Crowned "Sag Harbor Citizen of the Year," Dr. Robert Hart is at a fancy soiree with his wife and son, Elizabeth and Jonah. The one thing sticking in his craw is the presence of Jonah's visiting college friend, Nick. Although Nick has been good for Jonah, Robert's gut is telling him something about the kid isn't quite right, and he bristles when Elizabeth wants Nick included in the family photograph on Robert's big day.
Robert's antennae tingle further when Elizabeth suggests her stepson's friend stay in their guest house for the summer. As Nick accepts fresh towels from gorgeous Elizabeth, Robert's mind is assaulted by the possibilities. He knows what Elizabeth is capable of--the two met and carried on an affair while married to others. Is this the thanks Robert gets for rescuing her from a dreary existence?
Caroline Louise Walker takes readers deep inside the mind of an increasingly obsessed man, mining the depths of power, insecurity, image and assumption. Robert slowly swirls from semi-reasonable to outright paranoid as his suspicions about Elizabeth, Nick and his own son drive him to distraction and dangerous exploits. Tragedy leaves the survivors swirling with doubt, secrets and mistrust.
Man of the Year is an impressive slow burn that builds suspense and cracks the whip at the end, widening the lens from a Robert-centric narration to include the "truth" from other points of view. A debut redolent with menace and ego, Walker has expertly taken on the complex family dynamic. --Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review