Review of 'Now You See Him'

2008-12-10 00:00

NOW You See Him is a roller coaster of a book — it starts off quite slowly, like a roller coaster inching its way up the first steep incline, and then hurtles you at speed to its startling conclusion. Briefly, it tells the story of Nick Framingham, a man stuck in a failing marriage and a seemingly unfulfilling job in the small town of Monarch, in upstate New York.

His life, and that of the sleepy town, is turned upside down when Nick’s childhood friend, Rob Castor, a minor writing celebrity, murders his estranged girlfriend and then commits suicide. Rob’s actions are incomprehensible to Nick who has always looked up to him as the leader of the gang, the attractive golden boy who took him — a nerdy little guy — under his wing. The pair had been like brothers, something which was especially important to Nick whose home life was characterised by a distant father and the death of his older brother.

Rob’s death prompts Nick to start re-evaluating his life and his journey is gut wrenching for both character and reader. As he comes to terms with his loss, he has to deal with the pain of finding and losing love, the ties of parenthood, the pain that comes from revealing long-held family secrets and, ultimately, the price of loyalty. His path leads you to a conclusion that will leave you stunned.

Now You See Him is an ambitious novel, and one which encourages the reader to ask: “How well do I know myself?”, and “How well do I know my friends?”.

Like Nick you may find the answers surprising.

Estelle Sinkins

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