Gabriel is presented in a very different fashion by Theo and Alicia, the two narrators of the novel. Theo characterizes Gabriel as a sleezy and shallow photographer whose work is trendy but of little artistic merit. Alicia, in comparison, thinks the world of Gabriel, whom she loves with a passionate intensity. Unlike Theo and Alicia, Gabriel had a charmed upbringing as the unexpected son of a couple who thought they were unable to conceive. His adopted brother, Max, holds him in great admiration, though Max fails to live up to his brother’s handsome appearance and charming manners.  

Though Alicia’s journal entries express how deeply she loves Gabriel, they also inadvertently reveal some of his shortcomings. He does not observe his brother’s predatory behavior towards his wife, and when Alicia feels that she is being stalked, he dismisses her concerns as symptoms of paranoia stemming from mental illness. The end of the novel reveals that Gabriel has been conducting an affair with Theo’s wife Kathy, hiding his affair from Alicia with various excuses.  

Gabriel’s infidelity, his thoughtless dismissal of Alicia’s claims of being stalked, and his willingness to sacrifice Alicia for his own safety set the stage for his murder.