Read Me

Leo Benedictus. Twelve, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5387-1147-7
In this chilling yet disappointing psychological thriller from Benedictus (The Afterparty), an unnamed narrator keeps a written record of his unusual hobby: stalking. When his aunt dies and leaves him a fortune, the narrator is given all the free time he needs to indulge in the stalking of random women in an unspecified city, spying on them via webcams and hidden microphones, as well as simply overhearing conversations. His one rule is not to become personally involved with any of his victims—but he breaks that rule when he spots Frances, a beautiful young woman who works for a consulting firm. Frances has just been suspended because of an anonymous email accusing her of fraud and other misdeeds. The narrator takes it upon himself to mete out justice (or vengeance) on Frances’s behalf where he thinks it necessary. Switching back and forth between the first and third persons, the narrative feels unnecessarily complicated. The narrator is appropriately a cipher, but Frances is so bland that it is difficult to understand the narrator’s obsession with her. In the end, hampered by long-winded philosophical asides by the narrator, the novel doesn’t work up enough suspense to be worthy of its premise. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 08/07/2018
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-1968-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-1970-5
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