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Paradime    by Alan Glynn Amazon.com order for
Paradime
by Alan Glynn
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2016 (2016)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Paradime by Irish writer Alan Glynn has been called 'deliciously creepy' by Kirkus reviews. How right that is.

Danny Lynch worked in Afghanistan as a civilian employee, happily doing his kitchen job away from the fighting and earning good money. Suddenly his life turned around when he saw something he shouldn't have and he found himself back in New York City, lucky to even have a job. If it meant chopping carrots ten hours a day, it was better than what the alternative might have been. He got the message - don't discuss what you saw in Afghanistan.

One day, at the job, his station allowed him to see a table in the restaurant and, by God, there sat a man who looked just like him! His likeness to Teddy Trager, founder of the billion-dollar investment firm Paradime Capital is extraordinary and leads him into a life he could never have imagined. But nothing is ever what it seems, as he soon finds out.

The plot of Paradime starts with a slight hint of what is to come. As the pages turn, the plot thickens as it is stirred to become almost diabolical. Poor Danny is in a position that he knows can't last for long and he tries to enjoy it. But what seems too good to be true, usually is.

Author Glynn's first novel Limitless was released as a film in 2011. He has written three other well-received novels. Glynn knows his audience and writes well for us.

2nd Review by Rheta Van Winkle:

After Danny Lynch witnessed a shocking event in Afghanistan, where he was working in a chow hall, he was suddenly fired from his job and sent back to New York. He really needed the job to help his girlfriend pay the rent on their apartment and was hoping to make enough money overseas to pay off her student loan. After he gets back, he wanders around the city, unable to return to his previous job because that restaurant has now closed, and somehow unable to get serious about looking for anything else.

His girlfriend thinks he's suffering from PTSD, but he just can't stop thinking about what he saw, and then, to make a bad situation worse, he gets a letter from his former employer that his last paycheck is being withheld. When he calls about it, he is given an appointment with a lawyer. Terrified, he goes to the meeting and is astounded when Phil Coover comes up to him as he waits and says he'd like to talk. Coover says that the man who wrote the letter is busy, but Phil thinks that he can help Danny out of his fix.

Sure enough, he says that if Danny doesn't make a fuss about what he saw, he will see to it that Danny receives his final check, additional severance pay, and he will even help Danny find a new job. The next day Danny is again working in the kitchen of a nice restaurant, where he finds that he can see people at one of the tables. This helps with the occasional boredom of his job until the day that he spots a man who looks exactly like himself.

Danny becomes obsessed with this man, starting to follow him, look up everything about him on the Internet, and even dress like him. Meanwhile Danny's girlfriend is becoming more and more concerned about his mental state. She doesn't approve of what he's doing, but she still thinks that he's suffering from PTSD. So she wants to help him, but their relationship suffers.

I must admit that I didn't like Danny much while reading the first part of Paradime, whether his actions are due to PTSD or he's just a jerk. After seeing his doppelganger, Danny lurches from crisis to crisis, never sure about what is going on or who to trust and believe, and the story becomes compelling and hard to put down.

The author, Alan Glynn, also wrote a book that was made into the television show Limitless, and there are similarities in the stories' basic premises. Both main characters become caught up in an unusual situation, with powerful dark forces involved, but Danny is much less self-confident in dealing with his. By the end of the book I felt sympathy for Danny and his plight, and I really enjoyed the way Glynn pulled the whole thing together.

Review by Barbara Lingens:

Have you ever been told you look just exactly like someone else? I have, more than once, and it causes mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel flattered; on the other, it's depressing that my looks are so average. Danny, the hero in this story, has the same problem except he does something about it.

An Iraqi veteran suffering from PTSD, he is having trouble getting his life together. When he discovers he has a rich, tech-savvy double named Teddy he can't help stalking him. The next step is to impersonate Teddy, and when he is successful, he wonders who is kidding whom. It takes him a while to figure out what is really going on, but after that he has to figure out what he is going to do about it since he doesn't want anyone he loves hurt.

This story has an up-to-the-minute feel to it, with its biting take on modern corporate enterprises and the insidious interplay between government and commerce. Besides a wonderfully twisting story to follow, it provides some interesting food for thought. Its greatest strength, though, is the voice of Danny, the vet who for a brief time becomes Teddy. His thoughts, dialog and take on the people around him are spot-on true and believable.

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