The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy It is summer Charlie a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house As the days grow hotter the fr

  • Title: The Fall Guy
  • Author: James Lasdun
  • ISBN: 9780393292329
  • Page: 474
  • Format: Hardcover
  • It is summer, 2012 Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable paIt is summer, 2012 Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions As readers of James Lasdun s acclaimed fiction can expect, The Fall Guy is a complex moral tale as well as a gripping suspense story, probing questions of guilt and betrayal with ruthless incisiveness Who is the real victim here Who is the perpetrator And who, ultimately, is the fall guy Darkly vivid, with an atmosphere of erotic danger, The Fall Guy is Lasdun s most entertaining novel yet.

    One thought on “The Fall Guy”

    1. Matthew and Charlie are cousins, more like brothers really, but their lives have gone in very different directions. Charlie is a successful investment banker and a married father. He owns multiple homes, has a million dollars in cash in his home safe, and is the type to be impressed with his own wealth. Matthew lives in a dingy one bedroom and is still striving to make his mark in the restaurant business. Both men are harboring some measure of resentment toward the other, but, like in most famil [...]

    2. Enh. I didn't like the characters, and I know I wasn't supposed to, but they weren't even well written, and well written unlikable characters can still be enjoyable. I wasn't wowed by the plot or the author's writing voice, either. Lasdun seems to regard that old writing adage "show don't tell" as bad advice, and spends a lot (a lot) of the book hammering us with telling, with very little showing. Early on, there's this:"[They] sat in the living room one morning playing Scrabble. Matthew's famil [...]

    3. Ever since I read It’s Beginning to Hurt, a collection of stories by James Lasdun, I have eagerly picked up any writing of his I could find. He comes from a long line of self-aware male novelists who point to themselves, the human condition with its male inadequacies, and laugh with us, e.g Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Graham Swift, and further back, Kingsley Amis and P.G. Wodehouse. That Lasdun is not as broad as these last two, matters not at all for what it is he perceives and is able to conv [...]

    4. (2.5) This is a capable psychological thriller about an out-of-work chef who becomes obsessed with the idea that his wealthy cousin’s alluring wife is cheating on him during a summer spent with them in their upstate New York bolthole. I liked hearing about Matthew’s cooking and Chloe’s photography, and it’s interesting how Lasdun draws in a bit about banking and the Occupy movement. However, the complicated Anglo-American family backstory between Matthew and Charlie feels belabored, and [...]

    5. Whoever is handling publicity for this new release, is doing an excellent job. Covered in one of the weeklies as a must read thriller for Fall, 'The Fall Guy' really did not deliver in my opinion. The tale of revenge and obsession involved no thrills at all. I appreciate a multi-layer psychological suspense but this book was rather slow and the ending left me with a 'meh'. Don't get me started on the amateurish 'stalking' of Chloe, her elusive yoga classes and the wealthy husband's paranoia. The [...]

    6. Matthew, an unemployed and struggling chef, accompanies his wealthy cousin, Charlie, and Charlie's wife, Chloe, to their idyllic country house for the summer. Through secrets, suspicions, and jealousy cracks in their relationships are revealed, as Matthew becomes increasingly obsessed with Chloe and her behavior.The story is told solely from the perspective of Matthew. I would have preferred to have Charlie's and especially Chloe's perspectives as well. While Matthew's character was well develop [...]

    7. Cousins Matthew and Charlie set off to spend their summer at the latter's second home, along with Charlie's wife, Chloe. Charlie, a former banker turned 'ethical investor', is a multimillionaire; Matthew, a restaurateur with no current job and vague dreams of opening a 'gourmet food truck', has not been quite so successful (though this is one of those stories so stuffed with unimaginably privileged people that Matthew still has the sort of lifestyle most of us can only dream of). To make matters [...]

    8. First of all, I’m grateful to the Firstreads program and to the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, for allowing me to be an early reader.James Lasdun knows a thing or two about betrayal and revenge. In the last book I read by him – a memoir entitled Give Me Everything You Have – he tells the harrowing real-life story of being stalked by an unbalanced student.So it’s no surprise that this work of fiction, The Fall Guy, is so darn good. It builds momentum slowly, beginning with the int [...]

