Daily Archives: April 6, 2014

‘The Man from Primrose Lane’ by James Renner


2012, 400p.

I’m going to be very old-fashioned and curmudgeonly, but I REALLY didn’t like this book.  I really can’t talk very much about it without divulging spoilers.

Oh, alright – just the start then….an old recluse is murdered.  He had been shot in the stomach and his fingers had been cut off and minced in the blender.  He always wore mittens and seemed to have no friends or family.  David Neff, who had written a best-selling true crime book some years earlier is alerted to the case by his publisher, who is concerned that David is spiralling into depression after the apparent suicide of his wife four years earlier.  Who is this old man? Why does he always wear mittens?…..and then you’ll have to read the rest (if you still want to after this review).

The book is a mash-up, I suppose, of several different writing genres.  It’s all very self-referential and tricksy, but at the end of it, that’s just how I felt- tricked. Call me thin-skinned, but having the author jeering at the reader for wanting some sort of resolution at the end is a bit rich.

It is, apparently, going to be made into a film and it will probably work better on the screen than it does on the page.

The book is a one-off.  The blurb on the front brags that ‘you’ve never read anything like this before!’.  Well, that’s for sure and I certainly won’t in the future.  It’s the equivalent of a sight gag: it only works the first time.

My rating: 3/10

Sourced from: CAE bookgroups.

Read because: it was a bookgroup selection with The Ladies Who Say Oooh. In this case, the Ladies Said “Eeewwww”. Boy, I’m glad that I didn’t choose this book!