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The Dollmaker [Mass Market Paperback]

Amanda Stevens
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books (Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324287
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 11.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,269,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reading 20 Aug 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think this is the first novel by Amanda Stevens and it shows. It's a good read, but she spends a little too long setting up the story and then there's a rush at the end. Nevertheless you can see the potential in her writing and I have enjoyed a number of her books subsequently. The story has a good premise and for a time, keeps you wondering where it's going.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
2 of 0 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Creepy and Disquieting Page-Turner... 26 Feb 2007
By Vince A. Liaguno - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
With "The Dollmaker", author Amanda Stevens conjures up James Patterson and Anne Rice in this creepy gothic chiller of a novel. Making the leap from the romantic suspense yarns for which she's known to psychological suspense thriller, Stevens steers clear of the throwaway potboiler and crafts a well-constructed, multi-layered plot ripe with police corruption, child abduction, and enough creepy dolls to make one shudder at the next mention of Madame Alexander. It's John Berendt's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" meets "House of Wax" - minus Paris Hilton with just a hint of John Grisham's Southern sensibilities.

Artist Claire Doucett and ex-husband Dave Creasy have never fully recovered from their heartbreak following the disappearance of their 7-year-old daughter Ruby. Seven years after the child's vanishing and presumed abduction, both are battling demons - one a loveless marriage and visions of their missing child around every corner, the other alcoholism and a failed law enforcement career. When Claire spots a portrait doll bearing an uncanny likeness to Ruby in the window of a Garden District collectibles shop, she becomes convinced that if she can trace the origins of the doll, she will finally learn the fate of their daughter. The ex-spouses wade through the baggage carousel of their past to join forces and soon embark upon a harrowing journey toward the closure they so desperately seek on many levels. Complicating matters are an unsolved murder with police cover-up implications and the titular psychopath who cuts a deadly path through the Louisiana landscape with his doll making tools.

Elements of "The Dollmaker" are reminiscent of cinematic horrors, and savvy genre fans will glimpse snippets of "Tourist Trap", "Happy Birthday to Me", "Dressed to Kill", and "Psycho". And while Stevens offers up intersexualism as a plot device that readers may initially bemoan as clichéd, she integrates the twist so well into a genuinely chilling back story that it ultimately works here. Her secondary characters are also fleshed out well enough to be integral to the story - whether on the periphery of the action or smack dab in the middle of it.

Stevens boasts a gift for rich, sensory-infused description that she is able to balance with page-turning action to precision. In "The Dollmaker", she has an acute awareness of the sights, smells, sounds, and textures of post-Katrina Louisiana - from the recovering French Quarter to the outlying bayous. Not since Anne Rice has a writer captured New Orleans in words with such skill. Stevens' knack for description extends beyond the geographical locales of the novel as she proves by imbuing the narrative with strong doses of realism. Whether depicting alcoholism or the mounting hopelessness in the days and months following the abduction of a child or the art of glass blowing, the reader is invited to step into the narrative and walk alongside the characters, making the reading experience more active than passive.

That the resolution (albeit ultimately satisfying) comes fast in relation to the buildup is but a minor criticism in what is otherwise a thrilling story. With "The Dollmaker", Amanda Stevens has fashioned a well-paced, spine-chilling tale of suspense in which the reader will find his or her chest tightening in anticipation and dread with each successive turn of the page.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More like 4 1/2 stars.... 25 April 2007
By Deborah Wiley - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
You'll never look at dolls in quite the same way again after reading THE DOLLMAKER!

Seven years ago, Ruby was kidnapped, leaving behind the shattered marriage of her parents, Claire Doucett and Dave Creasy. Both Claire and Dave have struggled to pick up the pieces of their own lives, but now the past is pulling them back together. The appearance of a portrait doll with the exact likeness of Ruby may be a clue to what happened to Ruby, if only anyone is willing to believe Claire. Will Dave help Claire discover what really happened to Ruby or will the secrets of the past destroy them all?

