A new novel exploring rapid, aggressive change in a legendary American city.
At a busy intersection on a San Francisco hillside, an overworked book editor looks up long enough to watch a trio of houses go up in flames. Once the smoke clears, he becomes increasingly concerned by what he sees out his windows and starts asking questions he never bothered with before.
Is the encampment in the park responsible for the fires — or are his new upscale neighbors somehow to blame?
Has the man upstairs even bothered to notice — or is his time better spent battling with his boyfriend?
What's his own ex-wife doing, resurfacing now just when things are getting tense?
Is everyone safer with more fire trucks around?
And a block down the hill, is the new mixed-use project the perfect urban remedy — or will it do more damage than anything else?
By the time the duplex across the street catches fire, questions start hitting even closer to home, including his own role in the neighborhood's upheaval.
"Jon Roemer knows his way around a sentence. From the first line through the last, readers feel they’re in the hands of an accomplished craftsman. Roemer’s writing is nuanced, controlled, and full of surprises. FIVE WINDOWS follows a reclusive editor, obsessed with his neighbors and the turmoil of San Francisco in the throes of gentrification, but trapped inside a fishbowl of his own design. Roemer writes with an intimacy that becomes almost claustrophobic as our protagonist flirts with madness and the plot spirals toward its apocalyptic climax. An impressive, engrossing debut from a bold new voice." - ALIA VOLZ, author of Home Baked: My Mother, Marijuana and the Stoning of San Francisco
"At once terse and elliptical, confidant and doubtful, the Hitchcockian narrator of FIVE WINDOWS lives in the San Francisco where history clashes with the contemporary, tech-rich neighbors step over the homeless living in tent villages, and where divorces are buy-outs and you can sue your neighbor for blocking your view. Like the slippery narratives and realities of Kazuo Ishiguro, Jon Roemer’s psychological thriller reveals the loneliness of a crowded city in which everybody sees their neighbors all day long and haven’t a clue who those neighbors are. It’s a gripping whodunit with an antihero as lovable and detestable as Travis Bickle, Tyler Durden, and John Cheever’s Swimmer. - BRIAN D. BOULDREY, author of The Boom Economy and Monster
"Jon Roemer channels Hitchcock in this noirish stunner. An indie publisher watches with increasing horror as his San Francisco neighborhood is rattled by small explosions, fires, domestic disputes, demolition, gunshots, broken windows — a sinister series of skin-prickling accidents coming ever closer to home. In Roemer's hands, the online "world of whispers" and the outside timeline of strange occurrances merge into an uncanny approximation of our times." - JANE CIABATTARI, author of Stealing the Fire
"A disquieting take on Rear Window set in contemporary San Francisco... Like Hitchcock, Roemer excels at establishing and then deepening the reader/viewer's unease—but his interest is less in the plot complications that fuel Hitchcock's film than in the psychological drama unfolding within the apartment as the publisher's life implodes. Roemer's achievement here is to discomfit the reader without sacrificing the story's fundamental realism. This book reads, often, like a dystopian novel, but—disturbingly—it's one set in a dystopia we already live in. A frightening fable about the watcher and the watched." - KIRKUS REVIEWS
Excerpts, reviews and event news coming soon. Stay tuned.
For review copies and other queries, contact Michelle Dotter, Dzanc Books
JON ROEMER is a writer and editor based in San Francisco. He is founder and senior editor of Outpost19, an award-winning book publisher. He's been a San Francisco resident since 1991 and an explorer of urban change ever since. Roemer studied literature and fiction writing at Northwestern. Pronouns: he/him/his. Contact Jon here.