Verdict: Dramatic and clever, NATHANIEL MYER is a strong revenge thriller with an excellent cast of supporting characters.
Nathaniel Myer isn’t a perfect man, but he’s doing pretty well: he has a loving wife and a son in the third grade; he has bills to pay but work is going well. His quotidian days end abruptly one afternoon when four men dressed in black break into his home and kill his wife and child. Nathaniel should have died too—it’s a miracle he made it out of his coma. But once awake, he vows to spend the rest of his days avenging his family for their senseless deaths.
Nathaniel’s family has been killed in a botched gang initiation ritual, and the point of view shifts from Nathaniel to a few members of the gang as well as periphery characters who will become more important later on. The plot moves briskly and keeps the reader enthralled as Nathaniel’s life enters a tragic downward spiral and the gang’s web becomes more intricate. The way in which a life can unravel so quickly and prospects change so dramatically is excellently rendered, and the south Florida setting is vivid and integral to the story.
As Nathaniel’s life continues to hit a deeper level of rock bottom, however, his unwavering focus on revenge—and the numerous entreaties by more level-headed characters to give up or go to the police—becomes repetitive and slows down the plot. Too much time is spent focused on small details. But these are multifaceted characters to get caught up in, their actions and sudden shifts in circumstance continuing to surprise the reader until the powerful, wholly fulfilling ending.
NATHANIEL MYER is a clever thriller, with nuanced characters and a remarkable amount of detail into gang mentality, police proceedings, and homelessness in America. But the novel doesn’t drastically stand out from any other well-written revenge thriller or intelligent protagonist-driven crime show. The periphery characters are more believable and more interesting than Nathaniel, whose obsession causes him to overlook the obvious and repeat phrases and thoughts over and over. Still, the novel is well-plotted and gloriously detailed, with enough of the tropes of the genre to keep crime and thriller fans invested in its nearly 400 pages.
Dramatic and clever, NATHANIEL MYER is a strong revenge thriller with an excellent cast of supporting characters.