In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley novels comes a deliciously unsettling, darkly funny novel about a man who quietly spies on the private lives of his neighbors.
You won't remember Mr. Heming. He was the estate agent who showed you around your comfortable home, suggested a financial package, negotiated a price with the owner, and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key. That's absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine? The answer is; he has the keys to them all.
William Heming's most at home in a stranger's private things. He makes it his business to know all their secrets, and how they arrange their lives. His every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it - perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours. Things begin to change when Mr. Hemings' obsession shifts from many people to one, and then a dead body winds up in someone's garden. For a man who is used to going unremarked, Mr. Heming's finds his natural routine becomes uncomfortably interrupted.
©2014 Phil Hogan (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Produced by arrangement with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I enjoyed this selection as a refreshing change from the myriad police procedurals and crime thrillers that recycle the same old characters and the same old plots. William Heming is a true original, remaining completely invisible as he indulges his obsession to exist within the lives of those to whom he has sold homes – searching their photo albums, eating their food, sometimes even creating secret nesting places where he can hide and observe. Sinister and decidedly creepy, there is also surprising and welcome humor as Heming takes care of his community by dishing out his own style of justice to those who are less than model citizens. He cultivates an affable, easygoing but forgettable personality to maintain his invisibility, and it’s easy to be charmed by this façade. But through his first person perspective he reveals the darker side of himself. The flashback sections of his childhood were the most riveting for me, revealing the building of a sociopath through his own eyes – with a few convenient omissions he may or may not remember. This reminds me of the kind of stories seen on the old Alfred Hitchcock Hour – not gory or violent, but seriously twisted and impossible to look away.
European history professor specializing in English history 1870-1939.
Creepy story, but the creepiest character is the one you'll like best. Excellent narration perfect for the tale. Very well done.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character is definitely quite eccentric, but that is what makes this such a good listen. The narrator makes this an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Loved this book. These "unreliable narrator" books are popular right now, for a reason. It's not so much that Mr. Heming isn't truthful, he just forgets to add some important details when relating the story.
Lots of fun twists.
This reader gave Heming the right attitude and style.
I'm looking forward to Phil Hogan's next book.
Wonderfully creepy story!
Because of the unique central character, Mr. Heming, this novel is unlike any other within this genre that I have encountered. He is both sociopath and altruist. He lives quietly in the shadows, preferring anonymity as he persues his passion for duplicating the house keys of his real estate clients. What he does with the keys, as well as the consequences of his behavior, are both unexpected and intriquing.
Michael Page is a talented narrator. He accentuates the subtle humor of the author, as well as the disturbing content of this work in ways that would not likely be duplicated by only reading the novel.
When was the last time you changed your locks?
I rarely listen to a book twice, but I could make an exception for a book this droll and convoluted.
Mr. Heming, of course. Despite his horrific behavior he has enough of the self-deprecatory that it's difficult not to cheer him on.
I have not. But I will look for his narrations henceforth!
Had I started earlier in the day I might have. But it was fun to have the conclusion to look forward to this morning.
I'll have to see what else Phil Hogan has written. I'm sad to see that this title is a one-off on Audible. And I almost didn't sample it, funny enough, because I thought it was about golf. And in a way it was!
Yes. This unique and nuanced novel will surely delight me again even though I know the ending. The first person narration is perfectly performed. I loved the amusingly creepy protagonist.
I won't say as I don't want to be a spoiler. But there are many. This book is so is perfectly crafted that the story moves forward rythmically. I couldn't stop listening.
Mr. Heming, of course.
I laughed frequently.
This would no doubt be a good read but the narrator was so perfect that the theatrical dimension he adds to this audio book makes it that much more special.
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