Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Reunion at Red Paint Bay by George Harrar

Reunion at Red Paint Bay has a lot going for it. There's the small town, coastal Maine setting, there are really believable characters, there's a mystery that sneaks in little by little, until the plot explodes in the final pages of the book in a finish that leaves the reader totally drained of emotion.

Sam Howe, who left Red Paint Bay  to go to the big city to work in journalism, returns to his hometown and buys the weekly newspaper. There is seldom anything exciting to report about, but his family life is solid, the town is a picturesque study in "life the way it should be," and Sam finds himself looking forward to the upcoming high school reunion.

Then he hires a recently released convicted felon to work at the paper.  When his social worker/therapist wife discovers the new hire was convicted of rape, she makes her displeasure known. At about the same time, Sam begins receiving anonymous post-cards with disturbing and often unfathomable messages.  As the story progresses and the suspense builds, the reader is led along a psychological journey of terror from an unknown stalker who seems to know a dark secret about Sam's past.

The story resolution is quite wrenching.  To say more would be to spoil a good read. It's a great read in that the mystery is there at the edges and only blossoms into full bloom at the end.  All along, the reader knows something more is going to happen, that something is missing, and must keep reading until the sudden, unexpected ending.

It's a great tale of moral consequences, ethical dilemmas, differing perspectives, secrets, guilt and absolution.  The newspaper may in fact have a very newsworthy headline next edition.

Title: Reunion at Red Paint Bay
Author: George Harrar
Publisher: Other Press (2013)  e galley - 283 pages
Genre: fiction
Subject: moral consequences
Setting: Coastal Maine
Source: ARC galley from publisher through NetGalley 
Why did I read this book now?  I was invited to review it.
Thanks to Other Press for making the review copy available.


  1. Thanks for this review, Tina. It sounds like a good read for me with the subtle mystery in a small Maine town.


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