Thomas Martin’s life is pretty good. A wife he loves. A respectable job in advertising. A daughter in private school. Yet, he lives with a litany of stresses from his past and his present that threaten to tip him over the edge. A thin veneer of likability, smiles, and charm will be tested in A Good Man.
Thomas will do practically everything he can to stop the cycle of violence that plagued his childhood home. With a father whose alcoholism caused his own death, Thomas fights to stand on his own two feet. He tries to take care of his mother, and persuade his twenty-year-old twin sisters to get their lives in order and move out of the family house. And there’s also those politics at work… and that trouble his daughter has gotten into at school… and the haunting illness that lingers in his wife. Can he fix it all?
The Good Man reminds me a lot of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Both are short thrillers that are written with great precision. Each book kept me guessing up until the last page and were able to sprinkle those crumbs or hints of what might come. And that misdirection was perfectly employed as well.
Martin reads as an ambitious ‘every man’ for much of the book. He is happy to be away from his weird family and on his own with nuclear family. And while his relationship with his wife is complicated, his methods of persuasion, both on himself and others, are somewhat delusional. The reader’s empathy takes a hit as the story continues to unfold and wrap tighter at the same time.
I would say that the ending did not hit as hard as I thought it would, but the fun in this one definitely lies in the anticipation. If you are looking for a quick thriller that will make your skin crawl, A Good Man is a quality choice.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.