and Carol are not the lone adulterers: antiseptic Maggie Kramer and Carol’s formerly stodgy hubby have discovered orgasmic ecstasy in each other. Before the philandering foursome heads off on safari (from which only three will return) of stolen moments among famished crocodiles and stampeding elephants.” — Publishers Weekly