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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner!
I found myself trapped by this book. My day passed unwillingly as I was unable to stop myself from discovering the next events of this ficton. I was absorbed into the world of Kristina Kim and her friends. And my brain was taxed as the plot unravelled and I tried to discover the perpetrator of the crime. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to all.
Published on 20 April 2000

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for me
I didn't get gripped by this and found the last section definitely too long. I never felt that the 'heroine' came alive and I didn't like anybody in it; even the detective, who seemed interesting at first, turned into one of those tiresomely isolated characters whom you start wishing would get over himself. There was one piece of information that it was just too unlikely...
Published on 8 Sept. 2008 by Movie Buff


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for me, 8 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
I didn't get gripped by this and found the last section definitely too long. I never felt that the 'heroine' came alive and I didn't like anybody in it; even the detective, who seemed interesting at first, turned into one of those tiresomely isolated characters whom you start wishing would get over himself. There was one piece of information that it was just too unlikely he didn't report to his superiors, which was done just in order to stage the ending. I found the surprises too laboured, and I got very tired of reading that the heroine was beautiful, as if that changed everything.

I was disappointed as I thought this was really going to be a page-turner (Anita Shreve, anyone?), but I might still try Eleven Hours and give the author another chance.

The book contains some astonishingly bigoted opinions about people who are adopted, so if you're adopted I suggest that you save yourself the irritation of readng it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Red Leaves by Paullina Simons, 30 Jun. 2013
By 
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
Also published at Miss Inga Page.

Red Leaves is a traditional murder mystery/thriller novel, set on a University campus in America. The first quarter of the novel deals with the final days of our protagonist, before she is found dead, buried naked in the snow. The remaining pages follow the attempts by Detective Spencer O'Malley to solve the case. Our protagonist goes missing during Thanksgiving weekend... yet, when she has not been seen many days after everyone returns to campus, why does no one report her missing? Why do her best friends not wonder why she has not been in touch?

I picked up this book after finishing The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Alongside The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman, I hoped for something of similar quality. Given that The Secret History is fairly slow-paced, the pacing of Red Leaves didn't particularly bother me (but you do need to invest quite a lot of time to get through it. It is a slow-burner!). However, whilst I didn't always like the Tartt's characters, I was intrigued by them and their relationships, and this maintained my interest... I'm afraid that I cannot say the same for Simons' quartet.

As Paullina Simons sets up the novel, every character is provided with a strong motive for wanting to see our protagonist dead. It is because of this that I didn't really warm to any of them, which made the book quite a struggle to get through. These "friends" are quite possibly the most dysfunctional group of friends that I have ever seen, and I have to wonder why they even bother trying to maintain any relationship with one another! More importantly, I just didn't care. The situation was far-fetched, and I found myself willing Simons to kill someone off, quickly, so that the story could get started.

Nonetheless, once I got into the novel, I powered through the pages, and finished it after staying up for half of the night, and, whilst I did have an inclination about the person to blame might be, their motive was beyond me. For a murder mystery, it is fairly crucial that not everything is obvious from the opening pages, and here, Simons succeeded. That said, I would have to suggest putting the book down before reading the last twenty or so pages. After the murderer is revealed, the book went in a completely bizarre direction, and I think it would have been much better if Simons had ended the book there and then.

Having also been recommended The Bronze Horseman and the other books in her historical romance trilogy, I had high hopes for Simons' writing... but it just wasn't particularly realistic! I'm not going to let this hamper my experience when reading The Bronze Horseman later this year, as I have heard so many wonderful things about it, but think Red Leaves may have to take a lower rank on my list of books read in 2013.

Enjoyable enough with a surprising conclusion, but far too slow, with characters who were just so unlikeable! Though, maybe that was the point...
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1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 27 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Red Leaves (Kindle Edition)
This reads like a self-published novel by a 15-year-old, not the output of a traditional publisher. What were HarperCollins thinking?

A typical example of word use: 'her gaze passed the window'.

The writing is so bad that it's often unclear what is happening. Another example:

'On his way out, Spencer was delayed after bumping into a seven-year-old girl who suddenly started screaming. It took him a few seconds to notice two of her fingers were stuck in the crack of the door.'

This incident is impossible to visualise because it's not properly described. (We need to know that the girl is standing by a door when Spencer bumps into her.) And the scene is from Spencer's point of view, so how does he know the girl's exact age?

