Graywolf Press, Oct 2004, 15.00, 224 pp.
As far back as he can remember Evan Ulmer has wanted to be a writer. After years of receiving rejection letters, he snaps. He abducts New York editor Robert Partnow at gun point. He places his “guest” in the basement of his home in Saxhurst, New Jersey. The basement is contained by a chain link fence and even has a porto-toilet. Obviously Evan has planned this caper for some time. Bob remains incarcerated for forty-five days, but Evan never physically harmed him in anyway and they actually shared meaningful dialogues. Bob believes that if they met in a more acceptable manner, they would have been friends.
At the same as the kidnapping, Evan meets Promise, a woman over a decade younger than him who also wants to become a writer. Her optimism grips Evan, who gives away too much information. Promise goes to Evan's house demanding to see the basement. He shows her and she demands he free Bob.
There is very little action in the TEARJERKER as the story line contains conversations between the three primary players.The protagonist cannot explain to himself why he kidnapped Bob, but a lot of what is inside Evan and his prisoner come out during their discussions. This crime thriller is different in tone than most of the sub-genre because of the dialogues and the ironic ending. Readers will like this predominantly passive character study that subtly keeps the audience attention from the moment Evan acts until the final chat.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner