When a man is found on a Norfolk beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him; to international medical experts who are baffled by him; to the national press who call him Mr Nobody; everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?
Neuropsychiatrist Dr Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same small town in Norfolk fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.
But now something – or someone – is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes.
Mr Nobody is a seductive, psychological thriller novel from British author and actress, Catherine Steadman.
When a man with a head wound and a missing memory walks out of the water on Holkham Beach in Norfolk, England in the middle of Winter, people are fascinated by his story. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why can’t he remember anything? London-based neuropsychiatrist Emma Lewis is sent in to investigate the man’s bizarre symptoms — she can’t resist the possibility that this could be a fugue case, and solving the mystery could be a big break in her career.
But, in order for her to meet the man and investigate his injury, Emma must return to her home town. She left 14 years earlier when a catastrophic incident thrust her family into the spotlight. But now she has a new name and a new life. Will people find out who she really is?
“It suddenly occurs to me how big a deal this case could be. If I take it, I won’t just be treating an extremely rare RA/Fugue patient, I’ll be responsible for averting another NHS diagnostic shit show. Because that’s exactly what the Piano Man case was.”
The premise and resulting storyline is a little absurd and at times hard to believe, but Catherine builds tension and intrigue well and successfully draws the reader in with secrets, unexpected events and unreliable characters.
There’s a gothic feel to this novel — secluded setting, mysterious pasts, and sinister motives — and the pacing is one of the strengths of the story. Events move forward with high speed and suspense, seducing readers and keeping them enthralled until the final page.
Mr. Nobody is more than just your standard psychological thriller — its intelligent, complex and multilayered, offering the reader more than just one mystery. Readers will find themselves desperate to know the truth about Mr. Nobody, but also about Emma’s past. Why did she flee Norfolk? What happened to her family? Why did she have to change her name?
“I notice his hair first. Across the car park a man stands talking to an older woman. I recognise that close crop of blond curls, at least I think I do…His back is to me, so I can’t quite tell for sure yet, but I feel the queasy tingly of nerves in the pit of my stomach.”
The POV throughout Mr. Nobody is incredibly messy. Each chapter in the book shifts between different characters; Emma and other featured characters are written in first person, but for ‘The Man’, his chapters are written in third person. And, within ‘The Man’ chapters, the perspective shifts and all of a sudden we’ll be focusing on someone else’s thoughts and actions and internal monologue. It’s incredibly clunky and confusing for the reader.
Additionally, Catherine fails to build enough tension and conflict between Emma and her family. At the beginning, they’re worried that their secret will be ousted to the world. But when it does, their reaction is incredibly mild and the situation resolves itself rather easily. It’s a bit disappointing, and doesn’t quite fit the tone of the rest of the novel.
“I check the video link; he’s very pale. I check his vital signs; his pulse is slightly raised. To be expected, the last time he was on the beach must have been terrifying.”
Incredibly well researched in the world of neuroscience, Mr Nobody is a spellbinding psychological thriller novel that will leave readers guessing. Who is Mr Nobody? And is he telling the truth?
Recommend for fans of thrillers, crimes, and suspenseful novels.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Simon and Schuster Publishers