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Reunion at Red Paint Bay

3.05  ·  Rating details ·  416 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Red Paint calls itself "the friendliest town in Maine," a place where everyone knows one another and nothing too disturbing ever happens. Native son Simon Howe is a sturdy family man--a good father and husband--and owner-editor of the town's newspaper. Because there's rarely any real news, he runs stories about Virgin Mary sightings, high school reunions, and petty crimina ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Anna Allen
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
The feminist in me had a very difficult time with this book. As the story progresses, it's increasingly obvious that a man wrote this book, and that man seems to have something of an agenda as this novel progresses. Young men do stupid and thoughtless things, but grown men should grow beyond rationalizing wrong choices. Being honest about your secrets, while laudable, is not the same as examining your thought and motivations, and actually changing the way you think and behave.

This could've been
Nov 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book felt rather unfinished to me. It wasn’t poorly written, but the abrupt end somewhat spoiled the whole book for me. The resolution really felt incomplete and left a lot of questions hanging. The characters - even the main character, Simon - never truly came to life, and felt a bit flat. His paragon wife and troublesome son bordered on cliched characters, and even the villain never became a three dimensional character. There were a few moments of genuine suspense - some scenes genuinely ...more
Robert Beveridge
George Harrar, Reunion at Red Paint Bay (Other Press, 2013)

Full disclosure: this book was provided to me free of charge by Amazon Vine.

I finished reading this book just before the turn of the new year, and here it is late April and I'm just starting to write a review of it; I've never really been able to come up with anything compelling to say regarding it one way or the other. It's your basic thriller with pretensions to something larger (and while a number of reviews, notably Booklist's, give
Philip Alexander
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Harrar delivers something unique here (as he did with his novel The Spinning Man). This is a well-told and linear story. The prose is elegant and fluid, Harrar's delivery very much like Russo's in terms of establishing place (a small, pastoral town in Maine) and the rhythms of its citizens. However, the similarities end there. This novel is also an exploration of duplicity that reminded me of Hitchcock, or to make a literary comparison, the works of Iain Banks. Simon Howe, the protagonist, is a ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this story. It made me feel very uncomfortable from the start, though I wasn't sure why. I think it's because the characters are so believable and they're not all that likeable. As the story progresses and Simon and Amy are stalked by a man who is clearly not sure what he intends to do, but seems intent on some kind of revenge, I found myself feeling even more creeped out by how easily these seemingly ordinary people are able to act in ways that seem out of character. ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I expected this to be more. More full of suspense, more terrifying, just more. Also, I just can't forgive the "could care less" on page 6. I know that it was dialogue, and sometime it fits, but this guy is the editor of a newspaper. If you edit a newspaper you should know how to speak the language properly. Especially if you later use words like "palimpset". It wasn't necessarily a bad story, it just want all that good. Things happened to easily and without much build up. The characters were all ...more
Nancy Linde
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
While this book reads somewhat like a mystery (as we watch with increasing tension a postcard-writing "stalker" draws closer and closer to his target), this is much more of a psychological drama. It's an engrossing and very well written exploration of guilt and innocence. It's also a fascinating look at the stress an accusation from the distant past can put on a marriage. What does a wife do when her husband turns out to be a profoundly different person than the man she thought she married.

Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I pick up a book from Other Press I always know I'm getting something unique and superbly written, unlike anything else on the market. My latest pick, Reunion at Red Paint Bay, is no exception! More than just a psychological thriller, it's an exploration of who we are, how well you can really know another person, and how well you can really know yourself. I couldn't put it down, and I want more from this author!
Diane S ☔
Loved the small town atmosphere, the idea of a man returning home to buy his town's failing newspaper. Yet something with this novel just did not connect for me. The pace was very slow, the suspense with the editor and his wife being sent strange postcards from a anonymous source, could have been better. It was just okay.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Simon Howe is leading a pleasant if unspectacular life in the small town of Red Paint Bay, Maine. He's the owner/editor of the local newspaper, married to a psychotherapist who specializes in treating abused women. They have an unruly 11-year-old son that pushes every boundary they set. Simon begins to get postcards from all across the country with a menacing tone to the message. A strange man shows up in town who stalks the Howes in various ways. Tension mounts, and you begin to wond
Brian Grouhel
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good book. I admit to picking it up on the cheap table mainly because of the catchy title and then after reading the dust jacket, taking it home. It starts out as an interesting story about small town life but quickly the pages start turning faster and faster. Small town Maine, newspaper owner Simon finds life average until the postcards start arriving. Innocuous at first and growing into veiled threats he finds his everyday life quickly turned upside down and falling into a fo ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
"Revenge is often elaborate. That's part of its appeal. You get to enjoy it over and over again as you plan it."
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Labored and read like the characters and plot were caught in quicksand.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
enjoyed reading the book but the ending was abrupt and made me angry!
Crystal Johnston
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
It was an ok read, which got slow in the middle. being hyped as echoing Hitchcock is what made me pick up the book but it is nowhere near that level. with the 3.50 I spent but just barely
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A page turner. A great wet weekend read
Heather Simone
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. Kept you wanting to find out how it ends and then the ending sucked.
Pat Price
This novel began well but seemed as if the author lost his enthusiasm mid-way and decided to end it as quickly and as improbably as possible. The characters were ultimately caricatures and largely unlikeable. As a clinical psychologist who ran a program for victims of sexual and physical abuse, I would say that the female protagonist's therapeutic position was untenable. Was very disappointing, and I was left feeling that I had wasted my time.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
When I first began reading this book I thought it was going to be great. It moved quickly, had a little bit of mystery to it and, in addition, the main character was a small town newspaper owner and editor. What more could I ask for? Then I finished it and thought "What the Hell was that?" My initial thought was that it wasn't worth more than 2 stars but it is a pick for my book club so I made the difficult decision to reread it. Unless a book is a big favorite, I seldom read it more than once b ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A most excellent 5 star read! review to come.....:)

