Review: The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon


Release date: June 12, 2018

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


In a new novel from New York Times bestselling author Bryan Reardon, a suburban family is rocked in the wake of a terrorist attack on American soil.

On a typical late summer day, Julia Swann is on the phone with her husband, Michael, when the call abruptly goes dead. Then the news rolls in: A bomb has gone off at Penn Station, where Michael was waiting for a train home. New York City is in a state of chaos.

A frantic Julia races to the city to look for Michael, her panic interwoven with memories of meeting and falling in love with the husband she’s now desperate to find. When someone finds a flier she’s posted and tells her they may have seen her husband, her dreams seem to be answered. Yet as she tries to find him, her calls go unanswered.

Weaving between the aftermath of the explosion and Julia’s memories of her life with Michael, new developments raise troubling questions. Did Michael survive the explosion? Why hasn’t he contacted her? What was he doing when their last call was cut off? Was he—or is he still—the man she fell in love with?

Part family drama, part tragic love story, and part disaster narrative that hits terrifyingly close to home, The Real Michael Swann is a deftly plotted suspense novel with an unflinching portrait of a marriage at its heart, challenging us to confront the unthinkable–both in our country and in our own homes.


The premise for this one strikes a cord because it reads like something that could actually happen, similar things have happened, and nothing is more frightening than fiction becoming reality, especially in terms of terrorist attacks. This is part thriller part domestic suspense with moments of poignancy as Julia and Michael’s marriage is examined under a sharp lens and part heart pounding action thriller as the race to find Michael intensifies.

This did take me a little while to get into it’s not one of those books that grabbed my attention instantly but it did reel me in about a quarter of the way through and then I finished it in few sittings. The explosive ending more than made up for it though, I really liked how things worked out and absolutely loved the epilogue. I really connected with Julia, her pain and confusion was palpable and her feelings as a wife and mom were very relatable for me. Many of the chapters were short which is always a technique I enjoy and Reardon is a solid writer with a penchant for weaving a compelling tale.

The Real Michael Swann in three words: Timely, Suspenseful and Gripping.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon

  1. Norrie says:

    OMG, i’m always terrified of something like this actually happening in real life. Sounds like a good story and good writing, but i dunno if i could read it without getting too upset.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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