10 January 2013

Thursday Tea: Reunion at Red Paint Bay by George Harrar

The Book:  Simon Howe grew up in Red Paint, Maine, population just over 7,000. Although he left for college and worked as a newsman in Portland, he returned home, bought the local weekly, and set himself up as editor-in-chief.

Things in Red Paint are pretty uneventful, and it's not easy to fill the 32 pages of the paper, but by using enough photos, a quote of the week, and some fancy layout, Simon makes do. The top story this summer is a toss-up between someone claiming to have seen the Virgin Mary in her backyard and Simon's 25th high school reunion.

The first small tear in Simon's quiet life shows up in the form of postcard. And then another. Someone is about to stalk him, and Simon has no idea who it is or why. Does the stalker know a secret from Simon's past or is there another side to the story?

George Harrar's Reunion at Red Paint Bay is part psychological thriller and part mystery, which is one of my go-to genres. I also like books set in Maine, so I was all prepared to enjoy myself. And, in fact, Harrar does a good job setting up the situation so it's not clear whom the reader should believe. There is also one decidedly creepy scene that kinda of makes me want to sleep with the lights on. Unfortunately, as a whole, Reunion at Red Paint Bay didn't quite live up to its promise for me. Two things stand out: too much foreshadowing, which cut down on some of the tension, and not vivid enough characterizations, which made it difficult for me to connect.

You may have a better luck with Harrar's novel than I did; the blurb from Kirkus sounds very positive.

The Tea: In these bleak, cold days of January I'm once again drinking tea in the afternoons. My latest discovery is Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea. This is a decaf tea with a lovely smell and just the right amount of peppermint. I'm hooked . . . at least for this week.

The Assessment: As I mentioned, I didn't get a strong feeling for the characters, so I'm really not sure what Simon would think about decaf peppermint tea. But I have known a few newspaper people in my day, and I really don't see any of them interested in tea, especially tea without the caffeine. Simon's wife, on the other hand, might go for a cup.

What About You? Are you drinking anything interesting these days? And what are you reading this week?

Buy Reunion at Red Paint Bay at an Indie or a bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program.
Thursday Tea was the brainchild of Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.
Published by Other Press, January 29, 2013
ISBN-13: 9781590515457
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: C
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)
FTC: I buy all teas myself, I am not a tea reviewer.


rhapsodyinbooks 1/10/13, 6:13 AM  

I like books set in Maine as well! I have no idea why, however. I know what you mean about too much foreshadowing - that can really ruin it unless the whatever-it-is lives up to all the build up!

bermudaonion 1/10/13, 10:03 AM  

It's too bad this didn't live up to its premise because it sure does sound goo.

Daryl 1/10/13, 12:17 PM  

just started Ed King by David Guterson, we'll see its a bit slow but then so was Snow Falling on Cedars .. and i am now into Tea Forté's 'skin smart antioxidant teas' ... Cherry Marzipan and Swiss Apple are yum

Zibilee 1/10/13, 2:30 PM  

I haven;t been drinking anything other than English Breakfast Tea for the longest time, but I have to stop by about 5:30, or else I can't sleep at night. I am listening to a great book called Call the Midwife on audio right now, and also I just started Y: A Novel, in print. It's slow going in print these days, and I am hoping that it picks up soon. I am also sorry that this one didn't totally work for you, as it should have. It sounds a little bit underdeveloped.

grammajudyb 1/10/13, 7:34 PM  

Sorry you were disappointed. I had a couple of those in the last few months too. I am reading Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay. I am really enjoying it. I have been drinking my recipe of Russian Tea.
Tang, lemonade mix, instant tea, cinnamon and cloves. It feels so good on a sore throat and warms you all over.

Margot 1/11/13, 12:15 AM  

I know the tea you're talking about. I had a sample at TJs and I liked it. But, no, it doesn't seem to match a psychological thriller.

Beth Hoffman 1/11/13, 10:20 AM  

Too much foreshadowing can dampen my enthusiasm too.

I'm drinking Rishi Organic Green Tea and am about to finish The Art Forger.

Happy weekend to you and Mr. BFR!

Susan Lindquist 1/12/13, 10:40 AM  

I have just finished reading When We Were the Kennedy's , Monica Wood's memoir of Mexico, Maine. Hmm ... your read may be just the thing to segue into ... after I finish The Technologists( Matthew Pearl's new one ). As for drinks, the tea is Earl Grey and the cookies are mint chocolate pixies ... a deadly combination.

Have a great weekend!

Robin M 1/13/13, 12:34 AM  

Sounds interesting. Will check it out.

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