Book cover of 'Security' by Stephen Amidon

By Stephen Amidon
Atlantic £12.99, 288 pages
FT Bookshop price: £10.39

Set in an America with strong echoes of Tom Perrotta’s Little Children and John Cheever’s short stories, Amidon’s sixth novel is a gripping account of scandal and fear in outer suburbia.

Security’s moral centre comes in the stolid form of Edward Inman, a security company owner who must watch, powerless, as a former colleague, Walt Steckl, is accused of sexual assault. Since Steckl is an alcoholic who’s already shown an aptitude for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, neighbours and acquaintances – including Inman’s politician wife – quickly turn on him. A quiet Massachusetts college town suddenly has worryingly little to distinguish itself from 1690s Salem.

Amidon ekes out the finale with the patience of a seasoned moose hunter. He is not as self-consciously ambitious as, say, Jonathan Franzen, but he is every bit as good at peeking behind the curtain of the American domestic unit.

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