When Kristina sees the black boots in the window they are just 'a pair of black boots', so the reader can't form a picture of them. Later they are described as 'pretty and graceful, with leather shoelaces.' Still don't know what they look like. Ankle boots? High boots? Glossy? Matte?

These problems with the description of scenes are mirrored in problems with characterisation, pacing etc. The whole story has a flat, skimmed-over feel, and I was never able to believe in it. The dialogue was dull and clunky, and the humour laboured.

Would give this zero stars if I could.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner!, 20 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
I found myself trapped by this book. My day passed unwillingly as I was unable to stop myself from discovering the next events of this ficton. I was absorbed into the world of Kristina Kim and her friends. And my brain was taxed as the plot unravelled and I tried to discover the perpetrator of the crime. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 10 Aug. 2007
By 
Boof (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
I bought this after having just finnished The Girl in Times Square and having loved it and being pretty sure that I would enjoy other books by the same author. I wasn't left disappointed.

Red Leaves is the story of 4 college friends, a murder and a hunt to find which one of them did it. When the first police officer on the scene to find a naked girl burried deep in the snow and who hasn't been reported missing for over a week, Detective Spencer O'Malley (who also appears in TGITS) will stop at nothing to find out what heppened to the girl whom he met briefly a few days before her death, especially as it seems that all her friends have a motive and a chance to have done it.

Paullina Simons has an amazing ability to keep the reader gripped and wanting to keep reading on. I love it when I discover a new author and I know there's loads more of their books just waiting for me to read. I highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy as much as I did.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST, 31 May 2002
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
This is the best Paullina Simons novel and the best novel I have read in years.
As with most of Paullina's characters - they are all hard to love including the lead character, but love them you do. All except the obviuosly bad ones!! An interesting way of splitting the story, never a boring moment, clues throughout as you guess along with the lovable dectective, as he solves the mystery of her troubled life and strange friends. So Amazing you'll wish you wrote it. Everyone should read this book!!!!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent To The Core, 17 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
If you've read Tully and liked it, then you'll definitely cherish this lovely book by Paullina Simons. I like the way she gets her readers so emotionally involved with the chazracters. These youngsters in Red leaves, Kristina, Constance, Albert and Jim felt like my family...or they could have been my children. I felt especially close to Kristina, the main character, as I felt her pain and her cold lonliness. With a cleverly crafted dectective story line,it has the capacity to keep you up all night until you've turned the last page. After you've turned that last page, you can't get those characters out of your head. If you haven't bought it yet......get it.....it's worth every penny.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two halves, 11 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Red Leaves (Kindle Edition)
Frankly the first half of this book was dire. The characters all left me cold and as I knew from the start that Kristina was going to die I found myself willing the murderer to get a move on!

The last part of the book was much better, but the end didn't work for me - money given to charity stays with charity.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilly, snowbound college campus thriller, 23 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
I read this on a baking hot beach but the descriptions of New England in the snow kept me cool! Great drama and intrigue with a fantastic twist, (although I had an inkling all along!)
I'm new to Paullina Simons' work but she's a great story teller and the characters she portrayed were originals.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling romantic mystery, 7 Jun. 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
Having only read Simons' Tatiana and Alexander series (The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, The Summer Garden), I wasn't sure what to expect from this but she pulls off a contemporary romantic thriller with ease. Comparisons with Tart's The Secret History are accurate though Simons' version is both more romantic (in both senses of the word) and less self-conscious about its own intelligence.

Set in Dartmouth, an Ivy League college, we meet four friends, two couples, but when one of them, Kristina, is found naked and dead in the snow over Thanksgiving weekend, police investigator Patrick O'Malley is suspicious as to why no-one has reported her missing and why not all her friends appear surprised that she is dead.

The central twist to the story was clear to me from the start but I'm not sure that was a big problem as it added a frisson to the narrative. And making the detective himself half in love with Kristina raised the emotional stakes.

I did feel that the transformation of the killer into something close to a psychopath in the last chapters didn't feel quite right and seemed a plot point that had to be there rather than an organic revelation. But despite that, this is a compelling and emotionally engaging read that I rushed through in a couple of days. Recommended.
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Red Leaves
Red Leaves by Paullina Simons (Paperback - 6 May 2008)
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