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Boy in the Water Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 15, 1999


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 15, 1999
$13.63 $2.00

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.; 1st edition (June 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805060200
  • ASIN: B000IOETH8
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,153,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Although not as complex or as haunting as his 1997 novel Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns has produced a first-rate psychological thriller with Boy in the Water.

Bishop's Hill Academy in rural New Hampshire is a school in crisis. Once a highly regarded preparatory school for the rich and elite, it is now a dumping ground for troubled teens. The teachers are unqualified, unenthusiastic, and spend more time hitting the students than educating them. A new headmaster, Jim Hawthorne, enters the chaotic scene, but is immediately outcast from the tight-knit faculty. Hawthorne is obsessed with the idea of turning the school around--and we soon find out why. His family died in a fire purportedly set by a disturbed teenager back in San Diego. Mentally and physically scarred, Hawthorne sees Bishop's Hill as an opportunity to get back to "physical reality," and save some adolescent psyches. But it is his own mental state that is soon put to the test as he becomes the nucleus of a hate campaign and is forced to relive the terrible memories of the fire.

It seems that everyone in the school has a secret to hide--from the cook Frank LeBrun who enjoys placing sharp tacks in his recipes to Chip Campbell, a history teacher who has taken one too many liberties with the school's funds.

Dobyns paints a foreboding landscape of dilapidated buildings and neglected children--a place where a 15-year-old girl plots to kill her father, a place where teachers abuse students, a place where a young boy is found dead in a swimming pool. As a snowstorm cuts off the isolated community, the exiled headmaster is forced into a final showdown with the school's omnipotent evil.

Boy in the Water is an entertaining but ultimately disturbing read. --Naomi Gesinger --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Set in the New Hampshire mountains at remote Bishop's Hill Academy, Dobyns's new novel succeeds, though it still does not top The Church of Dead Girls (LJ 5/1/97). As usual, Dobyns fleshes out mundane, real-world characters. Bishop's Hill is a financially shaky institution known as a dumping ground for troubled teenagers. New headmaster Jim Hawthorne carries a motherlode of guilt and conflict from the past: detained by a tryst at his previous prestigious post, he failed to save his wife and daughter from a fire set by a student jealous for his attention. Friend Kevin Kreuger tries to convince Hawthorne that he is punishing himself by taking the job, but Hawthorne perseveres. Deliberate attempts to undermine Hawthorne's success at Bishop's Hill, followed by a series of murders, overshadow his improvements to the school. In time, he discovers his enemies and unravels a trail of corruption while doing his utmost to save lost souls like Jessica Weaver, a former stripper at 15. Recommended for all mystery collections.
-AMichelle Foyt, Fairfield P.L., CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This is by far one of the most compelling thrillers I have ever read.
John Geissinger
The book is a fast paced edge of your seat read, and the pace doesn't stop for an instant.
lorin pearson
About mid-way through the book, the plot becomes clumsy and not very believable.
amanda

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Hunter on August 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book caught hold of me from the beginning. The hero kept sinking deeper and deeper and I wanted to shout at him, "Get out of the school" as this main character failed to see the true nature of the danger building around him. It was frustrating, yet gripping. The reader was shown the danger and the some of the evil schemes swirling around the New Hampshire campus. Gossip was never true or innocent and the paranoia was always well-place. A spooky combination. The usual entrenchmant of bureacracy against any change was presented and it felt real for anyone who has worked in an institution of any kind and then this was nudged forward just a little until it became deadly.
The number of interesting characters, good and bad, was a nice change from some suspense novel that spend their written energy on usually simply the hero or the villain.
It felt nice to settle down with a killer and a New Hampshire snowstorm on a hut, muggy New York day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lauryn Angel VINE VOICE on December 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read "The Church of Dead Girls" when it was first released in the summer of '97, and I absolutely loved it. When I heard, then, that Dobyns had a new book out, I knew that I had to have it. When I finished "The Boy in the Water," I felt a little...I guess let down is the best way to put it. It isn't that the book was at all bad; in fact, I enjoyed it. There seemed to be something missing. The plot was a little more transparent than that of "Church." In his previous novel, I didn't know for sure whodunit until Dobyns chose to reveal the murderer to the reader; in "Boy," I had a pretty clear idea of what was going on, and I was right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Dobyns has once again proved his versatility with his new book, "Boy in the Water". Fans of his Saratoga series are familiar with his wonderful sense of humor, great characters, and spectacular mishaps, all surrounded by a great deal of local color. This novel, like his "Church of the Dead Girls", is serious, haunting, and mysterious, set in winter in New Hampshire, with predictable villains and a great deal of foreshadowing. This book reminds me a bit of a PD James novel,(the snowy mountains instead of the foggy moors) not quite as thick, and certainly with a New England twist. I enjoyed every minute of it, found the characters likeable, believable, and interesting. I loved the subtle changes in the boarding school which Jim Hawthorne was able to implement during his troubled first semester there, as evidenced by the scenes with the students; Dobyns has an excellent eye and understanding for the behavior patterns of abused kids. This was a great read, and highly recommended. My only criticism is that the foreshadowing is a bit heavy, the "bad guys" are pretty obvious even though our hero seems to be oblivious, and the ending is a bit strange - we see the aftermath of the climax of the novel through the eyes of a very minor and peripheral character and there is no alternative wrap up. An interesting literary device, but I felt a little cheated. Maybe foreshadowing of a sequel, Mr. Dobyns?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Geissinger on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was intriguing from start to end. It keep throwing loops that were extremely entertaining. Like many have said I just could not put this book down. This is by far one of the most compelling thrillers I have ever read. It's my first Stephen Dobyns books and I can't wait to read more of his masterpieces.
This book is so good I bought it on hardcover at full price to read later. The character development is fabulous. You felt like they are real people and that you could run into Mr. Hawthorne, the new headmaster of a sinking school on the bridge of closing. Its one of those books that keeps you hanging and wanting more. I suggest anyone who likes good murder thrillers to get this book immediately.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jason Muckley on June 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dobyns continues to enchant with his wonderfully descriptive scenery. Likewise, Dobyns's character descriptions are terrific, giving his audience a sense that these characters are involved in every part of our own daily lives. As Dobyns delves into the psychology of grief and guilt felt by those who have lost loved ones he gives the audience for a moment insight into the human heart and soul. The fear felt through the climatic ending to the book is splendid. This book keeps you hanging on every word and urges you to continue reading. Despite, being a little over 400 pages the book seemed like it was finished before it started.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Gullible, naive Clinical Psychologist becomes the new headmaster of a residential school in New Hampshire, and in his efforts to re-invigorate the venerable institution, he encounters some interesting characters: some nice- some not so nice. The requisite New England snow storm is a dramatic backdrop for the ultimate resolution of his problems. A good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lorin pearson on July 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen Dobyns has done it again..I thought The Church of the Dead Girls was one of the best books I have ever read, but I think Mr Dobyns has surpassed himself with this one. The book is a fast paced edge of your seat read, and the pace doesn't stop for an instant. The characters are totally believable, the plot is just great, and if Hollywood could make this into a movie and not ruin it, I'd be first in line to see it. A tip, don't read it by yourself at night, it's spooky!
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