Reunion at Red Paint Bay

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Overview

Nothing much happens in the small town of Red Paint, the "Friendliest Town in Maine!" It's the kind of place where everyone knows your name, a romantic night out might include meatloaf, and carnivals still hold a kind of magical wonder. Simon Howe, once a promising reporter in Portland, Maine, is the last person anyone would have expected to move back to his childhood home to raise a family. He's owner and editor of the local paper, husband to a hard wife who can't help but play therapist to the family's ...

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Reunion at Red Paint Bay

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Overview

Nothing much happens in the small town of Red Paint, the "Friendliest Town in Maine!" It's the kind of place where everyone knows your name, a romantic night out might include meatloaf, and carnivals still hold a kind of magical wonder. Simon Howe, once a promising reporter in Portland, Maine, is the last person anyone would have expected to move back to his childhood home to raise a family. He's owner and editor of the local paper, husband to a hard wife who can't help but play therapist to the family's problems, and father to a son who seems to be growing up far too quickly. Yet, Simon's quiet existence dramatically changes when he starts receiving threatening messages from an anonymous sender. As Simon tries to identify his stalker, he must also struggle to keep his life and family together as secrets from his past threaten to destroy everything he has built.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher
“Harrar tacklessome 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.” —Booklist

“Harrar skillfully echoes Alfred Hitchcock’s theme about how a seemingly innocent man can be sucked into a disturbing vortex of forces that lie just below the surface of ‘normal’ life.” —Kirkus

"More than a conventional mystery or thriller, "Reunion at Red Paint Bay" lays bare the consequences of guilt, denial, and moral absolutism. The novel can be read on several levels, but it devolves into a book tailored to spur readers into examining the limits of responsibility for one's actions." —Huntington News

“George Harrar tells a remarkable story about a newspaperman who struggles to tell the truth, feeling reluctant to bear the consequences, a story of human failure and hard redemption. The writing, razor-sharp and wildly insightful, creates characters who seem to jump off the page—becoming people we know, people we are. Read this book, each page mysterious and compelling, hiding within it the deep core of being human.” —Elizabeth Cox, author of The Slow Moon
 
"Harrar's novel...is an intriguing and provocative take on some standard themes of contemporary fiction....Reunion at Red Paint Bay is well written even if it invites controversy and criticism. It is a memorable work that could spur some heated debate." —Metapsychology

"Secrets can haunt us. In George Harrar's novel Reunion At Red Paint Bay, secrets hunt us down for revenge." —Interview Magazine

"This is a gripping thriller, utterly convincing and alarming, as people struggle to justify past deeds, weigh the costs of the truth and decide that maybe a half-lie is just as good." —Bill Bushnell, Morning Sentinel (Waterville, Maine)

"Ironies abound here in this suspenseful study of universal themes of guilt, innocence, punishment, atonement, and absolution as seen through the seemingly simple life of a hitherto respected man in Red Paint Bay." —Seeing the World Through Books

"George Harrar’s incisive look at the soft-focus lens through which we view our respective pasts" —Book Page

"The story resolution is quite wrenching. To say more would be to spoil a good read...It's a great tale of moral consequences, ethical dilemmas, differing perspectives, secrets, guilt and absolution." —Tutu's Two Cents

Kirkus Reviews
A therapist who treats rape victims finds out she's married to a man who might be a rapist. Simon Howe has returned to his hometown of Red Paint, Maine, to edit the local paper, one that is almost routinely devoid of news. At the beginning of the novel, he has hired Dave Rigero, a rapist recently released from prison, as a pressman, much to the disgust of Simon's wife, Amy. Although Simon makes an effort to justify giving Dave a job and thus reintroducing him into society, Amy firmly identifies with the victims in her therapy practice and feels that Simon should make no concessions to heinous offenders. Soon after, Simon begins to receive anonymous postcards, mysterious and mildly threatening, and he tries to think of anyone from his past who could have an animus against him. And then, even more creepiness begins to assert itself into Simon's life, mainly involving his son, Davey, who's spooked by a mysterious person hanging around the house and who has an odd conversation with a stranger at a carnival. It turns out this sinister man is Paul Chambers, a former high school classmate of Simon's whose wife, Jean, had taken her life a few weeks before. Chambers is convinced that Simon is responsible because, 25 years before, he had had sex with Jean on the night of their high school graduation--but was it rape? Chambers shows up for "therapy" at Amy's office, primarily to throw hints to her about Simon's past. Eventually, Simon feels so threatened by Chambers that he shoves him into the bay and believes he's drowned--so now Simon might be responsible not only for Jean's rape and eventual suicide but for her husband's murder as well. Harrar skillfully echoes Alfred Hitchcock's theme about how a seemingly innocent man can be sucked into a disturbing vortex of forces that lie just below the surface of "normal" life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620647578
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/19/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

George Harrar has written short stories and novels for mid-grade children, young adults, and adults. His short stories have appeared in a dozen literary magazines and "The 5:22" won Story Magazine's Carson McCullers Prize and was selected for the 1999 edition of Best American Short Stories. His first novel, First Tiger, debuted in 1999 and was followed in 2003 by his literary mystery The Spinning Man described by The New York Times as "elegant and unnerving." Harrar graduated from New York University. He worked as a journalist for many years, writing and editing on several newpapers and magazines. He lives now in Wayland, Massachusetts, with his wife, Linda.

Richard Waterhouse is an actor, teacher, director, and producer who is featured in the Hallmark Christmas classic Moonlight and Mistletoe and the independent feature Karl Rove, I Love You. He lives with his partner in Newbury, Vermont.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I had no idea what to expect with this book and I was pleasantly

    I had no idea what to expect with this book and I was pleasantly surprised!
    what a tangled web we weave when at first we do deceive…. I have a friend who actually went through something quite like this, so it did hit home and bring back some uncomfortable memories.
    This is not a mystery or thriller as such but more psychological, slowly creeping into your head…Simon Howe is just your average happily married man until one day he receives a postcard in the mail and his once simple, quiet life starts to slowly spin out of control.
    His son is being stalked…or is he? Someone is lurking outside their home and his wife is getting suspicious. Everyone in the little town
    of Red Paint Bay is suspect. Can an incident that happened back in high school come back and destroy your life one postcard at a time?
    This book was great, hard to put down and not your average mystery. I never knew what was going on and I like that about a book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Great book for writers and for book clubs.  Very interesting han

    Great book for writers and for book clubs.  Very interesting handling of multiple narrators or narrative points of view. The main character (narrator) is in conflict with the alternative character (narrator) about an understanding of the past. Handled in a non traditional way but works extremely well.   For book clubs, the book offers an opportunity to talk about date rape from various points of view. The characters are real -- ones you relate to  -- and try to deal with problems as best they can.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Taut, elegant, beautiful written book which keeps one thinking l

    Taut, elegant, beautiful written book which keeps one thinking long after parting with the narrative.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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