Stuart Evers – If this is Home

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Stuart Evers – If this is Home

When he left the UK, Mark Wilkinson also left behind his name and entered the US as Joe Novak. By now, he is known as Mr Jones and selling apartments in Las Vegas. But something from his past is haunting him, he has episodes, hears voices or better: one voice: the one of Bethany, his girl-friend when he was still a teenager and living in England. He is thirty now and Bethany has been dead for thirteen years. He had wanted to leave their sad hometown together with her, to build a life together in New York, but then, she was murdered. After an incident with a client, he returns to England, now to find out the truth about Bethany’s death.

I was eager to read the novel due to the high praise I could read everywhere. After having finished, I am somewhere between disappointed and deeply confused. Either I didn’t get it at all or it absolutely didn’t work for me.

First of all, I had the impression that the first and the second half of the novel didn’t work together at all. It’s like having completely different characters and two independent stories told. In the beginning, we get a lot of clichés about men who are by far too rich and who think they own the world. It might be quite realistic, but not very interesting and ultimately, it leads to nothing for me. The second part, when Mark tries to figure out what happened to Bethany made a lot more sense, even though he hears her ghost talking constantly. I was waiting for the stunning moment when the circumstances of Bethany’s death are revealed, I expected something unusual, unforeseen and really surprising. Yet, this didn’t come. Actually, I didn’t even understand why he had to change his name all the time and what he was running from after all.