Alarming Developments: An absorbing novel, gracefully written, about sex and suspicionSecurity By Stephen Amidon Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 276 pages, $25
Stoneleigh is the “nuclear-free, dolphin safe” New England town The New England town is the basic unit of local government in each of the six New England states. An institution that does not have a direct counterpart in most other U.S. states, New England towns are conceptually similar to civil townships in that they were originally set up so where Edward Inman outfits the homes of skittish skit·tish
1. Moving quickly and lightly; lively.
2. Restlessly active or nervous; restive.
3. Undependably variable; mercurial or fickle.
4. Shy; bashful. yuppies with motion sensors, panic rooms and CCTV CCTV
CCTV closed-circuit television . Doyle Cutler is one of his clients—a wealthy man with a seedy mien, an aversion to shaking hands and a recessive recessive /re·ces·sive/ (re-ses´iv)
1. tending to recede; in genetics, incapable of expression unless the responsible allele is carried by both members of a pair of homologous chromosomes.
2. chin (always a bad sign.) These men, respectively, are hero and villain of Stephen Amidon’s new novel, Security. The book is part campus tale, part mystery, part police procedural police procedural
A story or drama about the investigation of a crime by the police.
a novel, film, or television drama that deals with police work . The proportions are well mixed.
Stoneleigh’s customary tranquility is stirred when Mary Steckl, a local college student, accuses Doyle Cutler of sexually assaulting her. Cutler rebounds with an accusation that Mary’s father, a drunk with a criminal record, is the real perp perp
One who perpetrates a crime.
US & Canad Informal a person who has committed a crime [short for perpetrator] . The town is divided. Inman, with his insider’s knowledge of the Cutler property, suspects that the recluse has some freaky-deaky secrets. At the center of the crime is a sullen teenage boy with untoward connections to both Cutler and Inman. Naturally, it’s not easy getting the kid to talk.
For all its plot twists, Security is a book stitched of sensible prose. There are no flourishes, no embroidery. This doesn’t mean Mr. Amidon’s sentences are dull—descriptions of sweat as “nerve juice” and stray Rice Krispies as “pale rat droppings” are nuggets Nuggets can refer to several branches of interest:
Which is fitting. Security is a novel about perception in all its variants: the differences in legal perception that confuse victim with criminal; the paranoia that leads people to outfit their country homes with museum-level security systems; the flawed hunches that spur family members to turn against each other. If the characters in Security have one thing in common, it’s that they’re vitally misunderstood by their children or spouses or neighbors (or all of the above).
Security is that peculiar breed of novel that reads quickly but requires close attention. The reader finds herself pulling back the reins, reminding herself to savor what goes down smoothly. The book is funny, too; wryly and intermittently in the way that life admits humor. “She wasn’t too familiar with this part of town,” Mr. Amidon writes of a middle-aged woman. “There was no reason for her to be, unless she wanted to take a hike that wound up with her being rescued three days later by men who would wrap her in tinfoil tinfoil,
n See foil, tin.
n See substitute, tinfoil. and feed her weak tea.” More than anything, Security evokes the peculiar (and occasionally sinister) intimacy of a small town where citizens are quick to surmise the worst of their fellows and slow to exonerate them. Good fences may make good neighbors, but bad neighbors make better novels.
Molly Young is a writer living in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of . She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.