By Jeff Labrecque
Updated January 13, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

Tyler’s 18th novel, Noah’s Compass, features an aimless 60-year-old Baltimorean whose defining characteristic is resignation. Liam Pennywell has barely been a presence in his own life, settling for a divorce and a series of professional disappointments. His final drift into oblivion is interrupted by a violent assault that partially robs him of his memory but also indirectly gives him one final chance at happiness. Tyler, renowned for placid, introverted characters, has created an insurmountable challenge with this one. Liam eludes the reader just as he does his frustrated loved ones. Tyler’s beautiful storytelling restraint, usually so rewarding, is unfulfilling here. B?

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