The Man with the Blue Hat is creepy and unsettling from the start. From the beginning, the reader is introduced to Beth Fennick, a recently divorced interior designer who is definitely losing it. Obviously, she harbors a grudge against her ex-husband, but also included in the resentment is her ex-best friend, whom Beth alternately calls a "harlot" and "his concubine" and some other choice words. However, as the tale unfolds, Beth also shows some flashes of ill-will toward her seven-year-old daughter, Kirsten. It soon becomes clear that the entire town of Breckenridge is going around the bend, from lack of sleep and very cold weather (in July)...and murderous rages, all possibly caused by The Man with the Blue Hat and Beth herself! Author Potocki's characters have many dimensions: for example, Beth Fennick thinks of herself as "perfect" but it is the nasty imperfections (and humor!) that come out during the storyline that make her real, and although not always likable, her motivations and reasoning are understandable. Her affable friend, Callahan, is not what she seems to be either, showing the ugly side of true betrayal in fine detail. Even the shrunken head has many facets to it (yes, a shrunken head!). The Man with the Blue Hat is a multi-leveled story, about not only a horror that encroaches upon a small town, but the effect that gossip and rumor have on friendship and trust.