Praise for Reunion at Red Paint Bay

“Actions—even those that are unintended or misunderstood—have consequences, as Simon Howe, owner and editor of the weekly newspaper in his hometown of Red Paint, Maine, is about to learn. With his twenty-fifth high-school reunion approaching, pillar-of-the-community Howe begins receiving anonymous postcards with cryptic and increasingly threatening messages. At the same time, a mysterious man turns up in town and begins stalking Howe’s family, sidling up to his 11-year-old son, Davey, at a carnival; spilling secrets to his therapist wife, Amy; even violating the sanctity of his home. The level of suspense and menace increases as the stalker’s identity and purpose become clear, and Howe is forced to confront what he did on his graduation night and how those actions reverberated in the lives of others. Harrar tackles some big issues here, notably vengeance, guilt, and absolution, with the underlying question of when sex becomes rape. But messages aside, this 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

“George Harrar tells a remarkable story about a newspaperman who struggles to tell the truth, feeling reluctant to bear the consequences, a story of human failure and hard redemption. The writing, razor-sharp and wildly insightful, creates characters who seem to jump off the page—becoming people we know, people we are. Read this book, each page mysterious and compelling, hiding within it the deep core of being human.”

Elizabeth Cox, author of The Slow Moon

“A therapist who treats rape victims finds out she’s married to a man who might be a rapist.

Simon Howe has returned to his hometown of Red Paint, Maine, to edit the local paper, one that is almost routinely devoid of news. At the beginning of the novel, he has hired Dave Rigero, a rapist recently released from prison, as a pressman, much to the disgust of Simon’s wife, Amy. Although Simon makes an effort to justify giving Dave a job and thus reintroducing him into society, Amy firmly identifies with the victims in her therapy practice and feels that Simon should make no concessions to heinous offenders. Soon after, Simon begins to receive anonymous postcards, mysterious and mildly threatening, and he tries to think of anyone from his past who could have an animus against him. And then, even more creepiness begins to assert itself into Simon’s life, mainly involving his son, Davey, who’s spooked by a mysterious person hanging around the house and who has an odd conversation with a stranger at a carnival. It turns out this sinister man is Paul Chambers, a former high school classmate of Simon’s whose wife, Jean, had taken her life a few weeks before. Chambers is convinced that Simon is responsible because, 25 years before, he had had sex with Jean on the night of their high school graduation—but was it rape? Chambers shows up for “therapy” at Amy’s office, primarily to throw hints to her about Simon’s past. Eventually, Simon feels so threatened by Chambers that he shoves him into the bay and believes he’s drowned—so now Simon might be responsible not only for Jean’s rape and eventual suicide but for her husband’s murder as well.

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

Praise for The Spinning Man

“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

“This riveting, whip-smart suspense novel by Harrar (First Tiger) follows a philosophy professor under investigation for the disappearance of a teenage cheerleader…The interactions between husband, wife and the police detective crackle with sharp dialogue. The result is 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

“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

“Evan Birch, the protagonist of George Harrar’s elegant and unnerving mystery of psychological suspense, THE SPINNING MAN (Putnam, $24.95), has a confession to make. ”I’ve behaved far too well in my life,” says Birch, a middle-aged professor of philosophy at a small college in an unnamed town. ”I’ve almost bored myself at times.” Although beloved by his bookworm wife and whip-smart 10-year-old twin sons, Birch is such an inoffensive soul that it must surely be a mistake when he is arrested in connection with the disappearance of a 16-year-old cheerleader. But as evidence (including the blond hair and tube of ”Red Red” lipstick found in his car) piles up to the contrary, Birch turns to Wittgenstein for guidance on the ambiguities of language and the vagaries of thought. ”It’s only in our language where uncertainty arises,” he protests of the word and mind games with which the police try to trap him. 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. Just a thought . . . if thoughts can be trusted.”

The New York Times

“George Harrar’s taut psychological drama, ‘The Spinning Man,’ occurs almost exclusively in the mind of Evan Birch, a professor in the troubled philosophy department in a small-town college. And quite a mind it is, as Birch dissects Wittgenstein, volleys lovingly with his wife over Proust, comforts their twin 10-year-old sons, and takes notice of the peculiar habits of his female students.
Despite his tenuous situation at the college, these should be happy days for the handsome, unassuming Birch. His book, ‘Disturbing Minds,’ has just been published; his wife, Ellen, his intellectual match, has a thriving, if offbeat, career; and their Adam and Zed are adorable. Whatever tensions exist in the Birch household seem unremarkable — until he’s pulled over by the local police, handcuffed in front of the two startled boys, dragged to the precinct house, and told he’s been spotted at the place where a 16-year-old cheerleader recently went missing.
Harrar, a Wayland resident, 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. Clues open to more than one interpretation are scattered about, and secrets once thought to be inconsequential now seem to threaten the Birch family’s well-being. Soon, we find ourselves examining the professor’s every word: When he quotes Nietzsche in one of his sparsely attended classes, we’re not sure if he’s theorizing or defending his behavior. It’s a marvelous performance by Harrar, who blends the commonplace and the esoteric with exceptional ease.”

The Boston Globe

Praise for First Tiger

“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. Recommended for most fiction collections.”

Library Journal

“The troubled protagonist of the intelligent, straightforward coming-of-age story is 16 year-old Jake Paine…a petty thief and troublemaker…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

“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

Praise for The Wonder Kid

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

School Library Journal

Praise for The Trouble with Jeremy Chance

“Harrar (Parents Wanted) expresses Jeremy’s awe and curiosity as he sneaks a ride on a freight train, dines in a restaurant and witnesses a freakish disaster (a molasses factory explosion). The boy makes some mistakes (squandering all his money on one meal and stealing rum balls from a vendor) before he hooks up with his brother (and with his repentant father, too). In the end, the protagonist proves himself a hero, saving a man’s life and regaining his father’s respect. 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

“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. The son must break from his father, but he finds himself using what’s he’s learned from Pa to save someone’s life.”


Praise for Not As Crazy As I Seem

“…a novel that may have bibliotherapeutic potential.”

School Library Journal

“Harrar paints a very human picture of Devon, his family, and his friends, revealing the frustration of a teen afflicted with OCD who yearns to understand himself, fit in, and stay out of trouble. 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

Praise for Parents Wanted

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

ComeUnity Web Site

“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.”


“Harrar creates a balance of tenderness, humor and dramatic tension in this convincing portrayal of an ADD foster child adjusting to a new family. The author captures the hero’s emotional turmoil and desperate need for acceptance. Readers will sympathize with both Andy and his adoptive parents as they seek and eventually find mutual trust and love.”

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’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

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

Riverbank Review

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

Ruminator Review

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

Kirkus Reviews