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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sandman returns
Let me say from the outset that I loved this book. Initially, I thought I was in for a modern ghost story, something along the lines of 'The Monkey's Paw' but with today's penchant for a series of killings. In fact, this book is a thriller and an absorbing one at that.

An author's son is kidnapped at the start of the book and the reader is left in the dark when...
Published on 21 Oct 2008 by Michael Watson

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prose good, plot bad.
You've probably gathered by now that the protagonist is a sad-sack alcoholic ex-journalist still grieving for his wife. He's also a wannabe writer who joins a creative writing circle in hope of inspiration and meets a murderer or three. Yes, it's that old plot again. Either this is autobiographical, in which case Pyper should get some help, or it's fictional. If the...
Published on 29 Nov 2008 by Amazon Customer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sandman returns, 21 Oct 2008
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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Let me say from the outset that I loved this book. Initially, I thought I was in for a modern ghost story, something along the lines of 'The Monkey's Paw' but with today's penchant for a series of killings. In fact, this book is a thriller and an absorbing one at that.

An author's son is kidnapped at the start of the book and the reader is left in the dark when the horrified author tells us he knows who's taken him. We backtrack four years and little by little, the reasons behind the kidnap are revealed - none of them good.

Four years earlier the author was a failed journalist looking for a story to tell, a single parent with a four year-old son whom he adored. From this point, the characters he meets form the basis of what is, in fact, a gruesome and chilling revelation that the dreams both he and his little boy experience turn into reality.

There is a high body count in this book. A macabre series of killings which baffle the Canadian police but which the author determines to try to understand. This, then, is the basis of an extremely well-constructed novel, occasionally funny, always dramatic with a finale I certainly would not wish to spoil for the reader.

Suffice to say, the search for the boy does not really come into play until the last segment of the book. Prior, we are drip fed the transformation of dreams into reality with its gruesome toll of bodies and the spiral of despair the author experiences as those around him disappear.

I read this in one night. I didn't intend to do so but, once the story starts to move, you just have to know how it will end - and I'm not saying. Very much recommended for all thriller readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prose good, plot bad., 29 Nov 2008
By 
Amazon Customer "m_farncombe" (Guildford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Hardcover)
You've probably gathered by now that the protagonist is a sad-sack alcoholic ex-journalist still grieving for his wife. He's also a wannabe writer who joins a creative writing circle in hope of inspiration and meets a murderer or three. Yes, it's that old plot again. Either this is autobiographical, in which case Pyper should get some help, or it's fictional. If the latter, it's unoriginal and uninteresting.

What kept me from sending this to the charity shop unfinished is the quality of Pyper's prose. In an age when so many successful writers are barely literate, Pyper writes lyrically and beautifully. It doesn't matter that I can't include a spoiler (because the identity of the murder(s) is so obvious) or that the characters are all detestable, you will want to get to the end of the book (a sorry disappointment) because he tells the story so well. In fact, this may be a book where you want to read the last 20 pages first to remove the miniscule element of suspense and then start from the front and luxuriate in the quality of the writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriquing premise, but poorly executed, 19 Oct 2008
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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Patrick Rush, a widowed journalist with a young son, has always wanted to be a `proper' writer, an author, and so joins a writing circle in Toronto. The characters he meets there are bizarre, but he is caught by the fable/fairy-story being written by one of them about a young girl haunted or hunted by the mysterious figure of the Sandman. And then fiction seems to become reality when abductions, stalking and killings start in to take place in his neighbourhood.

Fast forward four years and Patrick is now a successful author having plagiarised the story of his fellow writing circle member: but he also seems to have re-awakened the Sandman who is stalking the writing circle and coming closer to Patrick himself...

The premise for this novel is an intriguing (if somewhat derivative) one, but the book itself never manages to exploit it to its fullest extent. Pyper seems to be unsure whether he is writing about writing, whether he's penning a supernatural/ghost story, or a fairly run-of-the-mill serial killer story and the mix collapses in on itself rather flaccidly.

The first-person narrator is, for me, both irritating and humourless; the characters are all cardboard cut-out; and the serial-killer stuff predictable and really rather old-fashioned (e.g. a dead body in a car is mis-identified because everyone assumes it belongs to a woman whose purse is found beside it - in 2007 when every watcher of CSI knows better?).

