I wanted to like this book so much. It’s Canadian, it gives off a completely creepy vibe, what more do I really need in a book? More than Wangersky can provide apparently.
Walt works at a grocery store, looked over by most of the customers but Walt sees them all through the slips of paper they write their shopping lists on. On discarded mail, old banking statements, letterheads Walt can piece together their lives from more than just the groceries they’re picking up. Walt is content with his life, living alone since his wife Mary left him years ago, though her leaving is seen as mysterious by the local police who won’t leave him alone about it. When the police start looking into past disappearances and see Walt as a possible connection between them, the stories between them may collide as Walt continues his collect of notes.
A story about a creepy middle-aged guy who collects grocery lists and stalks some of the shoppers should be interesting. It should make you never want to write a shopping list again, should make you look twice at the clerk bagging your Cheetos, should make me want to do all my shopping online but Walt doesn’t do that. While the psychology of the main character is interesting so much of the story is just his ramblings about how he sees people, what others do and how they act, and his own peculiarities. While some of these things are definitely horrifying the more I read the more I wanted something, anything to happen. But nothing did!
The police storyline was boring considering they’re the investigators, and the switch from the first person of Walt to the third person of the detectives was jarring, considering a first person of one of Walt’s stalkee’s Alisha is also told in first person through diary entry’s. The switch was jarring at times and it seemed like I was reading two different books. Also why even include Alisha’s diary entry’s when everyone just talks about how she feels like she’s being watched?
And to top it all off the ending was completely unsatisfying that by the end I couldn’t even be angry, I was just happy it was over.
If you’re looking for voyeuristic horror, Walt is not the one to read. While I haven’t read any more books similar to this I’ll recommend you watch One Hour Photo because it succeeds where Walt fails.
Publication: September 13th 2014
Pages: 315 pages
Genre: Fiction, Canadian, Mystery
My Rating: ⛤⛤
From critically acclaimed author Russell Wangersky, comes a dark, psychological thriller about a man named Walt, a grocery store cleaner who collects the shopping lists people leave in the store and discard without thought. In his fifties, abandoned, he says, by his now-missing wife Mary, Walt is pursued by police detectives unsatisfied with the answers he’s given about her disappearance.
Almost invisible to the people who pass him every day, the grocery lists he collects, written on everything from cancelled cheques to mortgage statements to office stationary, give him a personal hold over those who both ignore him and unwittingly disclose facets of their lives to him.
When a new cold case squad is formed in St. John’s to look into Mary’s disappearance, the detectives begin to realize that Walt may be involved in more than just his wife’s disappearance.
Set in modern-day Newfoundland, after reading Walt, you’ll be sure to never let your shopping list fall to the floor ever again.