Book Review: "Reunion at Red Paint Bay" by George Harrar

book cover image of Reunion at Red Paint Bay by George Harrar

Simon Howe has quite the comfortable life. He has a loving, intelligent wife, an energetic son, and is currently the owner and editor of his very small town’s weekly newspaper. His 25th High School Reunion is coming up, and it seems like his two biggest problems are his son’s behavior and coming up with next weeks headline. I mean, the image of the Virgin Mary doesn’t show up in the dirt every week… but then the postcards start coming in. Strange and anonymous, the postcards allude to some sort of payback, but Simon can’t fathom the reason or the sender. Then there are strange occurrences happening all around him…. and to his wife and son. What exactly is going on here? Is Simon hiding something? Has someone mistaken Simon for someone else?

I’m rather torn on this book. I had some issues with a few kind of major things… first being the characters. I didn’t particularly like any of them. The son was pretty flat and the somewhat stereotypical “troublesome preteen”. The wife is supposed to be a therapist, and yet isn’t particularly warm or understanding, and also jumps to conclusions and stays there. I had a little trouble believing in her. Also, the ending of the book was quite unsatisfying for me. There is considerable build up, there is a twist that you are not expecting, and then…. the last few pages are as if they belong to a different book. I don’t particularly mind when the ending is left to the reader’s imagination once the last page is turned, but this just seemed like too much is left open.

Now, these are big things, right? But this aside, I cannot deny the fact that this book was super creepy. The psychological suspense aspect of this book is done really really well. It is really quite unsettling as you start to see in the post card sender’s mind, start realizing just how unstable this person is and even the motivation (as this person sees it) is also powerful. I really like when a book can get under my skin like that. It is so unnerving! It makes you wonder how well you can really know a person? Can a person change or is their past always a part of who they are today? Are we responsible for our own misery? While this book may not answer these questions for you, it will get you thinking (you know, once you stop looking twice at that stranger you pass on the street).

*****

Reunion at Red Paint Bay
by George Harrar
Other Press, 2013
288 pages
Source:  Publisher for honest review
*****
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