Imagine losing your life as you know it and having to start over under a new identify, in the blink of an eye...and NOT the witness protection program. This is what happens to Ben.
A fun, fast read that at times is implausible and at times is totally believable. For the dreamer in all of us, who've ever wished we could turn and throw it all away and still have a happy ending.. this book's for us.
A fine debut novel. Our hero takes a wild if improbable ride when everything he treasures blows up in his face (figuratively). Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the twists in Kennedy's plot. The tension builds page-by-page until it's nearly unbearable. Ok, the resolution may be a bit idealistic, but this really is one of those books you can't put down until you reach the last page!
I really enjoyed this novel. I always love when characters are able to drop out of sight and live a new life. I am amazed and chilled at the same time at the ease in which new identification can be bought to begin again.
I especially like that the story is told in the first person. It makes it seem as though the tale truly happened to someone like your best friend.
Oscar Wilde once said that the only real tragedy in life is getting what you want. Ben Bradford, the protagonist of Douglas Kennedy's new novel, The Big Picture, is living proof of that adage. At the start of Kennedy's novel, Ben Bradford would appear to have it all: a beautiful wife, a big suburban home, two kids and a partnership in a prestigious New York law firm. But Ben's heart lies neither with his family nor his career. Instead, he dreams of being a photographer, and when he discovers his wife is having an affair with the man next door--who happens to be a photographer--Ben snaps and commits an act that will commit him to a whole new way of life, forever.
This is probably the best book I have read in many years. Engaging, thrilling, edge-of-your seat excitement. I would highly recommend it!
This book is wordy, but it is a good story. Was very surprised how the book ended.
I liked it. A better-than=average beach read.
From Publishers Weekly
This astonishingly assured first novel, by an American working in London as a journalist, has a breathless readability that is rare-particularly as it seems at first to cover pretty familiar territory. Ben Bradford is a Wall Street lawyer living a comfortable life in Connecticut, with a wife and two small children, but he seems to be heading, rather early, for a midlife crisis. He had always wanted to be a photographer, still putters around at it, but feels his life is ebbing away. Beth, his wife, a frustrated novelist, is increasingly estranged from him. Then Ben discovers she has taken a lover-ironically, another failed photographer-and in a confrontation with the man, Gary Summers, Ben's accumulated rage leads to a moment of murderous madness. Both Beth's infatuation with Gary and Ben's maniacal rage seem rather out of character, but with that caveat, the rest of this headlong novel grips like a vise as Ben carefully covers up his crime, disappears and takes on his victim's identity. The Big Picture has to be the most careful and imaginative exploration of such a situation ever penned, from the details of how one convincingly contrives an apparent accidental death to the minutiae of building a new life, unrecognized, in a far place. In Ben's case, it is a small town in Montana, and his born-again existence there is rich in ironies, from his eventual success as a photographer to his ultimate need to disappear yet again. The book is more than just a compelling read: it also has poignant and moving things to say about lost opportunities and wasted lives in America, the cynical quality of sudden fame, the awfulness of willed separation from deeply loved children.