As in many of the best literary fiction novels, McIntyre’s work aims a microscope at its troubled protagonist, relentlessly exposing flaws and confronting prejudices head-on, without sacrificing reality for fancy. Standout scenes include Daniel’s alcohol and Ativan-induced stupor at his father’s funeral service and a young adulthood run-in with law enforcement—an experience that causes him to wonder, as he looks back on it, if it was actually his attempt to “[put] me out of my misery.” Readers will undoubtedly relate to Daniel, at his best and worst moments, due to the palpable humanity McIntyre injects into him via powerful prose and excellent voice curation.
Even at its most dramatic and played-up, Frank’s Shadow keeps its feet on the ground and delivers a first-rate, incisive, even inflammatory character study that will hook readers from beginning to end. McIntyre, a New York native, paints the New York City of 1998 with a kind of vividness born of authenticity, highlighting its charms and harms in ways that connect Daniel to the place and time, further immersing readers in this engrossing story. Daniel’s pursuit of his own deliverance is earnest and unrestrained, candidly portrayed as he searches for the deeper meaning in his father’s life. This is a triumph of dramatic literature.
Takeaway: An incisive character study set to the throbbing backbeat of ‘90s New York City.
Comparable Titles: Mary E. McDonald’s Small Town Empire, Steven Lomske’s On the Bank of the Chippewa.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A