Adolescence is a hard perplexing time ripe with strange thoughts, strange feelings, and impetuous actions with little consideration of the consequences.  It certainly was fifteen years ago for teenager Alan Benning.  His family, on vacation in Cape Cod by way of a large motor home, had no idea what he thought or felt.  The family was well off, his parents were conservative and Alan, with no one to talk to about life and his feelings, began to hate and fear himself.  That hatred and fear of himself grew and grew after the incident in the woods near the beach during that vacation.

In the present day, Alan, now thirty is a successful lawyer with a steady girlfriend, Anna, a loving cousin, and an obsession about what might or might not have happened that fateful day fifteen years ago.  Driven to know, he begins to unravel his own perfect life.  A life that appears to be perfect but hides so many dark secrets that he is not sure of what actually happened back then.

Author Seymour Shubin has weaved a complete tale about the human spirit.  Shifting in point of view between Alan and his cousin the author paints a picture of obsession.  Not only is Alan obsessed with what he might or might not have done but the cousin has his own obsession.  The cousin’s need isn’t as obvious early in the novel but the end of the book it is clear that his own obsession is just as strong.

It is also clear that the author is commenting on the nature of mankind.  Those little things in life that surely lead to disaster.  Those little things, unnoticed or unremarked at the time and yet become telling through the use of hindsight.  The signs were obvious, as they often are, and unnoticed until long after the fact.  The author makes this point throughout the work as he weaves complex multifaceted characters throughout the tale.

The result is a fast paced intense read.  While only 250 pages in paperback, this isn’t a beach book and far from it.  This is a book that rapidly becomes a real page turner as it pulls the reader into a world not unlike his or her own.  This is a book that one doesn’t want interrupted and is sorry to see end.  Intense and driven, the book doesn’t let go until that final phrase “the end” and even then lingers in the mind.

Witness To Myself

By Seymour Shubin

Hard Case Crime


ISBN #0-8439-5590-2


250 pages

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

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