Posts Tagged ‘Complicated’

Await Your Reply

October 17, 2012

Author:  Dan Chaon

Title:  Await Your Reply

Genre:  Psychological Suspense

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  320

Geographical Setting:  Various locations throughout the U.S. (including Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska) and abroad (Canada and Ivory Coast)

Time Period:  2000’s

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:

Three seemingly disparate narratives, divided into three sections, comprise this book.

-Miles Cheshire searches for his missing, mentally unstable twin brother, Hayden- a search that has consumed him for the past ten years.

-After discovering that he was adopted, Ryan Schuyler drops out of college at nineteen to join his real father, Jay, who involves Ryan in his fraud and identity theft schemes.

-Lucy Lattimore is an orphan who runs away with George Orson, her former high school history teacher, looking for a new life.

Rotating between each of the characters, the stories are connected via themes of loss and identity, and perhaps much more.  A compelling read that addresses ideas of self and reinvention, Await Your Reply builds in intensity as readers discover the interconnectedness of the characters’ lives and the dangerous consequences of journeys ill-chosen.

Subject Headings:  Identity theft, Secret identity, Twins, Missing persons, Runaways, Adoption, Family relationships, Teacher-student relationships, Embezzling, Cybercrime, Second chances, Truth.

Appeal:  Compelling, Character-driven, Intricately plotted, Multiple storylines, Disturbing, Bleak, Complicated, Suspenseful, Unrelenting, Family dynamics, Twin brothers, Secrets, Reinventing yourself, Search for truth, Quest for identity, Criminal activity (identity theft/cybercrime).

Three appeal terms that best describe this book:  Compelling, Character-driven, Intricately plotted.

Similar Authors and Works:

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Stealing Your Life:  The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan  by Frank W. Abagnale

From counterfeiting expert and author of Catch Me If You Can, comes a book about identity theft that discusses both the methods used by criminals and the steps people can take to prevent and/or deal with becoming victims themselves.  Await Your Reply involves characters that are perpetrators of identity theft.  Readers searching for more information about identity theft may find the many case histories and suggestions included in this book to be useful.

2.  Kingpin:  How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground  by Kevin Poulsen

Kingpin follows the rise and fall of Max Butler, a criminal hacker who stole access to over a million credit card accounts, exposing readers to hacking culture and the cybercriminal underworld along the way.  Readers who found the secretive and dangerous aspects of the crimes committed by the characters in Await Your Reply intriguing could find this title to be a compelling read.

3.  Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited  by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein

Two sisters, separated as infants by an adoption agency, reunite later in life.  In this book, they share the journey of their relationship from strangers to sisters.  Await Your Reply includes twin brothers as prominent characters.  Readers interested in learning more about twins and their relationship with one another may find this book to be a good match- it includes both information about twin studies and statistics as well as the emotion connection that the sisters form.

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1.  The Talented Mr. Ripley  by Patricia Highsmith

Tom Ripley travels to Italy to convince a former classmate, the wealthy Dickie Greanleaf, to return home to his family.  Plans go awry when their friendship cools; Tom kills Dickie and assumes his identity.  Await Your Reply and The Talented Mr. Ripley are both character-driven psychological suspense stories that involve stolen identities, written in a spare and compelling style.

2.  Case Histories  by Kate Atkinson

Private detective Jackson Brodie investigates three past crimes, all involving dead and/or missing girls.  Although a mystery, Case Histories is similar to Await Your Reply for being character-driven, disturbing and suspenseful.  Both stories also contain multiple storylines that involve family relationships and missing persons.

3.  The Cloud of Unknowing  by Thomas H. Cook

Diana Sears doesn’t believe police reports that find the drowning of her son to be an accident.  In Diana’s obsessive search for answers, details about old crimes resurface and questions arise as to whether several murders may have been committed.  Both Await Your Reply and The Cloud of Unknowing are character-driven, disturbing, psychological suspense stories that are compelling to read.  Both stories also involve family relationships and Schizophrenia.

Name:  Nicole

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

June 7, 2009

Author: Jeff Lindsay, Narrated by Nick Landrum

Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Unabridged audio book)

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date:

Length: 8 hours, 14 minutes

Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida

Time Period: Present day

Series: Dexter series of books

Plot Summary: Dexter Morgan is a forensic blood spatter analyst. To those that see him, he’s a normal, attractive, charming man with a stable job and a boat. But that’s not the real Dexter. The real Dexter is void of the things that make people human. He has no conscience. He’s a cold, calculated, serial killer that is guided to do these things by the “dark passenger” inside of him. Dexter iss not like the usual murderers. He devotedly follows “the code of Harry”, a set of rules by Harry Morgan, the cop who adopted him. Through this code he hunts those like him. Until the bloodless dismembered bodies of prostitutes start emerging. Dexter becomes conflicted between helping his adoptive sister solve the case and his fascination with this beautiful artistic killer… But why does he feel so drawn and connected this new killer? Nick Landrum’s 1st person narration is smooth, matching Dexter’s dry and witty charm and dark introspection perfectly.

Subject Headings: Forensic scientist — Fiction, Serial murders — Fiction, Serial murders — Fiction, Serial murderers — Fiction, Vigilantes — Fiction

Appeal Terms: Complicated, black humor, witty, character centered, graphic, casual and playful tone, psychological, suspenseful, cadenced, chilling, introspective, compelling, steady, investigative

terms that best describe this book: Dark, witty, suspenseful

Similar Works and Authors (fiction):
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho: Psychological thriller told from the 1st person of a serial killer.

Jeff Povey, The Serial Killer’s Club: A man who kills a serial killer falls into a club of murderers who share a “love of the hunt”.

P.D. Martin, Body Count: An FBI profiler experiences nightmares of murdered women

Similar Works and Authors (Non-fiction):
Robert Graysmith, Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America’s Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed: Continues the account of the murders that began in 1968, baffling investigators for 30 years.

Robert K. Ressler and Tom Sachtman, I Have Lived in the Monster: the man who coined the term “serial killer” shares his experiences on understanding the criminal mind.

Roger L. Depue with Susan Schindehette, Between Good and Evil: A Master Profiler’s Hunt for Society’s Most Violent Predators: FBI Profiler shares experiences in law enforcement.

Name: Chris