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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just Finished Reading: Witness to Myself by Seymour Shubin

Fifteen years ago, teenager Alan Benning had a moment of madness and did something he never thought himself capable of. So horrified and shocked by the event he buried it deep in his mind and hoped that he would never have to relive that terrible afternoon. Now a successful lawyer with the best years of his life ahead of him he is confronted with his crime when a body of a young girl is found near where his parents holidayed all those years ago. When a suspect is found and a national outcry builds Alan finds himself wondering if he actually did commit the crime or whether he imagined the whole thing. Determined to uncover the truth of his own childhood his sanity begins to unravel as he starts to question everything about himself he once took for granted. At the heart of it all is a chance meeting on a beach and a young life snuffed out.

This was quite a strange detective novel where the perpetrator of the crime and the primary investigator where one and the same person. Benning was a seriously messed up individual who had problems separating fantasy from reality and spent most of the novel being paranoid (not helped by the fact that some people were actually out to get him). He was also an unreliable narrator – one of my most disliked formats – which irritated me quite a bit as his memories of events – granted 15 years previously – didn’t quite tally with actual events. Overall the psychological aspects of the novel where quite well handled and the plot became increasing claustrophobic which I think is what the author was going for. None of the characters appealed to be much so I didn’t really care what happened to them which made reading a bit of a slog. Reasonable.  

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