From critically acclaimed author Russell Wangersky, comes a dark, psychological thriller about a man named Walt, a grocery store cleaner who collects the shopping lists people leave in the store and discard without thought. In his fifties, abandoned, he says, by his now-missing wife Mary, Walt is pursued by police detectives unsatisfied with the answers he’s given about her disappearance.
Almost invisible to the people who pass him every day, the grocery lists he collects, written on everything from cancelled cheques to mortgage statements to office stationary, give him a personal hold over those who both ignore him and unwittingly disclose facets of their lives to him.
When a new cold case squad is formed in St. John’s to look into Mary’s disappearance, the detectives begin to realize that Walt may be involved in more than just his wife’s disappearance.
Set in modern-day Newfoundland, after reading Walt, you’ll be sure to never let your shopping list fall to the floor ever again.
[Wangersky] follows in the footsteps of Mailer and Dostoevsky, delving into the psychology of a deeply disturbed character…
Read him: Cross of Ishmael Reed and Lou Reed. Here be expert experimentalism: The dictionary exploded and reloaded; the canon fired and melted down.
Walt is a brilliant Chinese-finger-trap of a book. The plainspoken narration draws you in and makes you feel at home, yet all the while Wangersky is cranking the thumbscrews, the grip tightening and tightening until you're left utterly breathless. Think The Silent Wife, think Gone Girl — that same sense of mounting menace, a feeling that things ain't quite right beneath the surface calm. You can read this book in one sitting but I guarantee it'll stay with you for years.
a frank, penetrating thriller... the wordcraft here is crisp, tight and evocative
One of the most unsettling crime novels I’ve read this year…Wangersky can write extraordinarily well in a number of disciplines, so it’s only reasonable to expect that, when turning his attention to psychological suspense, he’d excel at this, too.
a full-on psychological thriller in the vein of John Fowles’ 1963 classic The Collector....contains a number of chilling scenes....Wangersky does a good job keeping the reader guessing as to whether Walt is a bona fide killer, or just another garden-variety creep.
[Russell] has a gift for astute observation, wisely chosen detail, and characterization that nods in certain directions without forcing or pushing. Just as vitally, he and Walt demonstrate the ways the rhythms and music of words can be used to build sensation — and serious unease — on the page.
a cracking good story
a character-driven literary novel, with the suspense of a thriller…rich, evocative writing makes everything in the book feel remarkably real
Meet Walt. Obsessed with shopping lists he picks up in the supermarket where he works, and the women they lead him to. Possibly a stalker. Possibly a peeping Tom. Possibly a murderer. Russell Wangersky's fine novel takes you into the mind of a character you're not likely to forget in a hurry and to places beyond your comfort zone. It's all done with great style, economy, and dollops of dark humour that make it a joy to read and difficult to put down.