A Gripping Thriller With a Taste of the Supernatural

Leilanie Stewart’s The Blue Man is part of that best genre of supernatural horror/thriller: is it really happening, or only in the mind?This tension remains in both timelines of the book, which take place in 2000 among high school friends, and again in 2020 when they begin to meet up (by chance?) after decades apart. By treating each timeline simultaneously, the book builds two crescendos at the end, which I would spoil if I discussed. But, I can say this alternating between the past and present maintains the mystery into the events of the future, because even though they have already happened, we only learn them at the end.

The book is understated. There is not a lot of gore or physical action, which grounds the strangeness of the plot and makes it easier to accept. In fact, there is probably more violence between individual characters than there is between them and the mysterious Blue Man.

The book is contemporary, but includes aspects of the pagan and Christian past of Ireland. The detail creates a nice touch and seems well-researched. No doubt, since Stewart explains in her bio she was previously an archeologist.

The main characters, Megan and Sabrina, are best friends in high school. Their friendship is damaged by what may or may not be a real supernatural being known as the Blue Man. The book maintains a first-person perspective for both characters, which made it difficult for me to keep them separate in my mind, particularly because we have two timelines with two first-person narratives. The characters’ voices were similar as well, so I had to develop a system to visualize each one and keep that image in my mind as I read. A simple third-person omniscient perspective might have been easier on the reader. But having said this, other than having to be a little more diligent while reading (not necessarily a bad thing, tbh), this unusual perspective did not harm the book overall.

The cover is simple, but matches the story very well. Book covers can either capture the plot visually, or by implication. The Blue Man cover does both at once, which is a nice touch.

I recommend The Blue Man to anyone who likes a good thriller, especially if you enjoy a hint of the supernatural – or not supernatural, as the reader is left to make that decision for themself.

You can visit Leilanie Stewart’s Amazon page to see the other books she’s written.

Read my other Stewart reviews:

The Fairy Lights ❯

The Buddha’s Bone ❯

Matthew’s Twin ❯