A unusual and clever psychological study where the protagonist is also the antagonist. But does he realise this?
This story unfolds gently, without the reader realising what they are dealing with. It is told in the first person, "a good man" who acts in the best interest of his family and his workplace. He is the provider and the protector. He does his best to be the good man he should be.
The tale flips back to his childhood in his dysfunctional family. Things have been rough for him with an abusive father and weak mother, the death of his sister to whom he was close. His younger sisters did not mature very well and remain as children. But he takes care of them financially and by doing the odd jobs around the house. He gets married o a wonderful woman and they have a well-loved daughter.
It is easy to let the little signs slip by. Only on reflection the clues become obvious, so perhaps a second reading is in order. But then we would not be on the Good Man's journey with him.
He justifies his actions by always acting as the protector and provider. The more unsavory things are dismissed and minimised in his recollections as "maybe I..." He is a good man, he is not unfaithful, for example, he believes. After a while he stops using the names of his wife and daughter and refers to them as "his girls", relegating them to immature things he needs to take care of.
Suddenly his apparently perfect life is interrupted when he is accused of something dreadful and he has to face up to it. And this, ultimately, is his undoing.
The writing style uses minimal punctuation with regard to speech, but this works well when told from the first-person perspective. The story generally has a good flow considering the time hopping aspect, and the diction is apt.
A book that is timeless and topical about the role of men and masculinity and the pressure this puts on men and women alike. Original in that it is from the man's point of view, refreshing and disturbing. Engrossing, chilling, tense and very skilfully expressed. Katz is a writer to keep an eye on. Recommended as the best domestic noir I have ever read.
Published by Cornerstone Digital on 16 January 2020. Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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