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Inherit the Dead [Hardcover]

C. J. Box , Charlaine Harris , John Connolly
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone Books (8 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451684754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451684759
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.9 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 627,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

HardCover. Pub Date :2013-10-08 Pages: 288 Language: English Publisher:. Simon & Schuster TWENTY THRILLING WRITERS ONE CHILLING MYSTERY.More than twenty New York Times bestselling authors team up to create a first-rate serial novel-a collaboration among some of the most popular mystery and thriller writers in the English-speaking world today. producing a well-told mystery that stands on its own two (or 40) feet (Booklist). Readers will enjoy an introduction by Lee Child. an afterword by Linda Fairstein. and chapters by bestselling authors Mary Higgins Clark. John Connolly. Charlaine Harris. CJ Box. Mark Billingham. Lawrence Block. Ken Bruen. Alafair Burke. Stephen L. Carter. Marcia Clark. Max Allan Collins. James Grady . Heather Graham. Bryan Gruley. Val McDermid. SJ Rozan. Jonathan Santlofer. Dana Stabenow. Lisa Unger. and Sarah Weinman. What's more. the editor. Jonathan Sa...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A good way to sample authors 18 Jan 2014
By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
At first glance, I thought that Inherit the Dead was a collection of short stories from some of my favourite authors. (20 of them to be exact) Upon closer inspection I realized that it was one story, a serial novel, with each chapter written by a different author. And that there was a purpose behind the compilation - monies raised go to support Safe Horizon - an organization championed by Linda Fairstein.

Perry Christo is a disgraced former cop turned P.I. When a wealthy 'uptown' woman summons Perry, he runs - he really needs the money. But the case is odd - Drusilla wants Perry to find her daughter Angel - she hasn't seen her in two weeks, but hasn't bothered with the police either. Christo takes the case, but as he digs, it just gets more complicated - everyone has their own agenda and Angel may have been right to disappear.

I was quite eager to read this as I do follow about half of the authors regularly. The initial chapter sets the stage and from there, each author added their own twist and direction. But, sadly, as the book progressed, I found myself losing interest. I like a good meaty mystery. With the format used here, the flow was choppy and the plot seemed cobbled together. Which it was. You can easily identify the hood or twist that dictates where the plot is headed. I did have reading each chapter and identifying the style of known authors. And finding some new authors to try. You would think that with so much talent, it would be a great book. It's a neat premise and a good hook for a fundraiser, but for this reader, it was just an okay read.
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By Cheryl M-M TOP 500 REVIEWER
One plot, one story and twenty writers, twenty acclaimed crime writers I might add.
Having multiple authors contribute to an multiple story anthology tends to work better than having them write a chapter each for a one-story book. The anthology gives each person a chance to show their individual ideas. In this case it made the story seem like the main character was suffering from a case of multiple personalities. One writer would write Perry with a slowpoke depressive attitude and the next with a brass almost volatile temperament.
I think what bothered me the most was the actual lack of storyline. Perry spends nearly the entire book looking for a girl he has never met before, but who has suddenly taken on an imaginary role in his head and life. He obsesses over the unknown and adulates the fantasy girl, as opposed to the real woman. He also starts projecting his own custody issues and problems with his daughter and ex-wife onto the other characters in the book. Everything equates to his personal loss and guilt as a weekend dad. He thinks finding Angel will give him some sort of redemption card. Find missing girl equals being there for her even if he can't be there for his own flesh and blood.
I found the ending a tad soap opera bizarre and think the extra voice within the chapters could have been utilized better.
Although the novel wasn't as good as it could have been it deserves attention because it was created with a specific purpose in mind.
Despite the fact that certain chapters shone more brightly than others, I applaud and support the fact these scribes have come together for a worthy cause, to support the victims of domestic abuse.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Edelweiss and the publisher.
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Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  187 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A charity case (3.5 stars) 8 Oct 2013
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
When twenty writers each contribute a chapter to a novel, the result can be fun or a disaster. Inherit the Dead is a little of both. Seeing how each writer adds his or her spin and comparing different writing styles is an enjoyable way to read a novel. Serial novels are more entertaining when each writer adds plot twists that are meant to challenge the writers that follow, although the resulting story often lacks coherence. This isn't that sort of novel. The writers were "following a plan" which I assume means a plot outline, and most of them did little more than that. Inherit the Dead has few twists of any kind, leaving the impression that none of the writers wanted to add a complication that would make the project more difficult for writers of subsequent chapters. More distressing is that few of the writers tried to imprint the story with a personality, resulting in a book that has none. Inherit the Dead is a remarkably bland novel -- not a disaster, not really bad, but nothing to be excited about.

Chapter 1 by Jonathan Santlofer sets up an ordinary premise: Ex-cop turned private detective Perry Christo is asked to find Angel, Julia Druscilla's missing twenty-year-old daughter. If Angel doesn't sign some trust documents on her twenty-first birthday, her share of a sizeable trust will be forfeited to Julia. Christo was booted off the police force for misconduct that remains unspecified until chapter 2's writer fills in the details, but we're given to believe that the accusations were false, making Christo a typical wronged-cop-turned-PI. Santlofer also appends a first-person narrative to the end of the chapter, voiced by someone who is following Christo. Some of the other writers do the same, but that aspect of the novel is largely abandoned by its midway point.

