A “provocative” psychological suspense novel about “a character who is bound inevitably to a disastrous past” (The Oregonian).
Years ago, Tom Levy worked an insurance scam that left him rich, but he is about to learn that wealth can’t always protect you from bad decisions. While vacationing in Jamaica, Tom witnesses a man goading his four-year-old daughter into a vulgar display on the dance floor. The man also happens to be married to the woman who has been capturing Tom’s own attention. Enraged, Tom vows he must pay with his life.
The next day, atop the Dunn’s River Falls, Tom kills the man in cold blood, in full view of witnesses—condemning himself to life in prison among the most brutal and hardened men of Jamaica. Does an elusive story hold the key to their salvation, and Tom’s own? And once Tom has told it, can he find a way to reenter the hearts of those he has left behind?
From the author of The Player, Under Radar was a Village Voice Favorite Book of the Year and blends elements of crime fiction and fable with an edge of black comedy.
“Applies an Old Testament vision with an up-to-the-second feel for the details of contemporary affluence . . . Compelling.” —The New York Times Book Review
The author of the acclaimed, Robert Altman adapted The Player fumbles with this rambling chronicle of a man's life and the retribution he faces after committing a senseless murder. With money made through insurance fraud, jaded and misanthropic Tom Levy takes his wife, Rosalie, and two young daughters to Jamaica. Bored by the tame surroundings of the family-themed resort, he starts fantasizing about Debra, a woman he spies on the beach. At a reggae party, Debra's husband, Barry, innocently persuades Tom's four-year-old daughter, Alma, to dance, and she starts gyrating her hips provocatively. An infuriated Tom takes Barry's interaction with the girl as "burning a child's dignity for laughs" and decides to kill him while both families take a guided tour of the island. Since his earlier felonies, Tom has been obsessed with going to prison, and he buys himself a life sentence by pushing Tom off a waterfall, in full view of everyone. From there, the novel devolves into some lengthy mythic storytelling as Tom emerges from nearly seven years of self-imposed silence, his hair shocked white from a condemned prisoner's spiritual allegory. When he clumsily recites the dead man's tale to the other prisoners, they are all miraculously set free, and Tom tries to reclaim the family that has gone on without him. Though pitched as a thought-provoking story about life's "infinite battalion of choice and consequence," it is marred by its uneven pacing, belabored existential tone and absurd premise not to mention its unsympathetic protagonist.