Red Paint calls itself 'the friendliest town in Maine', a place where everyone knows one another and nothing too disturbing ever happens. Native son Simon Howe is a sturdy family man-a good father and husband-and owner-editor of the town's newspaper. One day Simon's predictable and peaceful life is disrupted by the arrival of an anonymous postcard, the first in a series of increasingly menacing messages. He tries to ignore them, but the implied danger becomes more real. Secrets from Simon's past are uncovered, escalating toward an unexpected climax.
"Actions even those that are unintended or misunderstood have consequences, as Simon Howe, owner and editor of the weekly newspaper in his hometown of Red Paint, Maine, is about to learn. With his twenty-fifth high-school reunion approaching, pillar-of-the-community Howe begins receiving anonymous postcards with cryptic and increasingly threatening messages. At the same time, a mysterious man turns up in town and begins stalking Howe's family, sidling up to his 11-year-old son, Davey, at a carnival; spilling secrets to his therapist wife, Amy; even violating the sanctity of his home. The level of suspense and menace increases as the stalker's identity and purpose become clear, and Howe is forced to confront what he did on his graduation night and how those actions reverberated in the lives of others. Harrar tackles some big issues here, notably vengeance, guilt, and absolution, with the underlying question of when sex becomes rape. But messages aside, this is tightly written psychological suspense from the author of The Spinning Man (2003). Harrar is one of those writers on the verge of connecting with a much larger audience; this could be his moment.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Simon Howe edits the local newspaper in Red Paint, the "Friendliest Town in Maine," a community out of a Norman Rockwell painting where everybody knows everyone and a man losing a toe in an accident at the city landfill is front-page news. The placid surface of Simon's life is ruptured when he begins receiving anonymous postcards from someone who appears to be coming closer and closer to Red Paint. The postcards, we soon learn, are the work of a creepy former local who now calls himself Paul Chambers and believes Simon raped a girl decades ago during a drunken graduation party that Simon only hazily recalls. Harrar, author of novels for adults (The Spinning Man) and young adults (Parents Wanted), does a creditable job of creating an idyllically dull town, but the book is strongest when God-haunted Paul pierces Simon's cocoon of security in a bent quest for revenge, particularly in a chilling chapter when Paul sneaks into Simon's home and watches him sleep. Clumsy plotting mars the conclusion, and Harrar's prose is never any better than serviceable, but those who like their thrillers on the tame side will find a pleasant, if simple, diversion. Agent: Esmond Harmsworth, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved