“[T]his is a tightly written psychological suspense from the author of The Spinning Man (2003). Harrar is one of those writers on the verge of connecting with a much larger audience; this could be his moment.”

Michele Leber, Booklist

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“Read this book, each page mysterious and compelling, hiding within it the deep core of being human.”

Elizabeth Cox, author of The Slow Moon

“Harrar skillfully echoes Alfred Hitchcock’s theme about how a seemingly innocent man can be sucked into a disturbing vortex of forces that lie just below the surface of ‘normal’ life.”

Kirkus Reviews


Reunion at Red Paint Bay

Red Paint calls itself “the friendliest town in Maine,” a place where everyone knows one another and nothing too disturbing ever happens. Native son Simon Howe is a sturdy family man–a good father and husband–and owner-editor of the town’s newspaper. Because there’s rarely any real news, he runs stories about Virgin Mary sightings, high school reunions, and petty criminals.

One day Simon’s predictable and peaceful life is disrupted by the arrival of an anonymous postcard, the first in a series of increasingly menacing messages. He tries to ignore them, but the implied danger becomes more real, threatening to engulf his wife and son as well. The Howe family becomes engaged in a full-scale psychological battle with their unidentified stalker–without even knowing it. Secrets from Simon’s past are uncovered, escalating toward a tense and unexpected climax.

More than a conventional mystery or thriller, Reunion at Red Paint Bay is an exploration of the consequences of guilt, denial, and moral absolutism. Harrar weaves a dramatic and suspenseful tale sure to spur readers into examining the limits of responsibility for one’s actions.

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“A harrowing psychological thriller from Harrar (Parents Wanted, 2001, etc.) about a mild-mannered philosophy professor who falls under suspicion of kidnapping…. A splendid exercise in suspense and terror: keeps you guessing right to the end.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“A suspenseful, did-he-or-didn’t-he plot and an unblinking look at the tensions of family life… an interesting, offbeat read.”

Washington Post Book World

“[Harrar] succeeds wonderfully in creating two worlds for us: reality as Birch sees it, and the one we cobble together from the people with whom the professor interacts.”

The Boston Globe

“A graceful and subtle writer, Harrar invites us to identify with the philosopher’s struggles to maintain his mental equilibrium, even as the novel dangles the possibility that the mind might not always be in control of the body’s behaviors.”

The New York Times

“A first-rate thriller that offers gut-wrenching suspense, ironic humor and a devious, cerebral suspect, with a stunning finale to boot.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review


The Spinning Man

Mild-mannered philosophy professor Evan Birch spends his days teaching college students to seek truth. Then, one afternoon, he’s pulled over by the police, handcuffed, and questioned about the disappearance of a local high school cheerleader. When the missing girl’s lipstick turns up in his car, the evidence against him begins to build. Even his wife and sons are having their doubts. And as the investigating officer engages him in a decidedly non-Socratic dialogue, Evan Birch begins to understand that truth may be elusive indeed — but sometimes you have to pick a story and stick with it…

From prize-winning author George Harrar, “The Spinning Man” offers riveting, whip-smart suspense in a tale in which every word matters-and questions of guilt and innocence are suddenly much more than academic.



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“Although Harrar presents a teen who continues to break the law, readers will be drawn to the compassionate and extremely sharp young man. Other troubled characters, such as Jake’s stepmother, Jenny and his good friend, Frank, are equally compelling.”

Library Journal

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“The trials of a good-hearted but troubled teenager provide the focus for Harrar’s debut as he details the way one family-shattering tragedy leads to another. The baffling intricacies of adolescent behavior are clearly of primary concern here, and they’re handled well.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Harrar’s realistic and gritty debut novel doesn’t sugercoat the life of a misunderstood boy, but neither does it deny Jake the possibility of redemption. Harrar keenly describes not only Jake’s limited options, but also his unquenched hopes for a better life.”

Publishers Weekly


First Tiger

When a car crash takes a life, to whom does the tragedy really happen — the wife who dies? The husband who was driving? Or the six-year-old son sitting in the backseat?

Author George Harrar explores this provocative question in his debut novel, set in the arts colony of New Hope, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River. The book begins 10 years after the accident when Jake Paine, now 16, comes home after almost a year as a runaway. His return sparks painful memories in his father, a man verging on a nervous breakdown. Jake’s appearance also ignites old fears among townspeople about a boy who dances on the edge of craziness.

First Tiger takes the reader inside the head of a teenager who lives by instinct, without considering the risks or consequences. In returning to “No Hope,” as refers to his hometown, Jake struggles to find if he can go home again.

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“Harrar adeptly maintains a boy’s perspective while inserting humor, trivia, and historical information into an otherwise harrowing situation.”

School Library Journal


The Wonder Kid

It started out as the Summer of No Fun for eleven-year-old Jesse James MacLean. And then it got worse.

It’s 1954, a year when polio, known as the great crippler of children, terrified parents. Jesse’s mom won’t let him go to the playground or hang out with friends for fear he will catch the disease—so Jesse stays home, making up his own games with his grandfather and dog, Gort.

No matter what Jesse does, he can’t seem to please his father, who wanted a basketball baseball football kind of son. Instead, Jesse spends his day drawing pictures, watching cowboy movies, and playing war with his army of metal soldiers.

Then polio strikes, paralyzing Jesse’s legs. With the help of an unlikely girlfriend, Jesse turns his imagination to creating comic strips, reinterpreting his life as The Wonder Kid with the power to make things happen by thinking them.

In this strange summer of UFOs and fallout shelters and deadly hurricanes, Jesse discovers just how much he has in common with his father and what it really means to be a hero.



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“Harrar has done a good job of researching the history (an afterword fills in more background), but it’s the coming-of-age story that provides the drama here, particularly the fierce anger and love that are part of Jeremy’s war with his dad.”

Booklist

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“Besides providing fast-paced action and a happy ending, this colorful novel captures the mood of the nation at the start of an exciting new era.”

Publishers Weekly


The Trouble with Jeremy Chance

In a small New England town at the close of World War I, Jeremy “T. stands for Trouble” Chance is eagerly awaiting the return of his brother, Davey, from the war. He distracts himself by exploring the woods near his home and psyching himself up to leap from his second-story window into the huge snowdrift below–a rite of passage for boys his age. Jeremy lands in real trouble when he declares his father wrong in a less than neighborly dispute with Mr. Cutter, who owns the land next door. Jeremy’s father is furious, and the rift between them gives the impetuous Jeremy all the incentive he needs to run away to Boston, in hopes of meeting his brother’s ship.

He catches a freight train at the edge of town and hooks up with a “traveling man” named The Professor, who gives him some tips on the hobo lifestyle. In Boston, Jeremy is wowed by the crowds, the tall buildings, and the El. He enjoys his first restaurant meal and is tempted by rum balls at a market stall. Suddenly, a big explosion rocks Boston, and Jeremy’s quick-witted resourcefulness becomes crucial to saving a firefighter’s life.

Set in one of the most storied eras of our history, this tale of a simple disagreement that escalates into an all-out battle between father and son highlights the courage it takes to question a parent and the strength that is necessary to know when to forgive.



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“At once humorous and poignant, frustrating and sympathethic, this will leave readers wondering if they could be a little obsessive-compulsive themselves.”

Frances Bradburn, Booklist

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“…a novel that may have bibliotherapeutic potential.”

School Library Journal


Not As Crazy As I Seem

Devon Brown is a lot neater than most 15-year-old boys. He lines up his sneakers under his bed. He hangs up his shirts by colors and buttons them from top to bottom. Germs bother him so much that he washes his hands dozens of times a day. To ward off bad luck, he does things in fours. Where do his compulsions come from? That’s what his parents and shrink would like to know. Some people say he’s crazy, but Devon thinks he’d be just fine if everyone just left him alone and stopped trying to fix him. Besides, the last thing in the world he would want to be is normal.

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Parents Wanted is altogether painful, goofy and insightful–an adoption story with a twist…The text is immediately engaging.”

Ruminator Review

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“It is a joy to read a positive mainstream fiction book about building families through adoption.”

ComeUnity Web Site

[Parents Wanted] sandwiches wonderfully observed comic moments between scenes that are both heart-wrenching and suspenseful…A killer read.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Harrar has written a powerful book about second chances, trust and redemption, and about the difficulty of building a family.”

Riverbank Review

“Harrar creates a balance of tenderness, humor and dramatic tension in this convincing portrayal of an ADD foster child adjusting to a new family.”

Publishers Weekly

“Readers will be touched…This is an excellent choice for those students whose lives have not always been comfortable.”

The Book Report

“Harrar perfectly catches the impulsive behavior of children with [ADD] and also lends some insight into the adoption process. Readers will care about Andy and appreciate the hopeful, realistic ending.”

Booklist

“Harrar’s fictional yet amazingly realistic journey of one boy’s struggle through the adoption system is sure to satisfy.”

Voices of Youth Advocacy

Parents Wanted not only won the 2001 Milkweed Prize, but it will also win the hearts of young readers.”

The Tampa Tribune


Parents Wanted

Parents Wanted introduces readers to Andy Fleck, a 12-year-old boy struggling to adjust to his latest family — his adoptive parents Jeff and Laurie — and to the idea that all rules were not meant to be broken. Allowing himself to trust his new parents and understanding the value of being trusted are the greatest challenges he faces. Andy’s strong narrative voice gives insight into the complex mind of a struggling kid, balancing his problems with his strengths as an energetic and lovable son.

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