Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner

5 Stars

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“Are these things usually this complicated? They only appear to be. The explanation is always elegantly simple. I guarantee that when we find this man, we’ll smack ourselves for not seeing him sooner . . . Truth is always simple but it’s never that boring.”

Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way real quick. To begin with? The title. If it weren’t for my friend Trudi’s review, I would have never given this one a second glance. My other problem? The cover art. It’s not good and I am a Judgey McJudgerson who passes up ugly books. The good news is, those are the only two things I didn’t like. Once I started reading, the tabbing of the pages started happening . . .

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The Man from Primrose Lane is the story of David Neff, a bestselling author whose one-hit-wonder was a true-crime novel that outed a serial killer . . . after someone else had already been executed for the crimes. Now David finds himself being recruited to solve one more coldcase crime . . .

“'Who Was the Man from Primrose Lane?’ the above-the-fold article demanded to know. ‘And who wanted him dead?’ went the subhead.”

What a gooooooooood mystery this was. And then I got to the 60% mark and something kinda like this happened . . .

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“You ever get that feeling when you meet someone that your life is about to take a strange detour that maybe you’d be better off avoiding?”

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When attempting to describe my reaction to this book to a friend, I summed it up that it’s like the author was plugging along just fine and got a case of writer’s block or sudden onset amnesia that caused him to leave the project unfinished . . . and then a few weeks or months or years later he picked it up again and said “you know, a lot of people write decent mystery novels. I’mma flip the script and make it one huge mindf*&^ instead.” I’m not giving away a diddly dang thing on this one. Let me just say this baby is so intricately woven it’s insane . . .

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Or maybe more like this . . .

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A giant Rube Goldberg machine that gets put into action once you read the first line. And using the term “episodes” instead of chapters??? Brilliant. It’s been a long time since a book played out like a movie in my head. This one gets all the stars.

“I hope, if nothing else, you come to believe that what we call the present is nothing more than perception and the concepts of cause and effect are mostly pointless. So say it with me: “FUCK IT.” Now let’s get back to it.”

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