A Book Spy Review: ‘The Real Michael Swann’ by Bryan Reardon


The Real Michael Swann.jpgNo one ever expects to be caught in a terrorist attack on their way home from work, but in Bryan Reardon’s new thriller, Michael Swann finds himself in the midst of chaos after a bomb rings out at Penn Station on an ordinary summer afternoon.

The story opens with Michael chatting away on his cell phone to his lovely wife, Julia, who is back at their West Chester, Pennsylvania home with their two children. Suddenly, an explosion fills the air, abruptly cutting off their call — leaving Julia in panic as she struggles to process what just happened. Soon, news reports come pouring in, confirming her worst fear, that a bomb detonated at the very location her husband was standing.

Multiple media outlets all report the same thing, that the bomb was an act of terrorism. But, in a surprise twist, the bomber isn’t revealed to be some Middle Eastern jihadist who came to America to strike a blow to the Great Satan like so many expected. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, as the bomber is said to be an American who was targeting members of a large chemical corporation. . . a man by the name of Michael Swann. 

Upon hearing her husband’s name in connection with the bombing, Julia’s nightmare quickly turns into hell on earth. After additional reports surface suggesting that Swann is unaccounted for, Julia tries desperately to get into New York City, where she’s convinced her husband — innocent of all the crimes being alleged against him — is wandering around as confused as she is. But Julia isn’t the only one trying to track down Michael. So too are the local authorities and the Department of Homeland Security, all of whom believe him to be guilty. 

As Julia races to find her husband before the police do, she slowly begins to peel back the layers of her marriage, looking for anything that might point to Michael being capable of such a heinous act. . . hoping all the while that her husband has been framed, but still preparing herself for the unthinkable.  

Bryan Reardon tells the story through alternating POVs, with the bulk of the plot centered around Julia and her quest to find the truth. Whereas so many stories and real-life tragedies tend to focus on the person at the epicenter of the event, and rightfully so, Reardon shifts the lens towards the family of the alleged bomber, analyzing the hell they walk through in the aftermath of their family name being etched into history for all the wrong reasons. 

Told with a relentless pacing that grabs readers early and refuses to let go, Bryan Reardon’s latest thriller is a gripping account of the consequences families face following a domestic terrorist attack. The Real Micach Swann is powerful, moving, and helplessly addictive. . . trust me, you be able to set this book down for a second. 

Book Details

Author: Bryan Reardon
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524742325
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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