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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, poignant novel from a brilliant writer.
What can I say! I loved this book. It is a suspenseful novel which centres on the disappearance of a little girl. The novel is seen through the eyes of the main protagonist, Eric. Amy Giordano has vanished, presumed taken whilst being looked after by Eric's son, Keith. As the days stretch by without Amy being found, suspicion grows within what had been a harmonious family...
Published on 25 May 2006 by C. J. Simmons

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Ending was rushed, a big let down
The ending felt like it had been rushed, the build up was fine but the ending was a big let down for me.
Published 20 months ago by Dave Webber


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, poignant novel from a brilliant writer., 25 May 2006
This review is from: Red Leaves (Hardcover)
What can I say! I loved this book. It is a suspenseful novel which centres on the disappearance of a little girl. The novel is seen through the eyes of the main protagonist, Eric. Amy Giordano has vanished, presumed taken whilst being looked after by Eric's son, Keith. As the days stretch by without Amy being found, suspicion grows within what had been a harmonious family unit. Were they ever such a harmonious family or was it all just a big lie?

I have loved previous novels by Thomas H. Cook and feel he isn't given the crdit like other American novelists in Britain. This novel drip feeds you the suspense as past and present begin to overlap. This is not a book with high drama and car chases. This is a little sample of reality, of what can and does happen to a normal family when lies and suspicion threaten to explode all your ideals.

This is a very humane and poignant book. I couldn't put it down.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas H. Cook - Red Leaves, 30 Jun. 2006
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Hardcover)
This book was truly a revelation to me. I've never read - or even particularly heard - of Cook before, and am a little surprised after reading the book. He seems to be an unsung hero of the crime genre (rather like The Fall in the world of music) critically lauded but not that popularly known. After reading this, though, you can know the crime genre is in safe hands. Yes, there is a lot of complete rubbish in the genre (and in any sphere of writing) but crime fiction, when it is written the best it can be, is as much literature as anything that might cart off the Booker. And this is it written as best it can be; this is literature - the case is proven. Red Leaves is a beautifully written, poigniant, powerful, moving book. America loves book in which their American dream comes crumbling down around the heads of noble, hard-working men (Mystic River), and this is one of those (it was shortlisted for the Edgar and the new Duncan lawrie Dagger; appallingly, it won neither and probably deserved both). An elegiac examination of a disappearance, a disintegrating family life, of dangerous, corrosive suspicion among families. It's written with an intensity and gloomy beauty that are rare, but that sets it out as among the best of fiction. The end is shocking, wrenching, and emotionally shattering. This book leaves you the way few books are able to. I'll be reading Thomas H. Cook again.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas H. Cook - Red Leaves, 18 May 2007
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
This book was truly a revelation to me. I've never read - or even particularly heard - of Cook before, and am a little surprised after reading the book. He seems to be an unsung hero of the crime genre (rather like The Fall in the world of music) critically lauded but not that popularly known. After reading this, though, you can know the crime genre is in safe hands. Yes, there is a lot of complete rubbish in the genre (and in any sphere of writing) but crime fiction, when it is written the best it can be, is as much literature as anything that might cart off the Booker. And this is it written as best it can be; this is literature - the case is proven. Red Leaves is a beautifully written, poigniant, powerful, moving book. America loves book in which their American dream comes crumbling down around the heads of noble, hard-working men (Mystic River), and this is one of those (it was shortlisted for the Edgar and the new Duncan lawrie Dagger; appallingly, it won neither and probably deserved both). An elegiac examination of a disappearance, a disintegrating family life, of dangerous, corrosive suspicion among families. It's written with an intensity and gloomy beauty that are rare, but that sets it out as among the best of fiction. The end is shocking, wrenching, and emotionally shattering. This book leaves you the way few books are able to. I'll be reading Thomas H. Cook again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *PERFECTION*, 7 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
Eric Moore's teenage son was babysitting his neighbour's 8 yr old girl when she went missing that night. The finger of suspicion points at his son and Eric can't decide who he can trust...
Thomas H. Cooks's novels are literary masterpieces using the psychological thriller genre. This is more than crime writing - it's literature that just happens to be using crime fiction as a vehicle. You immediately find yourself lost in the most glorious, compassionate, heart-renching, beautiful prose. This is writing with heart and soul. The compelling plot weaves questions of morality, philosophy and the human condition. This is one of those few books that actually reads you. Cook cleverly plants seeds of doubt whilst at the same time tells you that doubt is corrosive and will picture everything you see, hear or read. Ingenious.
All this and an ending you'll never predict. Red Leaves is a perfect novel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!, 11 Aug. 2006
By 
Lynne M. Robertson (Dunfermline, Fife United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Hardcover)
I have read many great books and a lot of thomas h cook's but this one stands above the rest for me-its a long time since I have read a book that made me cry ( I wont say why as it would spoil the ending if you havent read it!) as I felt so involved emotionally with the characters- I knew it wasnt true but it is a story that could happen and that makes it all the more believable.How many times have you seen a suspects house being searched on the news and thought "the police must think they have done something to search their house?" Read this book only if you have the time to sit and finish it-you wont want to put it down until you find out what happened!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A family implodes; this is a masterpiece., 3 Oct. 2013
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Red Leaves (Kindle Edition)
Surprisingly I haven't come across Thomas Cook before so I'm delighted to have more to discover! This is taut and exquisitely written. It reads like a coiled spring; every page unwinds a little more and suddenly the reader is catapulted to a different level.

