Book Reviews

Herbert Muskie is The Fat Man. When he catches skinny, hungry Colin Potter stealing a chocolate bar, he forces Colin to become his partner in crime. This begins an ever-escalating cycle of dominance fueled by Muskie’s hatred of the people of Loomis – a grudge Colin doesn’t understand. The Fat Man’s sphere of influence quickly ensnares the rest of Colin’s family and threatens to destroy their lives.

Publishers Weekly:

Of this “seamlessly crafted psychological thriller” set in 1933 New Zealand, PW’s starred review said, “Gee gives the proverbial victim-turns-villain myth several spellbinding twists … Readers with a hearty appetite for the diabolical will get their fill here.”

Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

School Library Journal:

In this engrossing psychological thriller, a devious man, embittered by the taunts he endured as a child, returns to his hometown to seek revenge on the family of one of his tormentors.

Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Kirkus Reviews:

In an ugly, menacing psycho-thriller set in Depression-era New Zealand, a man returns to his small town to repay the bullies who sent him fleeing 13 years before. Herbert Muskie appears suddenly in Loomis, with overflowing pockets, wild tales of rum running in the US, and a new wife and stepdaughter. His outward geniality conceals a sadistic talent for cutting through people’s defenses, and he quickly proves himself a master of both violent and subtle intimidation. Only a few months earlier, Colin Potter was terrorized into helping Muskie rob his senile mother of her life savings, but he doesn’t dare tell his parents, who were among the man’s tormentors years before. Gee (The Champion, 1993, etc.) tightens the screws expertly: Strong, cunning, and unbalanced, Muskie is thoroughly frightening and increasingly given to bursts of brutal irrationality. When he snatches his stepdaughter and Colin as hostages after police discover that he’s been burglarizing houses in nearby Auckland, even hardened Cormier readers will stop breathing. Colin shows steel beneath his rabbity exterior, “helping” Muskie to his doom over a deep gorge, but even in death, the fat man has his revenge, leaving nearly everyone he’s touched damaged in some way. Sobering and scary.

Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


Maurice Gee Adaptations