The same deep-seated anger that fueled his award-winning debut story collection, Bucket Of Tongues (1994), also burns hot in...

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BUNKER MAN

The same deep-seated anger that fueled his award-winning debut story collection, Bucket Of Tongues (1994), also burns hot in Scottish writer McLean's first novel to appear here. But the rage against women in this tale of a janitor gone berserk is heavy-handed and finally not dramaticallly justified. Head school janitor Rob Catto has a lot going for him in the small Scottish town he calls home. But the new job, his sexy, adoring bride, and the cozy house they're in the process of repainting don't seem to be enough to keep him from sliding into an obsession that turns increasingly vicious. When a suspicious hooded man is seen near the school grounds, Rob appoints himself judge and jury to track down and punish the ""pervert,"" a decision that seems to set a nasty chain of events in motion. He accuses his wife Karen of being unfaithful, for no reason whatsoever, then begins a dangerous, abusive affair with a willing student, who mistakes his attention for affection; all while Rob continues sending increasingly outrageous law-and-order memos to the head of the school. In the midst of this frenetic activity, he meets the lurker, Bunker Man, who turns out to be a gentle, bird-watching homeless man living in a seaside WW II gun emplacement. Rob befriends him, but only so that he can more effectively frame him as the depraved sex criminal he needs for his vigilante notion of justice to work; when the backlash from his memos results in a humiliating dressing-down from his boss, Rob springs his trap--and heartsick, innocent Karen is the bait. While the acts of rage here are powerful and palpable, the motivations behind them are damningly obscure, and so flawed a foundation reduces the wholel to a tabloid tale--excessive, unpalatable, and confusing.

Pub Date: May 5, 1997

ISBN: 0393316165

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997