"Martin Reed is the proverbial butt of everyone's jokes. Working as a glorified accountant at Southern Toilet Supply and still living with his cantankerous mother, he has become resigned to the world in which he lives -- the school bullies now pick on him in the workplace, women still spurn him and his arch enemy is now his supervisor. So when he leaves home one morning to find his car bumper hanging right off, he thinks it's nothing more than the usual pranks his toxic colleagues like to play on him."(-From the blurb on the back cover)
If you enjoy suspense novels, chances are you have read something by Karin Slaughter. I quite enjoy her writing and so far I've read about half of her crime novels, mainly her Grant County series. Because I like her as an author I picked up a copy of Martin Misunderstood, which isn't like any of her other books I read.
The novel tells the story of Martin, the biggest loser you've ever seen. He's 36 but nothing has really changed for him since his high school days. He has a crappy job, where he is constantly harassed by his co-workers, and he still lives with his mother who is an enormous bitch, and that is putting it mildly. His boring and depressing life is changed completely when one of his co-workers ends up dead and the police start suspecting Martin has something to do with it.
What I liked about this novel is the way in which Martin's existence is described. At first I didn't think I'd enjoy reading about a guy like him, but the struggle that is his life is told in such detail that you cannot help but imagine what it would be like to be him or at least sympathize with what he has to go through. At the same time I also found it excruciating, because Martin can be so stupid at times I wanted to scream at him: "Come on, get your shit together!"
Another great character in this book is that of Annie, a very competent but lonely police officer. To get her fellow police officers off her back inquiring about her love life, she invents an imaginary girlfriend who she end up finding much comfort in. Not that her character is gay, but she's so lonely the idea of a girlfriend sounds very appealing. I didn't like where Annie ended up, but that part I liked.
With only 147 pages, this novel is rather short and I read it in a few hours. I usually prefer longer books, but it was a really good read. It kept me entertained and intrigued, and I was totally taken by surprise by the outcome, which doesn't very often. In sum, if you're looking for a good suspense novel to read on a Sunday afternoon, check out Martin Misunderstood.
This novel was read for the GLBT Reading challenge as well as the LGBT Book challenge.
What's queer about this book?: Mainly the author (and also the imaginary girlfriend of the police officer).