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Derailed Hardcover – February 19, 2003


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14th Deadly Sin
Third in the Women's Murder Club series: As violence sweeps through San Francisco, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice—before it's too late. Read more about authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There's an extraordinary amount of hype attached to this thriller, from a rave letter in the galley by Warner head Laurence J. Kirshbaum to an announced ad/ promo campaign of $500,000 and enthusiastic blurbs from Christopher Reich and, notably, James Patterson. The buzz is warranted: this story of a middle-class professional whose life goes incredibly, criminally awry is one of the most exciting thrillers in years. And why is a blurb from James Patterson notable? Because Siegel (Epitaph) seems to have learned at his feet. Like Patterson, Siegel is an ad man (a creative director at BBDO; and he, like Patterson, has created TV spots for his book) who mixes first- and third-person narration and knows how to reduce a thriller to its essence. Protagonist Charles Schine is also a Manhattan ad man, married, with a diabetic teen daughter; troubles at home and at work lead him to fall in lust with a sexy younger woman he meets on his commuter train, and finally to a hotel assignation that goes terribly wrong when an armed man bursts in, beats Charles and rapes his date, then blackmails Charles for a staggering amount of money. Charles tries to fight the blackmail by hiring muscle, a disastrous move that gets him into potentially dire legal trouble, as does his agreeing to participate in a company scam in a desperate bid to make back some of the blackmail money-and all that just takes readers into the middle of this terrific yarn, which will blindside them again and again with shocking but plausible twists. With its clean prose, high-velocity plotting and just the right amount of emotional shading darkening its sharply drawn characters, this novel is the bomb.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Ad executive Charles Schine's descent into a nightmarish world of ex-cons, scam artists, and thugs couldn't have begun more idyllically. A brief encounter on a commuter train with a seductive woman named Lucinda Harris leads to an afternoon tryst in a shabby Manhattan hotel. But just as the two lovers are about to leave, a man named Vasquez bursts into the room, beats up Charles, repeatedly rapes Lucinda, and robs them both. Unable to go to the police, since both are married, they find themselves vulnerable to blackmail. Soon, Charles is forced to risk his job, his marriage, and the health of his diabetic daughter in a battle of wits with a man who seems always one step ahead of him. Written with psychological insight and exceptional skill by an author whose debut (Epitaph) was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First Novel, this is a riveting story in which the prose glides as effortlessly as Charles's descent into hell. The immensely satisfying plot is marked by multidimensional characters, a highly original structure, an ever more gripping duel, and authentic details that range from prison life to a diabetic's struggle for survival. Expect demand, as the publisher has planned a half-million-dollar advertising campaign. Enthusiastically recommended for all public libraries.
--Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Edition edition (February 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446531588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446531580
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Tortorella VINE VOICE on October 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Phenomenal is the first word that comes to mind to describe this roller coaster. I once read that to write a great novel novel, you have to keep the protagonist in trouble, trouble, trouble! It couldn't have been done any more effectively. The beginning development was very believable, and a sympathetic character emerged. I liked the author's writing style immediately--he is FUNNY! Even as the book turned into a deadly serious game of suspense, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the clever turns of phrase. The plot itself has been detailed ad nauseum in these reviews, so I'll not repeat what you could read on the "book flap" but will say that it TRULY is impossible to put down. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't tear myself away. Now, if you're expecting a man's moral awakening as he learns his lesson...sorry, that is not the direction you're going in this book. And if you're expecting the totally plausible beginning to continue in the same way, forget about it, because this tale becomes so unbelievable you'll have to snicker at how ridiculous it is...but you'll keep reading. This is one to get under your belt for the sheer enjoyment of the ride. Derailed is great fun. Make a big pot of coffee before you begin, get comfortable, and start the book that will keep you wide-eyed all night! I only wish I still had it ahead of me to enjoy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nick G on March 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Charles Schine lives a normal life; he gets up, gets dressed, eats breakfast, kisses his wife and daughter goodbye and then he catches the 8:40 train to his job at a New York advertising agency. One day his entire life will be torn apart when he misses his train and catches the 9:00.
