The Real Michael Swann – Bryan Reardon
I was fortunate to receive this novel as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.
It’s an idyllic summer day in a suburban neighborhood, and Julia Swann is home with her children and a couple of her close neighbors are with her. Her husband it commuting from NY City, and they share a couple of innocuous phone calls as he attempts to get home. But there’s been a brush fire and the commuter trains have been stopped. During a third call to his wife, Michael Swann vents his frustration, only to have the call suddenly drop without warning. Despite the relative normalcy of a dropped call, Julia is very unsettled and inexplicably frightened.
Shortly thereafter the news comes out – a bomb has been detonated at Penn Station – hundreds dead, hundreds more injured, and Julia has no word on Michael’s whereabouts. Frantic with worry, she attempts to approach the scene, only to be turned around by police. As she waits for news, she remembers different aspects of their many years together, reliving the night they first met, along with other milestones throughout their marriage.
Meanwhile, a man survives the explosion and staggers out of the wreckage of Penn Station, still clutching his briefcase. But he has no memory of whom he is, or where he’s from. As he finds his way to safety, his thoughts are shared with readers as well. But now, for reasons unknown, law enforcement have set their sights on Michael Swann as a possible conspirator.
As Julia struggles to find news of her missing husband, and an unknown man struggles to learn his identity, this book carries you off into a tremendous journey, full of fear, love, betrayal, bewilderment and ultimately hope. I was staggered by the last several pages of the novel – in fact my assumptions were so wrong, I had to go back and start from the beginning – and so many questions remain! A fabulous, edge-of-your-seat read!