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Kissing The Beehive Hardcover – 21 May 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (21 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575066121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575066120
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.3 x 22 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,958,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Jonathan Carroll's narratives are constructed like those innocuous-seeming rooms in Doom or Quake, bright and tranquil until the player reaches a hidden trigger-line and swarming horrors erupt from the walls. With Carroll, the trigger- lines are spiritual. A glittering career, an exciting project and a blissful new sexual relationship are generally bad signs, and the narrator has all three. Sam Bayer is a successful writer just emerging from inspirational drought to tackle a real-life story, the mystery of the small-town teenage sexpot whose drowned body he was first to find, when only 15. Was the right man convicted? Meanwhile Bayer's latest lady-love, an obsessive fan of his work, helps, hinders and also scares him with glimpses of her chequered past. An apparent serial killer with a strong interest in the old murder sends Bayer cheerful communications--"Hi Sam!"--uncannily monitoring his daily life and progress. Stalking elusive truths through poignant or baleful childhood memories, our hero feels his life tilting into nightmare. Many Carroll novels twist at this stage into dazzling reinterpretations that invoke magic or madness; here the ultimate surprise is more conventional, even predictable. Not quite top-flight Carroll, but still an unusual and haunting thriller. --David Langford --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A powerful literary novel from an internationally acclaimed author --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Dominika on 7 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Did not expect such a quick arrival - very pleased with that. As described. Very happy with this purchase. Would definately recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
A young boy finds the body of murdered girl floating in the lake, where he is playing with his friend. Twenty years later, Sam Bayer has grown up to be a successful author, he returns to his home town seeking inspiration, bringing back old memories of the girl he found; although a man was arrested for the murder, tried and imprisoned, Sam decides to find the truth about her story. At the same time he is drawn into an affair with a beautiful but disturbed fan with the improbable name of Veronica Lake. In uncovering the past, his everyday life becomes sinister and his life and those he loves are in danger from an unknown and deranged individual.

This novel is a fair departure for Carroll, away from the strange surreal, magical realities he normally creates, however Kissing The Beehive retains the menacing atmosphere of his previous novels. The story is engaging and exciting, although I was rather hoping for it to step sideways into the bizarre, as his other stories do.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's my opinion that Jonathan Carroll is the greatest novelist that I've ever had the pleasure to read. This is his first 'mainsteam' novel and it is reminisent of David Lynch's Twin Peaks - but not quite as weird. I would recommend that first-time Caroll readers read this book to ease them into Carroll's writing. Readers should then progress to his true classics, such as 'Sleeping in Flame' and 'From the Teeth of Angels'. I can't wait until 'Marriage of Sticks' - out in May.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 May 2001
Format: Paperback
There is a great expolaration of relationships within this story as Sam - our potagonist- attempts to reveal the true happenings behind a murder in his past. The story is more than a murder mystery, as confusion and obsession are revealed. The story is attentively gripping as the tale unfolds but sadly there is alot of building up and a lot of falling down at the climax, if u don't like a hollywood ending u will not be disapointed..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
suave, stylized mystery 5 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a teen-ager in upstate New York, novelist Samuel Bayer discovered the body of a murdered woman. Returning home decades later to write about the death, he finds his rakehell high-school best friend has become police chief; an anonymous killer is delivering bouquets and mocking literary critiques; and his neurotic new girlfriend-a beautiful documentary filmmaker-is secretly interviewing everyone in his unfinished book. These elements (plus kidnapping, a village idiot, Westchester gangsters, and a suicide cult), form a sleightly-joined mystery, neatly corked by a swift conclusion over champagne in a drawing room.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of Carroll's best, deals with murderous obsession 4 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Kissing the Beehive Carroll's latest foray into sinister stealth
By Bram Eisenthal
It was 1985 when I first discovered one of the horror field's greatest latter-day writers. I asked a clerk at Ottawa's House of Speculative Fiction if he could recommend someone really unusual - I had my fill of early Stephen King at the time - and he immediately whipped out a book and thrust it at me. "Land of Laughs," he said. "It's unbelievable... really different."
I had never even heard of Jonathan Carroll before and I generally knew my horror authors, so I was perturbed. How good could he be? Published in 1980 and the New York-born resident of Vienna's first novel, The Land of Laughs lived up to the clerk's billing. Highly imaginative and very frightening, it showcased the talents of a writer who excels at setting a macabre stage by allowing the horror to creep up on you v-e-r-r-r-y slowly. His tales are happy, funny and whimsical to start with, but chapter by chapter, Carroll adds sinister elements. Before you realize it, you're staring death squarely in the face. His second, Voice of Our Shadow, is even more shocking for its sinister stealth.
Kissing the Beehive is Carroll's tenth novel; one of the more recent ones, The Panic Hand, is a Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology that I highly recommend. As with the others, Beehive begins innocently enough, with a few stragglers rather than the swarm yet to come. Author Sam Bayer is in a slump, meeting with his agent in an attempt to untangle the cobwebs responsible for his terrible writer's block. His pending divorce is really creating havoc. Later, at a book signing, he meets an incredibly gorgeous fan, a California blonde named Veronica Lake. She really knows her Bayer, down to her business card, which contains an image from his novel The Tatooed City.
