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  • Alex
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4.7 out of 5 stars118
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 April 2013
Ian is a father in crisis. His five year old son was murdered six months ago and since then, his marriage has hit rock bottom and his wife has left. He `hears' and later `sees' his son Alex in their home and is given messages in the form of things he recalls Alex saying in life. The reader watches Ian's life unravel around him. He's given warnings for lateness at work as he regularly sleeps badly but wakes late. We ask ourselves what's going on in his life and I was as puzzled as he was.

This is a first novel by an American author and I found it utterly gripping. I wondered, as Ian himself did, if he was losing his sanity, if there was something supernatural going on, if he were becoming schizophrenic. There were many possibilities, all feasible from the writing. The little boy, Alex, whom we meet only in snatches, comes over as a lovely, loving, earnest little boy and his father decides he is trying to impart a message. The journey we take with the two of them and with Alina, Ian's estranged wife, is a thrilling, intriguing and oddly compelling one. I can really recommend this as a book you'll not want to put down.
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on 3 October 2012
A great debut novel - had me gripped right from the very start. Like some of the reviewers, the short chapters made me want to keep reading right into the night to find out what happened. The book was a bit scary; made me jumped late one night when a gentle breeze from a window on a vent blew my bedroom door opened with a creak!

Brilliant book - will definitely recommend it.
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on 24 August 2014
I feel exhausted now I have finished this brilliant book. I'm not a fast reader and because this book had me on the edge of my seat I found myself rushing it - just to see how it would end. I did slow down and I had to re-read a few pages but it was worth it.

At times this book was very hard to read because the authors descriptive writing is just so good. Also I think being a parent you take on a story like this on so many levels, and questions are raised in your mind. The topic makes a parent's worst nightmare come alive. It certainly makes you grateful and thankful for what you have in your life.

Adam said in his thank you section that whilst writing this book he kissed his children more - I can understand what he meant but my 14 year old daughter's face was a picture every time I gave her an extra kiss and cuddle. I love her and she can sigh and giggle at me all she likes she will understand one day if she becomes a mum.

It was a very good story and I have already purchased another book by this author, but as I said I feel I need a break and read a lighter book, as brilliant as this story was it did leave me feeling a little sad.

Karen.
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on 21 September 2012
Wow. This author captured my attention all the way through this book which dealt with a father's grief and anger over the loss of his son whilst trying to cope with the day-to-day emotions of leading his normal everyday life. It is extremely well written and certainly, if this author hasn't based this book on personal experience, he is an extremely talented writer indeed. My emotions were all over the place; I shared the father's anger and feelings of letting his child down, shedding many a tear for the family. I have never read a book that has made me cry, but this was so well written and not at all sloppy or predictable and the ending, well, read it and you will know.....
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on 11 May 2014
I got this book as a freebie but will definitely be buying more by this author as this book was genuinely unputdownable. I started reading it last night just after watching the enjoyable farce that is the Eurovision Song Contest and thought it would do to get me to sleep, but I stayed up until 2.00am to finish it as I just had to know what was going to happen next. Ian's hallucinations (?) of Alex were heart-breaking and his anger and frustration at his son's death and his inablility to move on were well written and totally believable.

I do have two quibbles though, that stopped me giving this book 5 stars, which was a shame.
1) What adult, let alone a parent, let alone a mother, would consider it reasonable to allow a five year old to walk home alone from day care? When I read that I actually had to skip back a few pages because I thought I'd made a mistake and the book wasn't present day, but was set back in the forties or fifties when it was more common for that to happen. I wouldn't have allowed my children to wander the streets alone at that age and it has nothing to do with fearing the paedophile behind every bush that our culture has us fearing now. Far more children in our society are killed in traffic accidents than at the hands of paedophiles. A five year simply doesn't have the skills to negotiate busy roads. So when it was revealed that Alina had insisted Alex walk home alone it just sounded ridiculous. Sadly there are other, far more believable, ways for children to be abducted.
2) SPOILER ALERT - I worked out about 3/4 of the way through that Sylvia was probably still alive in the cellar and being tortured/ abused by the other kidnapper, but that was okay. I liked the way this progression was gradually revealed and allowed the reader to make an intelligent deduction. But what was less enjoying was the long, boring bit at the end when Ian couldn't just go down and rescue her from the cellar or call the police or another friend or Sylvia's father to help rescue her, but we had to wade through pages and pages of pointless extra plot of Kelton coming back when Ian wasn't expecting it and he got shot and had to overcome adversity and be at Kelton's mercy at various points blah, blah, blah. That part simply wasn't necessary; it was just filler and irritating. The story was good enough without contrived suspense at the end.

On the whole though, a cracking read.
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on 14 December 2012
Such an enjoyable book to read. Exceptionally well~written and quite a touching book at times, especially being this author's first. Some very creepy scenes also. Chapters are extremely short, so its very difficult to put the book down, nor will you want to. Quite honestly probably the best debut book I have ever read. So glad I found this little gem. Hopefully I'll get the chance to read more of this author's work in the future.
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2013
Having read some of the other reviews on here, I (rather foolishly) started to read this book at around 11pm last night. Big mistake....... because I just HAD to finish it, so was up for most of the night reading.

When I purchased this book, I had assumed it was a spooky horror/ghost type story, and when I read the other reviews I was a bit disappointed. However... my disappointment didn't last for long, as this book is just perfect. I was drawn in from the first page, and literally didn't put it down until I had finished. I had great sympathy for Ian, although I did feel like shaking him sometimes - especially when he was dithering around about work. I also felt like slapping Ian and his wife for allowing a 5 year old child to walk home alone from the childminders house. What were they thinking?????

I kind of guessed where the book was heading and was glad it finished the way it did. I don't want to spoil it for anyone about to read it, so I won't go into details of the twists, but there were no loose ends left, which I always like!

I won't hesitate to seek out more by this author.
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on 20 December 2012
I really enjoyed this book. Read it very quickly as there were short chapters and it flows very well. Although I had worked out some of the plot, it still had me hooked and the prose was gripping. I felt for the main character in terms of his loss and his difficulty in coming to terms with what had happened. It was a great hook for the novel and you were rooting for him to work out what had happened and gone wrong. There are no punches pulled and the subject matter is every parents worst nightmare. However, the perspective given is one which you buy into and are shocked by what is unfolding for the main character. I look forward to the next book by this author and hope that he has some further great ideas to play with. I got this book as it was a freebie - however, it is well worth paying for and will keep you entertained.
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on 30 September 2012
Having just finished this book, I wanted to say how impressed I was. The writer gets right inside the mind of Ian, the main character, truly understanding his grief at losing his only child and his guilt at not being there for his son in time of need. As Ian begins to question his mental state, so do we the reader begin to question whether his "visions" of his son are really just figments of his imagination or if there is something supernatural at work here.
As the book progressed I found myself unable to put it down, but at the same time it actually instilled a little fear into my mind.
The storyline was not at all predictable, I didn't see some plot points coming at all. Well written and highly recommended!
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on 20 November 2013
It's been a while since a book has kept me up all night but at 4am yesterday morning I reluctantly closed my Kindle and went to sleep. At midnight tonight I came back to finish the book and here we are at 1am with me compelled to write a review rather than go to sleep.
I grew up in MN so I always look out for novels set in my beloved Minnesota and this book is a real gem. I can not believe this is the authors first and I can't believe it isn't on a best seller list somewhere. It grabbed me instantly and Ian is a character you like right away despite his faults. Everything was relatable, especially his awful workplace and his love for Alex was so true and so heartbreaking.
I really look forward to reading more from this author, and I hope it's soon.
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