One reason to read a book with so many different voices (and, I suspect, one reason writers contribute their voices) is the possibility of finding a pleasing voice the reader hasn't previously encountered. I recognized the names of most of the contributing authors, but several I had not read before. Stephen Carter, Sarah Weinman, and Bryan Gruley all encouraged me to look for their work. Some writers who were more familiar to me made worthy, if unimpressive, additions to the novel, including James Grady, Lisa Unger, Dana Stabenow, Val McDermid, Mary Higgins Clark, C.J. Box, and Max Allan Collins. Strong chapters were turned in by exceptionally strong writers: John Connolly is the first writer to put serious flesh on Christo's bones; Ken Bruen infuses the story with his biting Irish anger; Mark Billingham restores Bruen's edginess to the story; and Lawrence Block ties together the loose threads with the skill of a seasoned writer.

The contributions of several writers (many of whom have done better work than they display here) failed to impress me. Marcia Clark's chapter was shallow, as was S.J. Rozan's. The chapters by Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris were better suited to a trashy romance novel. Alafair Burke made no significant contribution to the plot but decided Christo should be whinier -- a bad choice.

Inherit the Dead was written in support of a charitable cause, so kudos to the writers for taking the time to do it. It strikes me as false advertising, however, to list Lee Child as one of the writers. Child dashed off a three page introduction praising all the writers for being so wonderful but he didn't contribute a chapter of his own. However praiseworthy the other writers might be for contributing their time, any of them writing individually would probably have produced a novel with a stronger plot and fleshier characters. If I could, I would give Inherit the Dead 3 1/2 stars: a small step above mediocrity but not a book that made me say, "yeah, I really liked that."
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, don't waste your money 20 Oct 2013
By Solane71 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Overlong, boring, poorly edited (uses "benefactor" to describe a beneficiary under a will, another character was "casting dispersions"), you'll spot the "critical" clue long before the melancholy sad-sack of a protagonist, and the contrived ending makes little sense.

Naked came the Manatee started the multiple-author genre. This book should end it.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close, but no cigar 19 Oct 2013
By scholar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first chapter of this strange collection of chapters is immensely readable as are sections by many of these authors--among the best (Child, Cox, (A) Burke, and others). But together they don't work. I'm not sorry I bought the book, given its support for a worthy organization, but I think the reader should be warned of the pitfalls as well as strengths of such a collection. Each chapter tells a part of the noir narrative, allowing authors, within a limited range, to develop the main and supporting characters as they will. Thus the character you know in one chapter bears a strong resemblance to the one that follows in the next chapter, but there are differences, albeit subtle, that can be off-putting. In other words, it's not like getting to know the main character a little better in each successive chapter; it is being forced to rethink in each chapter and recall from earlier chapters the main outlines of all the characters. The father and mother are particularly vulnerable to extravagant and whimsical details that successive authors add to the initial depiction. Some readers may find this entertaining, but it's a hard read.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery though jumbled 20 Oct 2013
By Jim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story as a mystery was good. Using a different writer for each chapter was a jumble of styles and a distraction for me. Each writer is certainly talented, but going from one to another did not allow good continuity of the characters.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Never Knew True Boredom, Until I Read Inherit the Dead, at least Proceeds Go to a Worthy Cause 24 Nov 2013
By James N Simpson - Published on Amazon.com
Wow, this one of the most boring books I have ever read, considering the top name authors who each contributed to it, it should have been one of the best. Inherit the Dead was written in a round robin, pass the incomplete story to the next person and each author writes a chapter then the next one picks up where they left off. If you've never picked up this style of short story or even novel before, think back to your school days when you probably participated in an exercise like this with everyone in the class writing a paragraph then passing the paper to the person sitting next to them who wrote the next paragraph, passed it to the next person and so on until everyone in the class had contributed to each of the 30 or so stories. You no doubt had a lot of fun with it trying to twist different classmates work so far into your own ideas, such as introducing elements to characters to change the previous image of them, killing some off and putting something weird in there for the conservative kid next to you to deal with. The finished work of your class' 30 or stories would have each been more exciting than Inherit the Dead.

It's not the round robin writing style that makes this a boring read, it's the quality of the writing. A book like this needs to start well in setting up the premise, and the editor Jonathan Santlofer of this one, decided to go with, well himself to do that. His situation was pretty average, and nothing unique, a washed up ex cop now PI desperate for a case to pay the bills gets a phone call from a rich woman that her daughter is missing. Her daughter by the way is an adult, and doesn't actually live with her. PI Perry Christo also couldn't be any more boring if he tried. He's just your another hard crime noir leftover guy in a trench coat with no personality. To make the book even more boring Santlofer was obviously trying to impress Lee Child (who he would ask to write the introduction) by using the same over descriptive longwinded style Child does of describing something happening in minute details, that everyone else would sum up in a few words. The opening chapter badly needed an editor but as anyone is told even if they're just writing a job resume, never edit your own work. The other author chapters don't do much to lift the story either. It's a struggle to push through really.

Child tells us in the introduction that he's amazed all these authors had time to contribute to this due to their heavy workloads of novel deadlines and movie commitments. There is probably explains the result of this book, the authors simply didn't have time to do a decent job, and like when you're about to walk through the supermarket entrance and some hot girl shakes a bucket of coins and asks you for some change for a worthwhile charity, it's hard to say no. This book has royalties (other than editor and contributor compensation) going to Safe Horizon which empowers victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other crimes. Linda Fairstein has an afterword that explains what they do. A worthy cause no doubt, and probably the reason some reviewers rate this higher. But rating the book on it's own merit, it's one star in quality.

This style of storytelling has been done brilliantly, so don't be put off by Inherit the Dead if it's your first taste of the style. The best in my opinion is Natural Suspect. Die, Lover, Die! is also brilliant. Naked Came the Manatee is also good but not in the league of Natural Suspect. Inherit the Dead isn't the only failure of the round robin style, avoid the disaster that is Watchlist: A Serial Thriller as well.
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