‘A Good Man’ – Ani Katz

Thomas Martin defines himself as a good man. Outwardly successful, earning a good wage, caring for his mother and sisters, and taking an interest in his wife and daughter. We see snippets of their life through Thomas’s eyes, and initially everything seems so straightforward.

Ever so slowly we get prickles of unease. Little details hint at something off-kilter about Thomas and his background. There’s suggestions of abuse at the hands of his father and the behaviour of his sisters seems symptomatic of those who’ve experienced neglect or abuse. But Thomas calls himself a good man and paints a picture of someone on top of their game. Why would we doubt him?

The memories of his early relationship with his wife appear fond. Then we learn that her family avoid them, and the details about her behaviour ring pretty vivid alarm bells.

As we move into the sphere of work it seems Thomas isn’t painting the full picture. This is never satisfactorily explained, but we do know he loses his job and never admits this.

Thomas’s mental decline seems to happen rapidly, but I think this was some time in the making. Before we know it we move towards a highly charged situation. Set against a beautiful winter setting we watch the most extreme events unravel. Even as I was getting over the situation between Thomas and his wife, I was not remotely prepared for the closing scene. Chilling.

A Good Man? It’s safe to say Thomas has one view of himself that is at odds with our view. How he went so long without being aware of this is hard to see, and I’m rather curious to know what he does next. This was certainly a different read, and I’d like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for offering me the opportunity to read it prior to publication.