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The Crime of Julian Wells Hardcover – August 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; Book Club edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802126030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802126030
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A striking example of a suspense writer working at the top of his form." —Los Angeles Times

"[A]n intelligent and elegant work." —The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

THOMAS H. COOK was born in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1947. He has been nominated for the Edgar Award seven times in five different categories. He received the best novel Edgar for The Chatham School Affair, the Martin Beck Award, the Herodotus Prize for best historical short story, and the Barry for best novel for Red Leaves, and has been nominated for numerous other awards.

More About the Author

THOMAS H. COOK was born in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1947. He has been nominated for the Edgar Award seven times in five different categories. He received the best novel Edgar for The Chatham School Affair, the Martin Beck Award, the Herodotus Prize for best historical short story, and the Barry for best novel for Red Leaves, and has been nominated for numerous other awards.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Cook's books are always filled with penetrating insights, sharp observations of human nature. Deception and betrayal, common themes in Cook's novels, percolate from the center of The Crime of Julian Wells. Although the story is driven by a secret -- what is the crime to which the title refers? -- it is the reaction to betrayal, its poisonous impact ("like a landslide in your soul"), that gives the story its heart.

The Crime of Julian Wells begins with Julian's suicide. The suicide baffles Julian's best friend, Philip Anders, from whose perspective the story is told. Philip is a literary critic, while Julian was an expatriate writer mired in darkness who traveled the world to chronicle stories of crime and cruelty. "It was evil he was after," Philip recalls, "some core twist in the scheme of things." Also confounded by Julian's decision to end his life is Julian's sister Loretta. While Philip and Loretta both knew Julian to be restless but exuberant in his youth, they also recognized that Julian's state of mind changed after he traveled with Philip to Argentina.

The dedication in Julian's first book -- "For Philip, sole witness to my crime" -- had always seemed to Philip a joke. Julian's death causes Philip to reconsider its meaning. Obsessed with the notion that he had, in fact, witnessed a crime he failed to recognize, Philip scours his memory while embarking on his own investigation, a quest that makes him ponder the fate of two people he met in Argentina toward the end of the Dirty War, friends who subsequently disappeared: Father Rodrigo, who appeared to be a poor parish priest, and Marisol Menendez, a tour guide who assisted Julian and Philip.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rett01 VINE VOICE on January 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For more than three decades Thomas Cook has been writing mysteries and pulling in readers the way a magnet attracts metal. Without ever becoming anything close to formulaic, Cooks writes according to a simple, straightforward formula.

"The Crime of Julian Wells," is among the best of his novels, standing on the mystery bookshelf between "Breakheart Hill" and "The Chatham School Affair," and alongside "Red Leaves."

His mysteries are usually about a crime or incident that happened long ago and the resulting effect the past has to influence the present. His stories are often about appalling, horrible events told without sentiment and to a certain extent sanitized by the passage of time. The real horror and dread in Cook's stories emerge as the truth unfolds and we begin to understand what impact the past has on the present.

The connection is apparent in the opening sentence: "There is no more haunting story than that of an unsolved crime, Julian had once written, but solutions, I was to discover can be haunting, too."

In the book's prologue, Julian Wells calmly and with much purpose climbs into a small boat, its yellow paint long faded, and so as to appear "small and indistinct rows," to the middle of the pond on the Long Island property he shares with his sister Loretta.

There after a moment's contemplation he takes a serrated knife out of his pocket and calmly slits one wrist and then the other then slips his arms into the cold, clear water and watches his life flow out of him. He dies without mess or fuss, the way he wanted it.

Julian Wells had been a writer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on August 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
THE CRIME OF JULIAN WELLS is one of those great books that readers don't want to talk about too much for fear of divulging more than they should, thereby spoiling the surprises and wonders therein. Though not a large book by any means (under 300 pages), it must be read slowly, with resistance given to the urge to move ever forward and quickly to see what happens next. Every word and scene counts in some way, so that by the time readers reach the conclusion, curiosity will be piqued and other books and sources will be sought out. It's that type of book.

Genre classification does not come easily with respect to THE CRIME OF JULIAN WELLS. It begins with Wells' suicide; there's no mystery as to how or who. The question that haunts Wells' friend, Philip Anders, is the "why" of his friend's actions. Wells was a highly regarded author of true crime novels, choosing to write about monsters who committed large-scale atrocities either in the name of a government or for their own personal aggrandizement. His choice of event, or monster, was not the one that might normally jump to someone's mind when the topic is broached, such as Manson, Gacy or Dahmer, but rather those occurrences that are not immediately familiar to American audiences. Anders is haunted and perplexed by his friend's sudden suicide, somehow feeling responsible for it. A number of times during the first-person narrative, Anders notes that, if he could only have been with his friend at the time of his demise, he might have saved him from his self-inflicted fate.

In an effort to get to Wells' motive, Anders journeys to Paris, where Wells maintained an apartment.
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