CINEMA: CRIMES OF THE HEART

A POWERFUL THRILLER ABOUT LOYALTY AND VENGEANCE

When Lorenzo Carcaterra published Sleepers last year, he said his book--about brutal child abuse in a New York reform school in the 1960s and the long-delayed but satisfying revenge four of the victims gain on their tormentors--was a true and, indeed, autobiographical tale. His story, however, did not check out to the satisfaction of investigating journalists, who could find no hard evidence to support his claim. The author's defense was that he had changed names and details to protect his pals.

Undeterred by the minor literary scandal that ensued and obviously a sucker for a rattling good (if wildly improbable) yarn,...