    9. Wealthy Charlie and Chloe have invited Charlie’s cousin Matthew, a struggling chef, to stay with them in their luxurious home for the summer. Matthew stays in the guest cottage and dreams of perhaps one day living there as caretaker of the home. He steps in as chef for the three of them and cooks enticing meals and they spend their days lounging by the pool or playing Scrabble. But tensions, suspicions and jealousy slowly escalate and the cracks in their relationship begin to appear.Saying any [...]

    10. The Fall Guy was just too slow. That is the basic reason that it was not for me. I'm not sure selling it as a "Taut psychological thriller " is doing it any favours because it is not taut nor is it really a thriller. It is more character study and yes some lovely literary writing the author has got going on here but although I love some literary stuff I need to have at least a sense that something might happen soon. Or at least a little tension.I think it would have worked better from multiple v [...]

    11. “The Fall Guy” by James Lasdun tells the story of Matthew, his cousin Charlie, and Charlie’s wife Chloe, as they leave New York City to spend the warmer summer months at their home near the Catskill mountains. As the summer wears on, their proximity to each other and their seemingly tight knit relationships begin to show the cracks of mistrust, past harms and current betrayals leading all three to make difficult decisions about their lives once they are forced to return to reality.“The F [...]

    12. This was a fast, engrossing read with better writing than I expect from a book like this.Matthew, stagnant and inadequate in his own life, observes the lives of those around him with envy, projecting his own desires onto others. His main focus is his successful cousin, Charlie, with whom he shares a complicated history. When Charlie and his wife Chloe invite Matthew to spend the summer with them at their mansion in the mountains, tensions slowly rise and things take a turn for the ominous.Matthe [...]

    13. This is a decent psychological slow-burning thriller set in rural New York State. Charlie is invited to spend the summer with his good friend Matthew, a city financier, and his wife in their very smart holiday home. It isn't long into the novel when it is clear that despite his cooking and general help around the place, Charlie's presence is a bit awkward, a bit of a hanger-on. Dirty deeds are expected, but the pace of the novel isn't quick, not that that is a problem, it suits the hot New York [...]

    14. Genre: Physical ThrillerPublisher: W. W. Norton and CompanyMini ReviewWe meet two cousins that have a long history together. At one point in their teens they lived together. They have loving memories as well as buried resentments for one another. Throw in an obsessive attraction to the wife and what you get is a murder mystery. I enjoyed this book, but I suspect many fans of the genre, Physical Thriller, will not be. The difference between “Fall Guy” and most other thrillers is that this is [...]

    15. I think I heard too much about this book before I read it. The book flap bills it as a "taut psychological thriller" and a "complex moral tale as well as a gripping suspense story," and the book club that sent it to me said "I would recommend starting this book early in the day - once you pop, you won't stop".In fact I DID read this book all in one sitting, but my primary motivation to keep turning pages was curiosity about when the "psychological thriller" aspects were going to kick in. It's no [...]

    16. After having just read A Month in the Country (Carr) and To the Wedding (Berger) this new Lasdun novel seemed gauche and almost vapid. If it hadn't been a library-download about to expire from my device, I would not have chosen to read this directly after those works of understated complexity and sublime beauty. But I'm not saying I would have loved this novel even if it hadn't been juxtaposed with those two.This is a quasi-mystery and here Lasdun is again exploring the mind of a sociopath throu [...]

    17. Disclaimer: I didn't finish this book. I got about 50% through before I stopped reading. BECAUSE NOTHING WAS HAPPENING. Wouldn't you think a book called "The Fall Guy" would include like some crime, a cover up, some action at all? This just didn't have that for me. It was like reading about a socially awkward person being very slow to make these connections about the people in his life (that as the non-socially awkward reader, I kept making long before him). To the author's credit, I think a lot [...]

    18. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.After hearing about this book from a few book bloggers I was very excited to get a chance to read this book but that's where the excitement ended. The book takes a very, very long time for anything exciting to happen. Basically, half the book is spent "setting the scene" and the other half flys by. I mean I was flat out shocked when I turned the last page because there was at least another chapter or 2 of story to go. I [...]