I had no idea what to expect with this book and I was pleasantly surprised!
what a tangled web we weave when at first we do deceive…. I have a friend who actually went through something quite like this, so it did hit home and bring back some uncomfortable memories.
This is not a mystery or thriller as such but more psychological, slowly creeping into your head…Simon Howe is just your average happily married man until one day he receives a postcar
Jaime K
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.

Simon's 25th high school anniversary is coming up, and he [and his wife] are looking forward to it, to a certain point. While he left his hometown of Red Paint, Maine like he always dreamed, 10 years ago he came back to care for his now-dead parents and to take over the newspaper. He knows he's in for some ribbing from old friends.

But not from an old flame's husband. Paul has some dirt on Simon that even Simon doesn't fully understand or know about, and everyth
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won this book from Goodreads, and received it within a week of winning!
I enjoyed this book, and the characters. It wasn't an over complex bunch, and the simplicity kept it honest and the characters were easy to see in every day situations.
I would however, have liked to have known a little more about David, even though he was a small part, he was still a part. Along with Paul and his wife. There is enough there to know them and some of their story, but it's just enough to leave you wanting to
May 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
If you like a quick read, a page turner with little to no character development this is the book for you. The best thing about the book is the cover. It has lots of promise. The premise is a man confronted with his questionable acts from the past and his journey to come to terms and rectify these acts. Stuff that you should be able to get your teeth into. However, I felt like I was reading a movie screenplay. Almost as though the author was writing the book with a movie in mind. Good for visual ...more
Nikki Devitt
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Can you look over your life and safely say that you have never harmed a soul? Never once caused ill fate to someone, even if indirectly? If you started receiving cryptic postcards claiming pay back for a past wrongdoing would your conscience be clear?

To many Simon Howe has a perfect life, but when postcards start coming and the danger increases he must re-examine his past for what he could have done wrong before vengeance catches up with him.

Here is a link to my full Read to You Review from my w
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Disappointing to say the least. The jacket reads " Reunion is more than a conventional mystery or thriller. It is an exploration of the consequences of guilt, denial and moral absolutism. Harrar weaves a dramatic and suspenseful tale sure to spur readers into examining the limits of responsibility for one's actions." All the ingredients were there for suspense but the author sure didn't make it happen for me. In addition,...big mistake Mr. Harrar...very big didn't develop the char ...more
Denise Ballentine
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
A gently creeping dread coming upon a normal everyday family. A novel that looks at how actions from the past, hidden and not dealt with, can work their way to the forefront, startling us out of complacently and painting an entirely new picture of the life we thought we had. Well done, this book made me think of how many difficult actions may very well be looked at differently from various perceptions. The spare writing style carries the uncomfortable story along to it's rather odd conclusion. N ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
It felt like I was reading young adult fiction with adult characters. Short, choppy scenes, rhetorical questions and ponderings within characters' thoughts, along with overt explanations made it feel like the author didn't trust the intelligence of the readers to make their own connections. The characters were one dimensional at best, and the town had no feel either. It is rare that I read a book without forming some kind of visual world in which to imagine it, but without any decent details my ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I was completely engrossed in this book. Suspense grew as I followed Amy and Simon through each chapter trying to figure out whose story was true and whose was not. It is a very good example of how events that take place in our lives are looked differently by each person involved in the situation. As much as I enjoyed the book, I was let down by the ending. I keep asking myself, "was the ending left unanswered purposely for the reader to create his/her own ending?" Or were we led to an ending th ...more
Pearl Mattenson
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
There is a bit of a surprise about 2/3 through this book so there some mystery. But what I found compelling is that there is no easy answers that conclude this story. The characters when we leave them are in more complicated places than where they began. The questions this book raises are profound with respect to honesty in relationships, measuring the impact of our choices on others and the role that perception plays. Not the besg book I've ever read but worth reading.
Karla Hodde
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very, very slow start to this novel. This sedate pace continues throughout the book. Once the reader realizes the pace, it becomes almost soothing to read.

However, the tale meanders through it's telling and at the end, the readers' first thought is "That's it?". There is no satisfaction in the story ending, only an odd puzzlement. It's like sitting around the old aunties dinner table listening to gossip about people you don't know.
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Ask George Harrar: for book clubs? 3 4 Mar 25, 2013 12:03PM  
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I write fiction for middle grade readers through adults and hold the distinction of having had three novels published by three different publishers for three different age groups in a single year. REUNION AT RED PAINT BAY (Other Press) is my latest book, about a newspaper editor in Maine and his family who engage in a full-scale psychological battle with a stalker without even knowing it. For YA r ...more

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