I Saw A Man – Owen Shears

Let me start by saying how difficult it is to quantify I Saw a Man into a genre. At first, I thought it might be murder, mystery or thriller. It turned out it was a book on grief. Male grief to be more precise. The premise of the book is an excellent subject. For me, this book did not reach that expectation.

The book gave me the impression of a short story that was filled to make into a novel of 300 pages. The description went beyond setting a scene and was in places boring. I found myself skim reading some parts. For example, on one of the first pages, Michael goes to his neighbour’s house. The description is as follows:

‘Hooking the heel of his left shoe under the toe of his right, Michael pulled it off. As he did the same with the other.’

We all know how to take boots off, we don’t need to read how to do it step by step. This occurs throughout the book and in places, the description ruins the pace of the story. Another example of this is as the story starts to hot up Michael steps into a bathroom. Instead of letting the story build, the author goes into graphic detail. What the bathroom looks like; what you can see from the window and what toys are in the bath. All before we get back to the action.

Halfway through another major character is introduced to us. Although it relates to the initial story the character was not essential. The story wouldn’t have missed him if he had not been introduced. The new character is so similar to the first that I forgot what the lead characters name was. I lost who’s perspective we were talking about. This is the essential problem with this book. I did not like any of the characters and didn’t care what happened to them.

The most intriguing part of this book is the dedication. This may leave you with questions once you finish the book. The book is an easy enough read and for me passed a Sunday afternoon, nothing more. ⭐️⭐️

The event that changed all of their lives happened on a Saturday afternoon in June, just minutes after Michael Turner – thinking the Nelsons’ house was empty – stepped through their back door.

After the sudden loss of his wife, Michael Turner moves to London and quickly develops a close friendship with the Nelson family next door. Josh, Samantha and their two young daughters seem to represent everything Michael fears he may now never have: intimacy, children, stability and a family home. Despite this, the new friendship at first seems to offer the prospect of healing, but then a catastrophic event changes everything. Michael is left bearing a burden of grief and a secret he must keep, but the truth can only be kept at bay for so long.

Moving from London and New York to the deserts of Nevada, I Saw a Man is a brilliant exploration of violence, guilt and attempted redemption, written with the pace and grip of a thriller. Owen Sheers takes the reader from close observation of the domestic sphere to some of the most important questions and dilemmas of the contemporary world.

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