    19. This is not a greatly memorable book, but it is surely diverting. Disappointingly, the characters are flat and – across the board – unsympathetic. But there’s an intriguing plot, an unfolding story of people whose past relations with each other, while not immediately apparent, are particularly awful. In the beginning, we have a trio – an investment banker who recently lost his job but has no shortage of money, his lovely photographer wife who appears flawless, and the banker’s cousin, [...]

    20. To put it bluntly, this book tries way too hard.I've read a LOT of thrillers. Short of actual horror, they're probably my favorite genre. In that, I've read a good chunk of novels about weirdly obsessed men with women. I read The Undoing, Watching Edie, and Orchard Grove all just this year, in fact.You know what all those books did well that The Fall Guy didn't? Focused on the characters. Y'know, the characters who are either stalking or being stalked? The ones who make terrible decisions that d [...]

    21. I love stories like this, that plunge me right in from page one. Matthew, a down-on-his-luck chef, visits Charlie and Chloe, his wealthy cousin and wife. At first everything seems idyllic, but as the story progresses, each character has secrets and motives that slowly unfold. The narrative is from Matthew's point of view and at first you might believe everything he says, but again, as things progress, you have reasons to wonder if he's being totally honest. And then it's a matter of Chloe, who c [...]

    22. A kind of messed drama about Matthew who goes to stay at the summer home of his rich cousin Charlie and his alluring wife Chloe. While there Matthew begins to see fissures in what he thought was a great marriage/relationship between his cousin and his wife as well as his own relationship to Charlie. One day on a suspicious hunch he follows Chloe only to discover her betrayal which begins a chain of events that ultimately does Matthew in. Without giving away more of the plot, the ending is what l [...]

    23. I don't give a whole lot of one star reviews, so this kinda pains me. But not as much as reading this book. I assumed by the cover art that I wouldn't like this book, but the title totally made me give it a shot.While not a requirement, not a single character was likable or relatable. It took more than half of the book for there to even be any action. And then it kinda ends abruptly. I wasted a free Book of the Month Club credit on this book and I'll never get it back. Saying this book was under [...]

    24. Loved it. The perfect blend of drama, suspense and literary merit. Characters with depth that you care about and who act like real people, not characters in books. Unlike most books, I did not know how it would turn out which kept me involved. Loved it. Highly recommended.

    25. I always appreciate novels of psychological suspense, and I think they work well on audio--that moody, often chilling tone and unlikeable characters. This time I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more in print, as the narrator distracted and certainly didn't do the book justice. Poor cousin Matthew spends the summer with superrich Charles and wife Chloe (whom Matthew has long adored from afar) at their plush home in the Catskills. The tension among the characters is palpable from the very first, [...]

    26. Let's start with a silly complaint, shall we? I felt negatively predisposed to this book because of something triviale huge font and almost double-spaced sentences. I'd prefer the book to be shorter than look goofy in this format. Anyways, this is perhaps the most low-key book I've ever read. I would recommend this for very specific readers: those who enjoy pretty solid character studies with little action. The author had a truly unique ability to portray the few action scenes with little or no [...]

    27. Very quick read, and that's the best thing about it. There is a bit of tension during the last 1/3 of the book that could have gone in many different directions, but didn't resolve. As noted in the description, there are three main characters -- Charles married to Chloe, an affluent couple who invite Charles's cousin Matthew to spend the summer at their "place" in the Catskills. As the backstory unspools, we learn of Matthew's troubled past and familial history with Charles. We learn nothing of [...]

    28. I didn't like itI didn't like the charactersI didn't like the storyI didn't like the way it was toldI didn't like the constant directions on how to get back to the houseI didn't feel the feelings that I was told these characters hadI didn't even like it enough to give specific reasons of whyI didn't like it, I just didn't and I disliked it that much that I can't even explain it. :(

    29. A serviceable thriller, which is quick to read and easy to enjoy. The main problem is that, by the end of the novel, the anti-hero's fate seems very unfair. Yes, he's no angel, but once I started to empathise with him, I wanted him to get away with it. Patricia Highsmith handles the "poor relative" antihero dilemma much better in the Ripley series. John Lanchester creates a more entertaining "psychopathic epicure" in The Debt to Pleasure. I preferred both books to this one.

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