THE DOLLMAKER is perhaps the creepiest book I've read in a long time! Amanda Stevens does a superb job at creating an eerie atmosphere that doesn't rely on gore or gratuitous violence. Instead, the tension is carefully built up with some truly horrifying twists to keep readers on their toes. While the reader will likely deduce aspects of the ending, there are some wickedly clever surprises in store that make this an absolutely phenomenal thriller.

Claire and Dave are not the usual sort of heroes for a thriller. Both are tortured by their past choices. Claire is in the midst of her second divorce and still sees Ruby everywhere she turns, while Dave struggles one day at a time to defeat the urge to pick up the bottle. Their private battles make THE DOLLMAKER a stronger novel as Claire and Dave seek their own sort of redemption after the loss of both Ruby and their marriage.

THE DOLLMAKER is an edgier story than many may expect as the author strives hard to remain true to the story and the characters. Those looking for the typical romantic suspense thriller will probably be a bit shocked by this story as Amanda Stevens definitely steps outside the box with this one. THE DOLLMAKER certainly has me eyeing dolls in an entirely different light! Fantastic job, Ms. Stevens!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful creepy, dark spine-tingling thriller 25 Mar 2007
By D. Merrimon Crawford - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Dollmaker is one of the best thrillers I have read in years! Stevens creates a perfect mix of allowing the reader to have enough clues --- and even to hear the voice of the perpetrator --- to understand the interlacing psychological aspects behind the characters and to maintain the suspense. Nevertheless, she withholds just enough to peak the reader's interest on every page. I was drawn into her characters, their weaknesses and depth and watching them change as the story developed. Even though the reader knows certain aspects of the ending from the very beginning, the suspense builds and builds. The ending has unexpected, shocking surprises. Everything is not all tied up with a pretty bow at the end, and yet the reader feels very satisfied. The ending was well-planned....a surprise and one also true to the characters.

A doll....normally such an innocent charming item certainly gets transformed here! Delightfully creepy!

Even days after finishing the last page, I am still delighted with this book. The imagery, the haunting Southern setting and the amazing writing captured my interest then and now. Amanda Stevens keeps all the spine tingles and darkness AND did it without crossing that line into gratuitous (and often boring) gore and violence too common in lesser works in the genre. Bravo!

Warning: This book may cause you to remain awake until 3 or 4am reading.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put it down! 7 Mar 2007
By Joanna Wayne - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been an Amanda Stevens fan a long time, but this book blew me away. The villain is excellently crafted and the protagonists literally jump off the pages with their realism and emotional depth. Stevens handles a distrubing situation that could have come right out of the morning newspaper with credence and spellbinding suspense. Don't miss this one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dollmaker is satisfyingly creepy. 18 Nov 2007
By Cheryl Tardif - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
4.5 out of 5 stars

The cover of The Dollmaker was what first drew me, its shadowy blue and green tones, and the doll's face, particularly the eye. I found it mesmerizing and was drawn to it many times before I bought it. And when I did, I wasn't disappointed. It's a story about tragic loss--the abduction of a child and the resulting destruction of a marriage.

Claire Doucett's life spins out of control from the moment she glimpses a doll that looks exactly like her missing daughter Ruby, right down to an identical birthmark on the doll's arm. To complicate matters, no one believes her and the doll mysteriously disappears.

Then Claire's ex-husband Dave, a former cop and alcoholic who is investigating the murder of a stripper, comes back to town. He's looking for answers in the stripper's death, but also searching for resolution in a cold case--one that has haunted him because it is linked to his daughter's disappearance.

The plot lines are woven meticulously, connecting then separating, making for a very interesting read. The New Orleans setting is perfect (especially with the Katrina references and haunting visuals), the characters compelling and flawed, and the pacing is dead on, until the end where I felt that the resolution was a bit rushed. Everything happened so fast, I lost a bit of the emotional connection, which is why I didn't give this book 5 stars.

Regardless, Amanda Stevens has penned a spine-tingling story about love, loss, lies, guilt and family secrets. This is a great read for that cold winter night. I highly recommend it! And I'll never look at a doll the same way again.

--Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
Author of Divine Intervention
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