On the 9:00 train Charles meets Lucinda. Lucinda is mysterious and beautiful, sexy and smart, but she too is also married so Charles doesn't see anything wrong with a little harmless flirting...
Charles begins taking the 9:00 train, and each day he and Lucinda get closer and closer, until meeting on the train turns to lunch, and then dinner, and eventually a romantic encounter at a hotel, but in the blink of an eye the romantic encounter turns into a nightmare as the two suffer a sudden act of brutal violence.
Lucinda refuses to go to the police in fear of their affair being discovered, but within a short period of time their lives will dramatically changed. (...)
`Derailed' is a STUNNER! This is a well written, intense novel that will grab you and not let go. The gripping plot is packed with twists and turns galore, and that ending??? What an ending, you will be surprised. `Derailed' has it all ; complex plot, well-drawn characters, relentless suspense and a shocking climax. This is a thriller of the highest order.
James Siegel has written an amazing thriller, one that will rocket up the best-seller lists and place him alongside other heavy hitting authors in the thriller genre.
Do yourself a favor and read this novel!
Nick Gonnella
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on March 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Oh, the heavy price of a dalliance. A single misstep. After experiencing DERAILED, I'll wager the temptation cannot be nearly attractive enough to stray from the straight and narrow. For me, it certainly isn't. The cost is simply too high. If you don't believe me, read this book.
Charles Schine's life isn't going too well. After 12 years on a prime advertising account, he's yanked off and given a schlock assignment, a real slap in the face --- and that's just at work. At home, he lives with the strain of his daughter's diabetes and keeping her alive, wondering how many more days she will be with them. Her illness makes her cranky and irritable, leaving him with bittersweet memories of his little girl back when she was a normal child.
To top it off, his wife doesn't turn him on anymore. They go through the motions of everyday life without a shred of joy. The outlook seems bleak. So when Charles meets Lucinda --- sexy, shapely Lucinda with legs up to there --- he dreams of escape into Lucinda's beautiful arms and not-unsubstantial charms. All of a sudden, he feels very lucky. It looks like life has seen fit to give him another turn at happiness.
As you read along, lulled into Charles's sense of blissful contentment, a nagging doubt grows all the while that it can't last. Let me tell you now, it doesn't. Things turn ugly --- utterly and extraordinarily ugly. Close on the heels of the new lovers' frenzied trysts come scenes so gruesome they slap you back to reality and beyond --- into the depths of what I imagine as Hell --- with seemingly no way out. Charles is catapulted from the height of heady infatuation into a dire situation, then into a desperate situation, then farther into a totally hopeless situation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kim on February 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Wow, what a book! It was a REAL thriller! Just when I thought I had it all figured out - whammo - another twist in the story. I Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a suspensful, well-written novel. I had to force myself not to skip paragraphs because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next! There aren't too many books around like that.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
James Siegel has created a novel with shock value as its vantage point -- and I mean that in a good way. This fast-paced, engrossing and gripping thriller will have you turning the pages onto the late hours of the night.

Charles Schine lives quite an ordinary, if perfunctory, life. However, things haven't been going so well as of late. His white-collar position as creative director at an advertising agency never fails to stress him out, his daughter's childhood illness has him in a state of turmoil, and his marriage has fizzled out. But in a twist of fate he meets a beautiful stranger on a late morning train ride to Manhattan. Little had he known that meeting said woman would change the course of his life in ways he'd never envisaged...
There are some rather gruesome scenes in this novel. At first I thought some of the scenes were an attempt to shock the reader, but as the story progressed I realized that those scenes were essential, for they emphasize the ongoing terror the protagonist encounters throughout the novel. The narrative is excellent and the characterization is precise. I take one point off because the dialogue is resonant to that of a suspenseful film at times. Sometimes I got the impression that Mr. Siegel leaned the novel toward notable film script material. Other than that, Derailed is one of the most entertaining and gripping thrillers I've read in quite a while. Highly recommended...
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