When a man is found on a Norfolk beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him; to international medical experts who are baffled by him; to the national press who call him Mr Nobody; everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?
Neuropsychiatrist Dr Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same small town in Norfolk fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.
But now something – or someone – is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes.
Has she walked into danger?
Hi and welcome to my review of Mr Nobody!
Naturally I had to check out the new audiobook selection on NetGalley and when I encountered Mr Nobody I didn’t think twice before I hit that request button, having enjoyed Something in the Water last year.
Catherine Steadman clearly has a thing with water, this time a man is found on a beach in Norfolk, hypothermic and with a head wound, no identification, unable to speak and with no recollection of who he is. Quickly dubbed “Mr Nobody”, he fascinates press and hospital staff alike, and before long, neuropsychiatrist Emma Lewis is asked for her expert opinion. Emma has done research and written papers about people who seemingly had the same condition as Mr Nobody, so who better to assess if this is a veritable fugue or a man malingering for some yet to be discovered reason.
However, Emma is not keen to return to Norfolk, where she grew up and where something happened that was so big and bad that she had to move away, erasing as much from her past as she possibly could, even her name. This case though? She can’t walk away from that. So she throws caution to the wind and heads to Norfolk anyway, ignoring her misgivings.
In my opinion, Mr Nobody is an expertly paced novel. Is there action from the very first page? No, not quite, but I did feel the tension from the get-go, urging me to keep on listening. I was properly intrigued by Mr Nobody, by Emma’s past, and by the connection they somehow seem to have, I wanted to unravel theirs pasts and their secrets. I also very much enjoyed the psychology bits.
Ms Steadman uses a… let’s call it a trope for lack of a better word, that I’ve been noticing more and more this year, but this time I didn’t see it coming and it was wielded in a surprising way, so I quite liked that. I do want to add that if you need your stories to be hyper realistic, you might want to skip Mr Nobody, as I did have to suspend disbelief somewhat, but regardless, it did work for me and I loved it.
Mr Nobody is narrated by the author. I always like the idea of a book being narrated by its own author, as no one knows better how to voice the characters and the events than the one who wrote them. She doesn’t tweak her voice to differentiate between characters but it’s always clear who is talking and what is happening. She also does an apt American accent for two of the characters and there are some “special effects” for phone calls and police radios. I loved her voice and accent, and I enjoyed her narration in general, although there was a bit of a recurring dry mouth situation, but not to the extent that it constantly bothered me.
Mr Nobody was a quick, entertaining audiobook to me, it lived up to the expectations I got from the blurb and I will definitely read Ms Steadman’s next thriller, although I might choose to read it and not listen to it.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio UK and NetGalley.