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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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This is the second Catherine Dunne that I have read just lately, the other being Something Like Love. This is a much darker read, a psychological family drama that is really quite chilling.

The Grahams are just a normal family like any other, nothing out of the ordinary about them at all although what I did find to be a refreshing change is the portrayal of the son Ciaran who, unlike in a lot of family dramas, is not a perfect angel. He is a teenager who could be best described as a "rebel without a cause" - really nice one minute, then moody, ratty and horrible the next. He will probably be recognised instantly by a lot of readers who are parents. The Grahams' normal every day existence is threatened by the proverbial black sheep of the family who decides it is time to come home and take what he believes is rightfully his in a plan that has been carefully and painstakingly thought out. It is most definitely a question of revenge being a dish best served cold. The plot is well crafted and builds at a good pace, getting more and more sinister as it unfolds and develops into a real page turner.

For part of the read I did start to wonder if I was reading a sequel, as a lot of the story is told in flashback, but I soon got used to that and as the book goes on, all the background information that I needed came out in the wash eventually. The characters are well drawn and believable, some nice and some just pure evil. Dialogue is good and feels natural.

All in all, a really good read.
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on 16 January 2010
Set In Stone is a novel that brings you into the family of Robert and Lynda. Bit by bit that family security is broken. ''Danny'' a malevolent brother has once again infiltrated his brother's domain through ''the watcher'' and Jon. Danny is determined to destroy Robert and Lyndas world once and for all.

This narrative is steadily paced as Catherine Dunne explores the characters of the brothers Robert and Danny, who both had a privileged upbringing. However, Danny as a child displayed a cruel callous temperament, and developed into a wreck-less self-absorbed youth.

In the present Ciaran, Robert and Lynda's son is portrayed as a vulnerable student, moody and agitated who brings home his new friend Jon, a seemingly good influence. Ciaran's aggressive behaviour towards his mother temporarily improves. Ciaran becomes more settled and content.

The author punctuates this improvement by a series of violations on the family home by ''the watcher .." The family security increasingly becomes unravelled in a spiralling climax.

Danny's dark force is pitched against this family but as Danny disintegrates in character, Lynda though once fearful, gathers strength, becomes empowered and fights to protect her family.

Catherine Dunne creates a tightly woven plot of spiralling intensity, which also explores the past and present relationships within a family, it is a book that is very difficult to put down.

''Set in Stone '' is compulsive reading.
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on 20 July 2011
Meet the Graham family in Dublin. A solid, happy family of four, Lynda, Robert and their children Ciaràn and Katie, barely out of teen hood. A lovely house in the suburbs, good jobs to keep them going. Ciaràn is the only one that has some problems, he is rebellious and hostile most of the time, but who isn't when 19? Until he befriends Jon at the university, who has a great and positive impact on him. Jon himself comes from a desolate background and his parents do not care about him. For the time being, he is allowed to stay with the Grahams and they welcome him with open arms.

Jon's arrival coincides with a series of unpleasant episodes that influence and affect their balanced and safe life. Lynda seems the only one to have a sort of "puzzled" vibe about Jon, despite his being so nicely behaved at all times, almost to good to be true, although she is too distracted by the escalating unpleasant events to dwell on her feeling, until she shakes it off for good.

What is happening in their ordinary, uncomplicated life is shaking everybody's ground. Lynda is convinced it is something from the Past looming to haunt them all. Could she possibly be right? Her trusting husband Robert at first disregards Lynda's comments. But as the events take more serious turns each time, he is forced to face the truth. Something set in stone and never forgotten is back again.

In my opinion, definitely a beach read, quite a page turner in that "page-turning" way books without much substance but with a fairly good plots have. Not a thriller at such, and quite easy to discern a pattern from the beginning that only the protagonists did not see, until it hits them in the face. So to speak.
My true vote: 3.5 stars.
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on 1 December 2013
This is a really well told story.There is a normal family who become the centre of a disturbing plot to destroy all that feels safe for them. Oddly it is their problems that help them deal with what is going on around them.You want to tell them what is really going on but it does work itself out as the story develops.Dunne is a wonderful addition to the growing number of Irish authors.
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on 16 June 2013
I have just finished reading this book minutes ago and feel absolutely cheated! It started out so well with the suspense and tension gripping you as Robert, Lynda and Ciaran face an onslaught of absolute hatred that it makes you fearful for their very lives. Danny and then Jon come on the scene, Danny as a younger brother to Robert setting out for revenge thinking he's been cheated out his share of the family fortunes but where does Jon fit in or indeed what has the watcher to do with all this? Initially I was hooked and gasping for air as the pace quickened and the acts of distruction continued. Almost at the end I just couldn't put the book down thinking that the bad guys will get caught......I have to say the ending was not what I expected and as I said earlier I feel cheated! Readers do beware that at the beginning of this book there is a very distressful scene involving a cat so animal lovers please take note. Thank you Catherine for an excellent thriller which left me with more questions than answers! Sequel perhaps?
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on 9 November 2013
Started off with a good plot. But by the middle started to turn into a sixth year essay. The ending was weak and lost it's way. Left me wondering how this book (because it certainly isn't a Novel) was given any hype at all. I did feel i had wasted my time reading this book. I wanted it to get better but it didn't. Maybe her other books are better i will have a look.
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on 23 August 2014
This is an unusual and intriguing story. The family relationships are very well drawn and the characters are believable. The plot evolves quite slowly but the reader is drawn in,eager to see how it develops. The ending is good too.
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on 7 January 2012
Just a warning that if this is purchased via The Orange Emporium on Amazon's Marketplace, it is not the edition advertised. Smaller edition (11 x 17.5 cm) and hence smaller typeface - could be a problem if your eyesight is not as good as it once was! Bargain price if this is not a problem.
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on 28 May 2014
After a slow start I really got into the story and couldn't put it down. The plot was weaved together like a tapestry and you had to read on to get the answers. Quite thought-provoking when you assess family relationships too.
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on 11 August 2013
Although the coincidences, hidden secret babies, marrying people who happen to be key to the story and so on is a bit predictable, this is a tightly plotted thriller, which starts with the scary notion of someone watching a family from the bottom of their garden. Every character has some flaws, which help to keep the action going.
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