Book Reviews · Legal Thriller · Mystery · Thriller

The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson – Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Someone has been creeping in the dark while the others sleep, and they’ve done terrible, terrible things.
“There was a man on your roof,” claims curmudgeonly lane-hermit Herbert McKinney. Then, he initiates an unprovoked fight with a local punk. Drama escalates when that punk’s dead body is found hanging at mid-street one August morning—a boastful killer messaging their next prey. All fingers point to Herbert as the culprit. Soon, the five couples he calls neighbors come under suspicion, too. When detectives divine blackmail as the motive, eyes cross to find who hides the most shameful secret. Husband versus wife, friend versus friend, the shiny suburban veneer of innocence has been forever tarnished. As hidden deviousness boils from their pores, there lurks a thief, a pill addict and a sadist—secrets worth killing for.
Now, as the man on the roof helps guide justice and watches devious neighbors slip in and out of sleepy houses, confusion and questions persist. Who dies next? What have they learned? Who is becoming a monster? Who already is one? And just how many secrets can a small group of multi-ethnic Ohioans have? Only one cemented truth exists: the killer will kill again.
A taut domestic mystery-suspense thriller, The Man On The Roof propels the reader through a tangled, volatile and suspenseful thicket of deception, murder and friends, inviting the reader to discover the murderer and who hides which lie. First there was Gone Girl. Then there was The Girl on the Train. Now, there’s The Man On The Roof.

Overall, I found the story to be an interesting one.  One aspect that I very much enjoyed was the book’s structure.  It almost mimicked the structure of a police investigation, which allowed me to feel as though I played an active role in solving the mystery.

In addition, the story had a well developed cast of diverse characters.  As my favorite podcast (Read or Dead – check it out if you haven’t!) points out frequently, it’s so rare to have an assortment of cultures represented in a book.  Unfortunately, the descriptions of these cultures weren’t always the most accurate.  Some were a bit stereotypical (and perhaps a bit racist at times).  I personally struggled to move beyond this, which may have impacted my opinion of the story significantly as a whole.

In addition, the book was extremely long, so not ideal for someone that is looking for a quick beach read.  Had I not been invested in solving the mysteries, I would’ve lost interest way beforehand.  Personally, although I commend the author for his incredibly detailed descriptions, I would rather do without some for the sake of time.  Similarly, the end of the book had a lot of information thrown together at once while made it difficult to understand what was going on.  However, I will say that the final sentence was the perfect ending for the book.

I do think Michael Stephenson has a special ability to craft a story, so I will definitely check out his future publications to watch his skills further develop.  Now available at major retailers, even Kindle UnlimitedGet your own hard copy here! Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy.  All thoughts are my own.



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