After a decade living in England, Jeremy O'Keefe returns to New York, where he has been hired as a professor of German history at New York University. Though comfortable in his new life, and happy to be near his daughter once again, Jeremy continues to feel the quiet pangs of loneliness. Walking through the city at night, it's as though he could disappear and no one would even notice.
But soon, Jeremy's life begins taking strange turns: boxes containing records of his online activity are delivered to his apartment, a young man seems to be following him, and his elderly mother receives anonymous phone calls slandering her son. Why, he wonders, would anyone want to watch him so closely, and, even more upsetting, why would they alert him to the fact that he was being watched?
As Jeremy takes stock of the entanglements that marked his years abroad, he wonders if he has unwittingly committed a crime so serious as to make him an enemy of the state. Moving towards a shattering reassessment of what it means to be free in a time of ever more intrusive surveillance, Jeremy is forced to ask himself whether he is "no one," as he believes, or a traitor not just to his country but to everyone around him. ~Goodreads Blurb
Drawn in by an intriguing blurb and a rather nicely designed cover, I was looking forward to this "literary thriller" as Sam Sacks of The Wall Street Journal called it. While the Times Literary Supplement called said "The tension is delicious..." I'm going to have to disagree with them. This latest novel from author Patrick Flanery, while entertaining and interesting, was not a tasty morsel for me. The "delicious tension" felt rather drawn out. I found myself putting it down for other books instead of being encapsulated in the book's world. I was often left wondering if the main character was simply loosing his mind, and I was following an unreliable narrator.
The argument that I feel was presented about security seemed to be the author's main focus. Though the characters were all fleshed out in a brilliant manner, I didn't find myself connecting with Jeremy O'Keefe, our American with English manners professor. If anything I found his wallowing rather annoying rather than sympathetic. While I usually prefer books to films because I can find out more about what the characters are thinking, in this case I found myself wishing for less introspection and more action to move the story along.
Another reader might find this entertaining and it may simply be that the story was not what I was expecting. In which case that is on me not the author. I would simply leave this review as a warning to take this book up with no expectations and let it mold your experience rather than try to fit it into the mold the back blurb promised.
*This book was provided by Blogging For Books and Tim Duggan Books in exchange for honest feedback*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer