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Singled out: A Novel of Suspense [Hardcover]

Simon Brett
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 1995
Suspicion pointing to her son's role in a gruesome murder feeds a TV producer's fear that evil is her family legacy--in this riveting novel of psychological suspense by the acclaimed author of A Shock to the System and Dead Romantic.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st ed. edition (1 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684802481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684802480
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,903,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Brett worked as a producer in radio and television before taking up writing full time. As well as the much-loved Fethering series, the Mrs Pargeter novels and the Charles Paris detective series, he has written a number of radio and television scripts. Married with three children, he lives in an Agatha Christie-style village on the South Downs. You can find out more about Simon at his website:

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite of all the novels by this author 22 Oct 2000
By A Customer
It's not funny-entertaining like the Mrs Pargeter and Charles Paris series, but real, chilling, compelling and, I think, psychologically convincing. I did not like the first chapter - in which the central character forces a man to have sex with her - it's cold and offputting. I advise you to read on. It gets better. You'll realise why he wrote this cold scene that way. (But I admit I nearly did not read on, and this chapter may have lost him many readers). The story is about a single woman, scarred by childhood trauma, and how she relates to others - her colleagues, her brother, her son, her son's girl friend. There's murder in her early childhood and she tries to escape from this, and protect her son from his evil heritage. I don't want to say more. But be assured that the book is not depressing. I have read thousands of crime novels, and these days I'm usually bored by them, or can predict the ending. With this book, the ending took me by surprise. But when you get there, you'll be convinced. The author has played fair with his readers.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed 19 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Normally I love books by Simon Brett, I have most of his in book, Kindle or audio form, but this one was definitely not one of his best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly dark little tale from cosy crime maestro 29 Oct 2002
By F. J. Harvey - Published on
Singled Out stands somewhat apart from most other crime novels by Simon Brett.For one thing it is not a series book and there is no place for either Charles Parris the actor cum sleuth,or for Mrs Pargeter ,the Miss Marple like figure,who have been in the vast majority of his titles.More importantly it is not a cosy,for there is an edge to the book lacking in his series works.
The book takes place in two distinct halves,opening in 1974 when Laura Fisher,a TV producer sets out to seduce a total stranger in a London hotel room,with the object of getting pregnant.She was abused by her father who is serving time for murder and child abuse,and her marriage to privately educated Michael has also seen her beaten up.She is determined to prove that she can raise a child as a single mother and break the chain of abuse and violence.Her policemen brother Kent,who sought to protect her during childhood is unsure of her wisdom but she proceeds.At the end of the opening part it is revealed that the father was under suspicion of murdering a woman near the hotel where the child was conceived.
Part 2 takes place in 1993 and the son Tom is now 19-a strange,uncommunicative child who is accused of assault on a female student who is subsequently killed.Has "bad blood"asserted itself again?
The book deals with the theme of child abuse frankly and openly and the damage to those who are victims is made clear especially on Kent,the brother who is emotionally constipated.Brett is strong on the type of middle class hypocrisy that can sweep abuse under the carpet in order to maintain appearances
He also deals with sexist attitudes in the 70,s and shows how the spirit of the pioneers of the womens movement has been hijacked by platitude mouthing nonentities in these exalted times and the lie of political correctness is nailed with precision..Good plotting,sharp characterization and crisp writing go towards making this a neat and economical little tale that devotees of the medium boiled crime tale will enjoy
Crisp writing,sharp characters and a neat working out of the plot
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 8 Mar 2006
By R. E. Whitlock - Published on
In this novel of psychological suspense, Laura Fisher is determined to put her abusive childhood and marriage behind her and create a new happy life. Through hard work and determination, she achieves success as a television producer and raises a son by herself. As her son enters adulthood, she begins to suspect that he may have inherited a legacy of violence.

I read this book because I greatly enjoyed Mr. Brett's previous two out-of-series novels, A Shock to the System and Dead Romantic. I did not enjoy Singled Out as much. The first disappointment was the use of graphic sex scenes. The other two novels dealt with complex sexual themes, but nonexplicity. I also felt the book suffered from lack of character development, especially that of Laura's son. We are suddenly introduced to him as a university student, and have no idea what sort of person he is. Perhaps this ambiguity is intentional, but I found it made the character uninteresting.

The best scenes were those where Laura and her brother debated the possibility of overcoming a tragic childhood. The counterpoint of Laura's optimisim and her brother's fatalism made for good reading.
2.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish and Stereotyped 9 Nov 2013
By Clarice - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This supposed "novel of suspense" is devoid of that experience. The book is divided into two halves: the past and the present. There is no real sense of menace, the ending is weak and predictable, and the plot is fully linear with no surprises and nothing at all provocative or unexpected. It feels extremely amateurish; a surprise coming from this author. I did finish it, and it's fast enough, but I can't recommend it. Mary Higgins Clark does this kind of stuff much better, and without the explicit sex that seems so out of place and so totally gratuitous.

The worst part is the psychological stereotyping, the muddied mess of "nature vs. nurture" when it comes to violent tendencies. The character of Rob Sinclair is the worst example of a stereotypical screaming queen I've seen in years; but he's fairly typical of the cast in that none of them ring true, from the protagonist's emotionally constipated brother, to the misogynistic boss, to the psych ex-husband, to the supposedly wonderful lover with whom our protagonist parted after a torrid affair.

Overall, this is really a much-worse-than-average thriller; but I've read worse, so 2 stars.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick read, interesting character, surprise twist at the end 24 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on
This book was recommended to me by a fellow Richard North Patterson fan. This is not as gripping, but a very good read. I could feel a plot twist coming at the end of part 1 -- but I didn't figure out "who did it" until the last few chapters. This is a great summer book.
2.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, dull characters 23 July 2014
By Abigail Thorne - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The beginning was promising but Laura actually turned out to be very dull, self-centered person. The rest of the characters were like shadows,especially Kent, who could have been interesting if fully developed. The ending was a fast, disappointing wrap-up.
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