It's introspective so if you want an action packed crime thriller, look elsewhere. Small town America, a young girl goes missing and the novel follows the effect of the disappearance on the family of a prime suspect. The thread of reflective narration by an interested observer is intriguing and serves well to link characters and the past with current events. This is a detailed dissection of dysfunction in families. Superficially all is well, but scrape the surface and there's a different agenda, a different story and deep, dark secrets which cause implosion.

In a nutshell, I loved this. The prose is spare. Every word counts and I was drawn right in to the mystery of events and the surprising finale. Characters, plot, pace, language...it's all there. Compelling and totally absorbing and very rewarding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another cracking mystery from Edgar Award-winning author, 28 Feb. 2011
By 
Alan Cluer - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
Like all Thomas H. Cook's books, which one might describe as somewhat sombre psycho- dramas, 'Red Leaves' has the most disturbing and intriguing premise - what would you do if your teenage son baby-sat for the baby daughter of your close friends, crept back into the house later than expected, and in the morning you were called by these friends to say that the baby was missing, had in fact been abducted.
Cook's books usually describe some nightmare that is hardly imaginable in an ordered society but from the point of view of someone who is not the protagonist, but is sucked helplessly into a maelstrom by his connections.
This book is certainly a thriller but has nothing in common with the Reacher/Cole/Pike superman novel who can bring any disaster into order, but, for the grace of God, could actually happen to the reader. It's impossible to do much of anything else until one has reached the denouement and what has happened becomes plain - and entirely credibly.
I strongly recommend this novel for those readers for whom being disturbed is part of being thrilled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful psychological novel, 28 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
Red Leaves is the story of a family's response when suspicion falls on their awkward, loner, teenage son, following the disappearance of an eight year girl that he was babysitting for.

Both the subject matter and, in some respects the style of recounting the story in flashback, mean that comparisons with "We need to talk about Kevin" are inevitable.

They are different books, but if you like one, then I think you would probably like the other.

Thomas H Cook writes elegantly and insightfully, both the town and the characters are deftly sketched. I have to say I wolfed down this book, so I would certainly recommend it. My only criticism was that the ending was just a little too pat, but clearly other reviewers felt differently.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super read, 2 Mar. 2007
By 
Mr. Simon Clarke "simbadiow" (Isle of Wight) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
I disagree with the other reviewer who said that the writer is trying to do a "We need to talk about Kevin". Thomas H Cook is a writer who I usually think of as writing out of his element. His subject matter tends to be of the common or garden slash/murder/depths of evil type of genre beloved of the supermarket shelves. However his writing style is far too good for this type of book. I found myself reading this book far too fast purely because I was pulled along by the great storyline and I had to keep slowing down to admire his writing. I still finished it the same day that I started. Thomas H Cook could undoubtedly write a book of the depth of "We need to talk about Kevin" as he clearly has the literary skills to do so, but whilst he does such a good job of elevating the genre he is in, I'm not complaining.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Understated and disturbing, 4 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Red Leaves (Paperback)
It's possible that the quote from Harlan Coben ('gripping, beautifully written, surprising and devastating') led me to think that Red Leaves would be a crime novel. However, I think that I was led astray. After reading this novel, my conclusion is that Red Leaves is a cleverly understated psychological study of the fragility of human relationships.

The story is narrated by Eric Moore, a financially secure married man with one son, Keith. He's looking back in time, to the event that led to where he is now. And it was just one event - a young girl from a neighbouring family disappeared from her home one night and it just happened that, on that particular night, Eric's son Keith was babysitting. The finger of suspicion is pointed at Keith who, unfortunately happens to be a loner. Eric discovers that he really does not know his son and doubts begin to surface.

The narrative is chock full of tension and red herrings and comes to be as much about Eric's quietly dysfunctional family as it is about the missing girl. The ending, when it arrived, wasn't easy to anticipate and created an unexpected emotional reaction.

Overall, I found this to be a quietly disturbing book. I'm sure it would do well as a book club read because there seems to be a lot below the surface that is worthy of further discussion and I do think that a group of people could have a very stimulating discussion over the theme of this book.
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Red Leaves
Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook (Paperback - 11 Jan. 2007)
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