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A Good Man by Ani Katz #BookReview

Thomas Martin was a devoted family man who had all the trappings of an enviable life: a beautiful wife and daughter, a well-appointed home on Long Island’s north shore, a job at a prestigious Manhattan advertising firm. He was also a devoted son and brother, shielding the women in his orbit from the everyday brutalities of the world.

But what happens when Thomas’s fragile ego is rocked? After committing a horrific deed — that he can never undo — Thomas grapples with his sense of self. Sometimes he casts himself as a victim and, at other times, a monster. All he ever did was try to be a good man, but maybe if he tells his version of the story, he might uncover how and why things unraveled so horribly.

A Good Man by Ani Katz book cover

Title: A Good Man | Author: Ani Katz | Publisher: Penguin Books | Pub. Date: 14 January 2020 | Pages: 224 | ISBN: 9780143134985 | Genre: Psychological Thriller | Language: English | Starred Review: Yes | Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

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A Good Man Review

‘A Good Man’ is a novel that is shocking, gripping and deeply effective but also, I fear, hard to review without spoiling.  It’s one of those books that you know is going to end badly from page one. A mysterious impending doom hangs over everything that happens, leaving you constantly looking for clues as to what is going to go wrong. It’s horrible, but impossible to look away from.

It tells the story of a successful advertising executive with a happy family life but an unhappy past. He lives with his French wife and their eleven-year-old daughter, their existence described in scenes so convincingly normal that they really add to the overall horror of the book. His mother and sisters play a large part too, living in a large house in the middle of nowhere. They’re distressingly eccentric, and the chapters they feature in play out like something from Shirley Jackson’s ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’. Despite their oddities they too are convincing, their neuroses painful to witness.

As well as Jackson, the book owes a debt to Gillian Flynn. The central character is deliciously unreliable as a narrator, frequently challenged by others over his recollection of events so that you never really know if what you are reading is real or imagined. This adds to the disturbing quality of the book. It’s disorienting and strangely eerie, like being trapped in someone else’s nightmare.

At just over 200 pages ‘A Good Man’ is refreshingly short and demands to be read as quickly as possible., Despite the fact that many of the scenes are of everyday life, I found that I couldn’t put it down. Ani Katz is an excellent writer, and my mention of Flynn and Jackson is meant to highlight her talent rather than to suggest the book is derivative. It stands on its own two feet: bleak, upsetting, chilling and memorable. Highly recommended, but don’t blame me if it leaves you shaken.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Content Warning:

Rape, child abuse

Published inStarred ReviewsThriller Book Reviews
©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
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