review and cover mani: man of the year

The back jacket from Goodreads:

Beware the Man of the Year. You may praise him, resent him, even want to be him: but beneath the elegant trappings that define him, danger looms. Caroline Louise Walker’s stunning debut novel, for fans of Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door, delves into the increasingly paranoid mind of a man whose life as the most upstanding of citizens hides a relentlessly dark heart.

Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.

But when he begins to notice his new houseguest getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack. All the little lies Robert tells—harmless falsehoods meant to protect everything he holds dear—begin to mount. Before long, he’s embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends, his wife—who can clearly see the truth.

Biting and timely, Man of the Year races along at an electric pace, with a wicked twist that you won’t see coming.


Watching a white, arrogant man self-destruct is my new favourite pastime thanks to MAN OF THE YEAR. The sort of guy who’d read a Huffington Post article and consider himself an expert, happy to mansplain at a moment’s notice, Robert proved to be just smart enough to destroy himself. No matter the situation, he consistently made the worst choices while his narrative showed a strong belief that he was outmanoeuvring everyone around him. Instead, he was losing his damn mind. The absolute best at being the worst—a character I loved to hate—this gem quickly became black humour central. No surprise that Walker wrote this character so flawlessly, as I doubt a man would possess the self-awareness to pen such blind confidence and entitlement. At times, I felt like Walker and I were making sly eye contact, a Jim looks to the camera moment if you will, sharing our mutual amusement over Robert’s behaviour. 

Jacket design by Donna Cheng
Jacket art by Plainpicture/Silveri

While my morbid enjoyment of Robert’s paranoia took the front seat in my reading experience, there was also a fair amount of tension. I understood early on that Robert would create an epic clusterfuck, and with the way Walker set up questionable and suspicious scenarios, I didn’t blame him. Every character held significant secrets and including alternate points of view had me chuckling aloud because oh no collision course, dead ahead. Essentially, a booknerd’s dream come true. Driving the plot with internal tension is exactly what suspense should be, and I was delighted to be reminded. 

MAN OF THE YEAR did take a while to get going and the ending wasn’t as sinister as I’d expected from the build up, but even so, this debut novel cemented my auto-buy status for Caroline Louise Walker. A solid four star read, I’m eager to see what Walker writes next. Big thanks to Gallery Books for a complimentary finished copy!


For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints – Paper Mache and Black Expressionism

China Glaze – Accent Piece and Ingrid

ORLY – Storyteller (Colorlab)

OPI – In My Back Pocket, I Just Can’t Cope-acabana, Can’t Find My Czechbok, matte topcoat

So Nailicious – needle and warrior brush

1 comment:

  1. They all can't be great books.



Whattaya got to say about that? *waits*

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