Posts Tagged ‘secrets’

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

Heart-Shaped Box

June 14, 2010

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting:  U.S.A. (New York, Georgia, Louisiana)

Time Period: present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

Over-the-hill rock star Judas Coyne  lives comfortably on a farm in New York state with his lady friend-du-jour Georgia, his personal assistant Danny, and his two beloved dogs, Angus and Bon.  He also has a fetish for collecting strange and macabre artifacts.  When Danny comes across an auction for a dead man’s suit (dead man’s ghost included!), Jude can’t resist adding the find to his collection.  However, he soon discovers that the ghost’s surviving family member has ulterior motives, first and foremost of which  is revenge.

Jude must figure out a way to either placate the angry spirit or destroy him outright before the ghost exacts his deadly retribution on Jude and all those close to him.

Subject Headings:

Ghosts;  Rock musicians;  Supernatural;  Secrets;  Men/women relations;  Life after death;  Paranormal phenomena;  Apparitions;  Interpersonal relations;  Ghost stories;  Horror stories

Appeal:

reckless, spooky, menacing, malevolent, ominous, searching, intense, confrontational, secrets, bittersweet, angst-ridden, sarcastic, selfish, cathartic, rock ‘n roll jargon and references

3 terms that best describe this book:

Eerie, bloody, story of redemption

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction:

1)      Ghost Radio: A Novel – text and illustrations by Leopoldo Gout

An ex-punk rocker discovers a voice from another dimension in the static he hears during his underground radio call-in show.

Similarities:  rock and roll connected main character,  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, ominous

2)      In the Night Room by Peter Straub

The lives of two strangers intertwine when one loses her daughter and the other communicates with people from his youth, people who happen to be dead.

Similarities:  interpersonal relations, ghosts, paranormal phenomena, spooky

3)      Duma Key by Stephen King

After a terrible accident which leaves him crippled, Edgar Freemantle goes to the Florida Keys and rents a house in order to heal.  He takes up painting and soon discovers that his artwork begins to mysteriously reveal secrets surrounding his new landlady’s family history.

Similarities:  family secrets, revenge, paranormal phenomena, cathartic, menacing

Non-Fiction:

1)      Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange, and Downright Bizarre by Jonathan Maberry and David F. Kramer

A supernatural encyclopedia of sorts, The Cryptopedia provides chapters on angels, occult symbols, poltergeists, and UFOs, among others.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, supernatural, the occult, spooky

2)      Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

Uses science to try to explain life after death and other paranormal occurrences.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, life after death

3)      Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock n Roll Field Guide to Guys by Erin Bradley; illustrations by Heather Bradley

A tongue-in-cheek guide that helps navigate the quirky road of rock stars and rock star wanna-bes.  True life stories, quizzes and illustrations are all here to inform and entertain the curious.

Similarities:  rock ‘n roll, rock stars, men/women relationships, sarcasm

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos