Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb is one of those novels that makes you ask yourself, “What would I do in this situation?” Repeatedly. Chapter One efficiently summarizes the back story to the novel with this:
His name was Rob Castor. Quite possibly, you’ve heard of him. He became a minor cult celebrity in his early twenties for writing a book of darkly pitch-perfect stories set in a stupid upstate New York town. Several years later, he murdered Kate Pierce, his writer-girlfriend, and then committed suicide, causing the hot lights of the media to come on with an audible whoosh, and stay there, focused on his life, the town of his birth, and by default, we his friends and neighbors.
The story is told by Nick, Rob Castor’s childhood best friend and neighbor. Rob had left the “stupid upstate New York town” for the glamor and fame awaiting him in the literary world of New York City. Though separated by time and space as adults, the two men continued to share a bond even though the saw one another less frequently. As you can imagine, the events that leads to Rob’s exit are unforeseen by Nick.
As Nick tells the story, it is clear that he is failing to come to grips with the headline news nature of his friend’s death. His marriage begins to suffer as Rob becomes more remote. As the story progresses, we learn more of the story from Nick’s encounters with Rob’s family, police and court reports, and another friend who gets a book deal to write about Rob’s life. The revelations add unexpected twists and turns that lead to a resolution that casts everything that has come before in a whole new light.
Before the book was even released, I read word that a movie deal had been struck with the author. This is the kind of book that will work well on the screen. I’ll go see it if it actually makes it onto the screen. It is a tightly wound story that slowly reveals itself and would leave an audience talking in the parking lot. And it’s a good book, too.