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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 14 March 2017
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on 13 June 2001
Icarus grabs you on the first page and never lets go. Even avid mystery/thriller readers will make it through most of the book before figuring out the identity of the real killer. Gideon was good, but Icarus is terrific!
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on 25 September 2002
Funny old book, this one. It starts in sprightly fashion, with a nasty and powerful set piece that sets the tone for the principal character's behaviour throughout the novel. This, however, is followed by practically 200 pages of (admittedly well written) set up. The reader really needs to stick with the book at this stage - it is worth it.
The mid section of Icarus really cooks with gas and Andrews sets up a plot of complex contours, dragging the reader off in an unexpected - and satisfying - direction. Jack Keller goes from smug and slightly irritating restauranteur to sympathetic, heartbroken detective and this arc is believable. He is drawn into a world of aggressive, sexually charged women, one of whom he suspects murdered his young friend/protegee and (possibly) his wife whilst also bumping off a whole clutch of secondary characters. A really unputdownable sequence, this.
Jack's detective work seems a little too easy but the narrative is compelling. Pages flick easily. By page 450, a really clever denouement was all I needed to declare this an excellent thriller. Ah...and there's the rub. Whilst the ending is a bit of a surprise and resolves all the threads, it stretches belief a mile too far and is contrived in the extreme (even the "Icarus" theme feels forced). I expected Andrews to weave the ending back to include and explain events from the set piece at the start of the book. He didn't. The twist is mediocre, not barnstorming. Costs him at least a star, if not two.
Worth a read but keep your expectations to modest levels.
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on 6 April 2014
Icarus is a novel written by Russell Andrews (of Gideon fame). It was published in 2001, by Time Warner Books, Doubleday, and Little, Brown and Company publishing houses.

The story (no spoilers beyond what can be read on the book’s sleeve)

The story is basically the story of Jack Keller. At a very young age, he sees his mother getting killed and thrown out of a window of a high-rise building. Apart from leaving him scarred for life and with a violent fear of hights, it is the beginning of a very compelling and captivating story.

Jack is raised by Dom – the person who was about to propose to his mother before she was casually disposed of through the double glazing of the skyscraper – and the connection between the two of them is strong.

Jack marries Caroline around the same time as he starts opening upper-class steak restaurants. Being quite a capitalist entrepeneur, he soon has several restaurants. He thrives until – in what appears to be a hold-up – his wife gets killed and thrown out of a window (recognize a pattern yet?), and Jack barely escapes with his life.

In deep shock, unable to walk, and having lost the will to live, Kid re-enters Jack’s life, and offers to make Jack all right again. When Kid, after having firmly re-established his friendship with Jack, also plummets to his death, Jack has had quite enough, and decides to try and find out what is going on about all the deaths around him.


At 580 pages, the book is quite a read. I purchased it yesterday at 15:00. It is now 22:30. Despite being an avid reader, it only happens rarely that I read anything in such a limited period of time, so the writer must have done something right.

But what?

For one thing, the story is exciting. Without going into detail, the revelations of Kid’s turbulent sexual life are colourful and thought-provoking. Combine that with the fact that Kid has some people in his past – people he has given nicknames such as “The Murdress”, “The Mistake”, “The Destination” and “The Mortician” – who would not at all mind seing him dead, and you got a good old-fashioned whodunnit on your hand.

With new facts being delivered every few pages – effectively aiming the suspicion at everyone in the book, and the fast, movie-like pace, this novel truly and honestly is a good example of your proverbial page-turner.

The characters are surprisingly lifelike and quite human, despite their quirks and anomalies. Finding some character or another to identify with is not difficult, and only seems to intensify the reading experience.

Make no mistake, however – Andrews is no Agatha Christie, and the ending of the book is a bit slow. During the last 50 pages or so, while being interesting and effectively round up all the loose thread|loose threads, you know who the killer is, losing some of the tension. Mind you, it would have worked perfectly as a film (and with Time Warner as the book’s publisher, I would not at all be surprised if we see this thing as a film soon).

All in all, I think I would give the book four stars out of five. It is worth reading as a thriller / detective novel. It has certainly got a strong plot and vivid characters. By no means an intelectual experience, but still enough entertainment to make it a book worth bringing to the beach. Unlike my Thomas Pyncheon book, which seems to be left in the picnic basket.
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on 15 April 2002
Icarus is a good book but ultiamately it seems to be missing something important. The begining is good and draws you in as Jack's life is built from childhood disaster to wealth and happiness. You care what happens to him and his wife, but ultimately as the book enters its middle section and begins to meandre. I found it very hard to care what happened to Kid, one of the most central characters in the book and a driving component of the story. I must confess I didnt work out or guess who the killer was until the end and so the book redeemed itself slightly in pure surprise. Good but ultimately disappointing and quite frustrating.
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on 27 May 2001
If you like Russell Andrews's previous effort, Gideon, this will be just up your street.
A thriller with terrific characters and a fascinating premise, which despite many novels treading similar territory, is fresh and compelling.
From the first page I was hooked. It may be a cliche, but I couldn't put it down.
I won't give away any of the plot, even the back synopsis gives away too much for my liking. But like the simple cover, it is classy. A cracking thriller that I expect is being turned into a screenplay as we speak. Well done Russell!
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on 8 April 2002
Although this book is well written and the characters come alive, the author lost me when the plot stumbled into complete implausibility. The search, central to the plot, just doesn't ring true. Also, the author deliberately misleads the reader about relevant facts in the most important relationship in the book, only disclosing them later. Lying to your reader is really not a good idea, in my opinion, especially when actions and reactions seem completely out of character from all we've already learnt about the people involved.
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on 14 February 2007
This book starts a bit slowly, building the characters, getting to know and like them.

Once it gets going, it doesn't stop, gripping, thrilling and fast-paced.

As for guessing who dunnit? You'll probably guess before the end, but as for the why? and how?, this'll keep you guessing till the end.

The only reason I've not given it 5/5 is the ending. With a few twists, it's guaranteed to keep the pages turning, but tended to fizzle out a bit.

This is definitely his best.
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on 26 February 2004
I am shocked to see such average to bad reviews on Icarus. I found it to be a truely harrowing tale, that gripped me all the way. I thought it demonstrated how much Russel Andrews has improved over time. His writing is more descriptive, than ever before, bringing his charactors into life.
I guarantee that you cant guess who it is!
ps: give it a chance. The best books start slowly, gain speed, until the plot moves at a rapid pace. The last few chapters are filled with twists.
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on 5 May 2002
After being gripped by Andrews first book Gideon I couldn't wait to see what his next would be like. I have to say I was disapointed. It was a good read but a little confusing at times with so many characters having so many different names. Try it and see.
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