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Jon Roemer Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Five Windows (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Joe Roemer’s debut novel “Five Windows” is a Hitchcock like story that is a disquieting take on life in modern-day San Francisco. Roemer showcases his expertise in instituting and then deepening his reader’s uneasiness. But the author is not focused on the plot complications that Hitchcock is very much known for. Instead, he focuses more on the psychological drama in the apartment setting where a publisher is experiencing an implosion in his life. Roemer’s achievement is to make the reader uncomfortable without giving up the fundamental realism that underpins the story. The novel is a disturbing tale that reads like a dystopian novel though it is set in a modern dystopia that most of his readers already live in. Right from the start, he introduces the dynamic of the watched and the watcher to make for a compelling narrative. Jon is an exceptional author especially in how he writes his stories right from the sentences to the paragraphs and chapters. There is always a feeling that one is getting the best from an accomplished craftsman who can make words do exactly what he wants them to do and get his readers to feel what he planned them to feel. He writes in a controlled and nuanced manner though he is often full of surprises. Jon Roemer writes with an almost claustrophobic intimacy as the lead almost goes insane as the tale spirals to the apocalyptic conclusion.

Jon Roemer’s debut novel “Five Windows” is the story of a work-obsessed book publisher. The recently divorced man lives in a gorgeous but stripped-down apartment in Francisco set on a placid hillside. He rarely leaves the apartment and for the most part, orders takeout meals that are delivered to his apartment. The most human contact he has with the outside world is via video calls with collaborators and authors. He spends his days staring out of five high windows from his apartment block checking out the people who are coming and going out of the building and walking past the street below. It turns out that the people are also observing the bizarre figure high up the apartment building. At the start of the novel, the narrator observes a fire in one of the houses across the road which turns to be just one of many such fires. He also hears bizarre muffled explosions coming from the houses across the street. Meanwhile, his upstairs neighbor had come out of his apartment all bloodied and begged the publisher to call for help. But in a bizarre turn of events, he had turned back and left with his lover who he asserts has gotten injured while they were carving wood. The community is also wary, angry and tense about a transit hub being considered very near their tranquil apartment block. Things get even more interesting when an international celebrity author comes to the publisher and asks that he publish a manuscript. He is not used to such big names publishing with him and gets even more perplexed when the manuscript tells a story eerily similar to his situation. Meanwhile, there is the question of the narrator’s reliability – for instance, why do the neighbors believe he is a malevolent presence?

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