However there were some moments of genuine menace which raised this by a star, but overall this, for me, was no more than a poorish average. Not recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a pleasant surprise, 22 Oct 2008
By 
J. Turner (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Hardcover)
I had never read anything by Andrew Pyper before - and I have to say, I am quite impressed. It was well written and fast paced, quite emotional and didn't fall into the usual hackneyed cliches - on the whole. Okay, I guessed 'whodunnit' within seconds of being introduced to the characters and also second guessed the other 'villain'... I also figured out the lead characters secret before it was revealed. But that did not blunt my enjoyment of a gripping read, most of the characters were well drawn and believable, the scene was well set and the book was on the whole well balanced. It won't go on my personal sluch pile and I will be reading it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Story Of Suspense, 13 April 2009
By 
Angel Delta (Southsea Hants) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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I have never been a regular reader of "The Who Dunnit" genre over the years so I don't have a great deal with which to compare Andrew Pyper's latest novel of violence, kidnap and murder.

But, by comparison to any tale of dark intrigue, revenge and mystery, this book scores high on its very own Richter scale!

When widower and demoted journalist Patrick Rush joins a writers' circle he finds that he is the only member that does not have a story to tell. The group's luminary is Angela and she tells a progressive tale of a "terrible man who does terrible things" throughout the Circle meetings.

When Patrick steals Angela's story, and becomes an acclaimed author as a consequence, things start to go badly wrong for him and when members of the circle start to go missing he finds himself under suspicion. But worse, he finds himself becoming a part of Angela's story.

The fate of his young son opens and closes this novel and Patrick's concern for him underpins the suspense, mystery and nightmare that the narrative so convincingly evokes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the publicity on the cover suggests, 13 Nov 2008
By 
Greg (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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A going nowhere journalist (Patrick Rush) in Toronto, decides to join a circle of prospective authors run by a formerly successful but subsequently shamed writer. He intends to write a book, but finds himself increasingly drawn into the story told by one of the other members. Ultimately fact and fiction become blurred as Patrick's life steadily unravels.

The mini reviews on the cover tell you how wonderfully compulsive this book is. I thought it was okay, and I did read it from cover to cover, so I guess that says something. Apparently the film rights have been sold - I don't think it would be something I would want to watch without a fair amount of additional action added. Unfortunately the book is written in the first person which I don't like very much, although one of my reasons is blown out the water by this book.

Overall not bad, but not good enough for me to want to read any other books by the author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy, enjoyable read., 9 Nov 2008
By 
Gary Nicklin (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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I quite enjoyed the Killing Circle and I was interested to read that an option had been taken on it to be made into a film as while I was reading it I kept thinking that it was perfect horror film material.

I didn't think that it was that original, but it had a couple of twists that kept me reading to the end. A few times it seemed about to go into supernatural territory, but then it came back to the main story with the too often used "just a dream/vision" excuse, which was a shame as that would have given it a nice edge over the normal "serial killer" tale. The main character is fairly well fleshed out but most of those around him are quite two dimensional and I never really felt any empathy with any of them. The "revelation" at the end I felt was unnecessary and didn't add anything to the story. Still, that aside, it was a fairly easy and enjoyable read and I'll probably go and see the film if it is made.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real waste, 10 Jan 2009
By 
isis 1958 (Pendle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Hardcover)
There have been some quite detailed reviews of the content and I'm afraid I concur with the negative reactions.

I enjoy a wide variety of thrillers, but for me this one never really got started. It started out with a lot of promise - a bunch of writers meeting as a group, with a story somehow too close to reality. Sadly it loses any direction and punch - a waste of an opportunity.

The main problem for me was that I never grew to love or identify with any of the characters, and I felt no empathy with the lead character at all. All the characters are very two dimensional - a bootlace with single irritating knot in it, as opposed to a tangled web!

There are much better "reads" than this. If you like the slightly spooky/surreal try "The Church of Dead Girls" by Stephen Dobyns.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh so predictable ..., 28 Dec 2008
By 
Cee-Gee (Northants, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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The point about horror is that it needs to take you by surprise, catch you off guard. Something that you can see coming a mile off isn't all that scary.

The main failing of this novel was that the author sign-posted everything. You knew about every twist and turn at least a good few pages before it happened, which made it a very dull read.

Oh and what made me smile the most - the author's total lack of confidence in his story-telling abilities - at the end of part 3 (of 4) the main character explains why he has told you the story he has for the past couple of hundred pages! As if it wasn't clear enough!

Not recommended to anyone who likes to be kept guessing or to be scared!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trying too hard, 22 Nov 2008
By 
SonicQuack (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Killing Circle (Paperback)
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The Killing Circle is a typical Whodunnit crime thriller, centring around a writer's circle. The highly susceptible nature of the writers mind is the propellant for the story, and as such is able to twist the story at any turn. This is also used to blend the lines between what is real and what is imaginary (or potentially supernatural). However, the story itself is never gripping enough, and subsequently these factors above are easily identified as the drivers of this book, rather than content and suspension of disbelief. Ultimately, the book is frustrating and never builds any likeable characters and as a result is quite forgettable.
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The Killing Circle
The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper (Hardcover - 4 Aug 2008)
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