Atlantic Monthly Press, August 2015
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.
I’d been eagerly looking forward to reading Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer because the concept sounded out-of-the-ordinary: college student Patrick, who has Asperger’s, becomes convinced that the body he is dissecting in anatomy class was murdered. Bauer plays with atypical characters: a man emerging from a coma, a young man with Aspbergers. And Bauer plays with time: there are some flashbacks as well as flashforwards. Ultimately, unravelling the story about the man on the coma ward and the body in in the anatomy class are less important than the of Patrick coming to terms with people around him and his family, including the death of his father when he was young. I wanted the mystery of why or how the anatomy subject was murdered to be more mysterious, but ultimately it took a backseat to the story about Patrick coming to grips with his family. I think it’s hard to get buy-in into Patrick’s head. The plot elements just felt a little not gelled with the characters, and the villain, specifically, just felt unreal.