The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon

The Real Michael SwannThe Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story is told from two perspectives. The first is that of an unnamed man who has just been injured in a bomb blast in Grand Central Station, New York. It’s told in the first person. The second, told in the third person, is from the viewpoint of Julia Swann, a suburban housewife living near Philadelphia. The man has head injuries and doesn’t know who he is or what happened to him. His only tie to the real world is his briefcase clutched tightly in his hand. Inside it he finds identity documents and phone for Michael Swann. He only knows he wants to get home. He begins his journey, his flight, to Philadelphia. Julia, meanwhile, realizes Michael was in or near Grand Central Station when the blast occurred. In fact, he was on the phone to her at the time. She begins her separate attempt to find him. Local law enforcement at all levels tries to help. This is yet another in the current fad genre of “unreliable narrator” stories.

That’s a great set-up for a story. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from there. Nobody in the story does anything remotely believable after that. Some of it is physically or legally impossible. The “big twist” at the end is totally predictable from soon after the blast. I certainly knew it was coming. The writing is tortured trying to keep it from the reader until the end. As a retired FBI agent I’m always sensitive to police procedure, and this book gets almost nothing right in that respect. I managed to get through it, so I got my hours of “entertainment” if you want to call it that, so I can give it a couple of stars but I can’t recommend it.

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