Bayer jogs his sluggish memory in an attempt to birth ideas. He drives to his hometown of Crane's View, visits old haunts, looks through high-school yearbooks and greets former acquaintances. The trip is the perfect panacea for his blues, as Bayer delves into an unsolved boyhood murder mystery, that of a free-spirited young woman named Pauline Ostrova. Her nude body, which had spawned so many adolescent fantasies, had been found by the young Bayer. Over the years, he had shunted the awful memory aside, but now he seizes the opportunity to gather important facts and unburden his soul.
During the excitement, unable to get her out of his thoughts, Bayer contacts Veronica Lake, they meet again and make love. He tells her about the burgeoning plot for his new novel and she is thrilled about her confidante status. Remember, she is his number one fan, like the character in Stephen King's Misery... only much more dangerous.
Bayer heads back to Crane's View, his teenaged daughter Cassandra in tow. He meets up with Frannie McCabe, childhood bad-boy turned chief of police, and brings up the Ostrova mystery. The police chief has his own take on the dossier and suspects that the town's crime boss, Gordon Cadmus, since murdered, had something to do with her demise. She had been seeing his son David, now a Hollywood film producer... and the old man as well.
In typical Carroll fashion, the story begins its slow spiral into madness just as Bayer and McCabe initiate their joint sleuthing. Also, something is terribly wrong with Veronica Lake. Bayer uncovers unsettling facts about her, most notably the fact she was two-time porn movie headliner Marzi Pan and a member of an infamous suicide cult. He decides not to see her any more, which first saddens and then infuriates her. Meanwhile, someone with knowledge of their unofficial Ostrova investigation is following Bayer and McCabe around, as well as videotaping unspeakable things, like the murder of David Cadmus on an L.A. street.
Lake, whom Bayer is trying to ignore, is in-his-face throughout. She slyly interacts with all his witnesses, subtly threatens his daughter and her boyfriend and, after McCabe barely survives an attempt on his life, befriends the cop. We also learn that she is a deft film technician and has been taping lots of footage, including shots of Bayer taken in a suit he had discarded years before and explicit images of them having sex.
The horror escalates when Cassandra goes missing, every father's nightmare but nothing compared to Bayer's ultimate scenario. His novel has taken the most sinister twist possible.
Jonathan Carroll is still unknown to many fans of mainstream horror literature, rather surprising in light of the stellar quality of every single one of his works. The author humbly pays homage to "Pat Conroy, Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, Paul West - Friends, Mentors, Wizards" - in the dedication, but I dare say that he has earned the right to appear right up there with them on that marquee.
In Doubleday's press release on Kissing the Beehive, King is equally complimentary, one master of the macabre to another. "A stunning novel of obsession and memory by the always amazing Jonathan Carroll. A brilliant writer - Jonathan Carroll is as scary as Hitchcock, when he isn't being as funny as Jim Carrey."
Kissing the Beehive Nan A. Talese, an imprint of Doubleday HC, 232 pgs., $31.95
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
rare 15 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Some who are familiar with Jonathan Carroll's books have, oddly enough,not been quite as satisfied with "Kissing the Beehive" as with his other books. They seem not to have respected or understood Carroll's desire as an artist for a direction change, which to me seems rather intolerant. For once he wanted not "only" "magic realism", but something else in "addition" - and he has the right to! After all HE is the one who writes hours and hours for us, he is the one who nourishes our senses, who creates the worlds we cannot create, the worlds we want to inhabit, the worlds we flee to. He is a artist and draws from his fantasy, HIS own unique imagination which he generously allows us to share. I was fascinated by this very book and feel honored to have been allowed access to yet another part of Carrolls vision - the ability to write a thriller which, until the end, leaves you breathless and in complete oblivion - not your typical thriller - an unearthly thriller which searches unforseeable depths and facets of human nature and human behavior. It is hard to put this book aside. Throughout, one is both intrigued and at the same time repelled by certain characters,another reason why this book is so fascinating. Beehive is a piece of Carroll's repertoire that "slightly falls out of place" (..."aus der Reihe tanzen") - One can say it is different from the others, and that is why it is so interesting. Carroll writes about what his soul longs for. I recommend this book and all of the others he has and will write. Jonathan Carroll is one of the most reliable writers around - he is always fun, smart, witty, insightful. Each of his books is rare.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, Thoroughly Engrossing Mystery 24 April 2000
By Craig Larson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've long been a fan of Jonathan Carroll's work and only recently picked up _Kissing the Beehive_. It's an excellent tale of a blocked writer (see Donald Westlake's _The Hook_) who goes back to his boyhood hometown to look into the mystery surrounding the death of a girl, whose body he discovered floating in the Hudson River. He intends to write the story of what he discovers and he ultimately discovers the secret. Along the way, we're treated to a slowly unfolding, very gripping story, including the tragic figure of a wild fan who first intrigues, then scares our protagonist. Carroll has a gift for writing some of the most poignant characters and scenes--things that really get under your skin and drag you in feet-first. I'm thinking about one memorable scene in which three of our main characters are sitting on the porch, sharing jokes and stories, and the writer-protagonist says something along the lines of "I'm very glad I have both of you in my life." I'm very glad there's an author like Jonathan Carroll in mine (too cheesy?).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of Jonathan Carroll's most accessible books to date 9 Mar 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I believe that this is one of Jonathan Carroll's best works to date. (Yes, I've read them all.) While I adored "Bones of the Moon", "Kissing the Beehive" is only the second of his works that I've finished completely satisfied. I can live without the usual magical plot devices if I get the plot and character quality of this book in its place.
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