No Exit Press, €12.63
Fast-paced, well-written and gripping, Jason Starr's fourth novel begs to be read in one sitting.
Richard Segal is a man whose mind has been haunted for over twenty years by the memory of his childhood abuse by a teenage neighbour. Struggling to cope with the past, Segal's adult life is falling apart. Headhunted to a major New York computer company over six months previously, the computer-network salesman has yet to close a deal. His marriage has also seen better days - partly because of his wife's promotion to vice chairperson of her company, but more so because of his battle with drink.
Segal places blame for all his problems firmly at the feet of his childhood tormentor, Michael Rudnick, so when he spots Rudnick on a New York street he decides it's time for revenge. Now the prime suspect in a murder investigation, ironically Segal's life starts to improve: his career is back on track and he closes not one but three major sales in a day.
Convinced that the police have nothing to connect him to Rudnick's murder, Segal begins to get strange email to his company address urging him to confess to the attack. The pressure starts to mount, he's back on the drink and his wife disappears.
Written in the same punchy, cynical style as 'American Psycho', fans of Bret Easton Ellis would not go astray with Jason Starr. Combining the crime genre with wry humour 'Hard Feelings' is a tale of hurt, relationships, paranoia and revenge. Excellent.