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358 Reviews
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Talent, New Blood, A Roller Coaster Ride
I have to admit that I saw this book jacket and it alone scared me, so after reading the reviews here I decided to spend the money on the hardcover and try it. I was some of the best money that I ever spent. I was blown away by the stoyline and really began to feel for Andy. His characters were believable, scary as that may be, and the plot was think with suspense. I...
Published on February 23, 2004 by Mary Cochran

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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty events, unlikeable characters
I read and greatly enjoyed the author's book "Run," so I decided to give this one a try. Oh boy was that a mistake. Books with that rare combination of unlikeable characters and nauseating events are thankfully few and far between. The supposed 'hero' guy was an annoying idiot, who seemed to do everything wrong and counter to what a normal person would do. The bad guy...
Published on June 27, 2012 by RBG


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Talent, New Blood, A Roller Coaster Ride, February 23, 2004
By 
Mary Cochran (Gretna, LA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Desert Places (Hardcover)
I have to admit that I saw this book jacket and it alone scared me, so after reading the reviews here I decided to spend the money on the hardcover and try it. I was some of the best money that I ever spent. I was blown away by the stoyline and really began to feel for Andy. His characters were believable, scary as that may be, and the plot was think with suspense. I found myself reading huge chunks of the book at a time and it was a very fast read. Was it gory - yes - is it for everyone - no - BUT this is a well written book that has the potential to capture a huge following of fan waiting for the sequel. This book did not contain anything new in terms of violence or blood. The violence was second to a plot that was explosive. Give it a try - I think you will be a fan of this debut as well.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scared me to death!, February 5, 2004
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Thea M. Ryan (South Dakota, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Desert Places (Hardcover)
I hated it, but I couldn't quit reading it! This book was one of the scariest things I've read since Kiss the Girls. I can't wait to get it out of my house so I don't have to look at the creepy guy on the cover anymore. It's a book you're even afraid to put next to your bedside table. It has a life of its own. Darn scary book. If you like terror and fright, this is the book for you!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense, September 22, 2004
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This review is from: Desert Places (Hardcover)
Robert Frost's poem provides a title and an epigram to this engrossing first novel, the pulse pounding tale of an outwardly civilized man forced into acting in an uncivilized (to say the least) manner. That man is Andrew Thomas, best selling author of suspense novels with titles like Blue Murder and The Scorcher. Thomas lives the good life until the day he receives a letter in the mail, telling him that a woman's body has been buried on his property, a body soaked in the author';s blood. Confirming this sad fact, Thomas is forced to play his tormentor's twisted game, one which requires him to make a journey to Wyoming, where he ultimately must confront his own mortality, and question his morality and sanity. Thomas confronts a question most never have to face: just how far is he willing to go to survive? The answer is as disturbing to him as it will be to readers.

Desert Places is one of those books that you don't discuss in detail with those you recommend it to for fear of diminishing the impact the book will have on them. It's also the kind of book which induces those who have already read it to stand over the shoulder of current readers, asking, ""Did you get to the part where...?" Because of that, it is almost criminal to reveal further plot points. Suffice it to say that Crouch successfully manipulates plot elements previously explored in such classic thrillers as James Dickey's Deliverance and David Morrell's Long Lost, producing a novel whose intensity is sometimes almost too hard to take. Fast paced, surprising, at turns tragic and graphic, Desert Places will take readers to places that, given a choice, they'd probably avoid. Finding themselves in those places via Crouch's surprisingly accomplished prose, however, they can't help but linger a bit, looking over the grim landscape in morbid fascination.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty events, unlikeable characters, June 27, 2012
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RBG (Valencia, California United States) - See all my reviews
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I read and greatly enjoyed the author's book "Run," so I decided to give this one a try. Oh boy was that a mistake. Books with that rare combination of unlikeable characters and nauseating events are thankfully few and far between. The supposed 'hero' guy was an annoying idiot, who seemed to do everything wrong and counter to what a normal person would do. The bad guy was such a monumental asshat that, when I was a quarter of the way into the book, I was dispairing at the thought of having to read about this guy for 3 times more pages. You know a book's in trouble if you're praying the antagonist will get killed shortly after being introduced to him. I've read my share of books with nasty, iredeamable villians, but they were used as antagonists to likeable heroes, and the fun was seeing how the heroes could overcome the villian. In this book I really wish a meteor would've fallen out of the sky and killed both of them. The only remotely sympathedic characters meet horrible ends early on, and the poor reader is left with no one but these two vile characters to read about for half the book. Unless you're really into lots and lots of graphic torture and you don't care about interesting (or at leas sympathedic) characters, give this a pass.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely feels like a debut, but great potential in Crouch, May 10, 2004
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This review is from: Desert Places (Hardcover)
Blake Crouch, Desert Places (St. Martin's, 2003)
Is it me, or does the name "Blake Crouch" just scream nom de plume to you? One almost wonders if Mr. Crouch hasn't cooked up a little semi-autobiographical tale here. But that aside...
Desert Places, Blake Crouch's debut novel, shows us an author with a great grasp of character, pacing, and plot, and perhaps not enough of an editing team. The novel roars to a start when successful thriller novelist Andrew Thomas gets an anonymous piece of mail telling him a body's buried on his property, his blood is on the victim, his fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and he has twenty-four hours to verify all this and call the real killer. This done, said real killer leads him into a rather ingenious trap, from which Mr. Thomas must escape in the most interesting of ways.
And so far, so good. We've covered about half the novel. There's also another really strong section at the end. But, just like Saving Private Ryan, you get stuck with this middle portion that drags. It's the shortest part of the novel, but it's also the most interminable. To Crouch's credit, he does wait for long, tedious setup until after the reader is already hooked, but it's still there, and could probably have been compressed into fewer pages than it actually took.
That said, the stronger parts of this novel are well worth reading, and they go by extremely quickly. That it dips in quality halfway through can be gotten past, if you're expecting it. Definitely one to check out, and an author to keep an eye on. *** ˝
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slasher, not terror, December 18, 2012
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Based on the writeup, I expected a tense, wrap-your-mind-around-it thriller, instead got a gory slash 'em up piece of tripe. Rather nauseating, no redemming entertainment or satisfaction in reading this. Wish I could return it!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too gross for me, February 14, 2012
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I read "Run" by Blake Crouch first and really enjoyed it so I bought Desert Places. I like a good thriller but this was way too gross for me. When the main character had to chop up a women with a knife or be killed himself I had to stop reading the book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put this one down, April 25, 2005
This book grabbed me in the first few pages and took me on a roller-coaster ride clear to the end. It's not often a book starts with such a bang and is able to maintain the momemtum to the last page. Desert Places is such a book.

Andrew, a famous horror author gets a letter in the mail instructing him to call the phone number included in the letter by a certain time period. If he fails to comply, the police will find a dead body,buried on his property, murdered with a knife from Andrew kitchen and Andrews blood on the body. Thus starts the ride of Andrews life. Will Andrew survive events that are about to take place, will he trade places with the killer, or will he lose his life in an attempt to stop the madness?

This book was exciting, suspenseful, and frightening. Without giving all the fun away, let's just say that Andrew soon discovers exactly what a human being is capable of under the right circumstances.

Blake Crouch has created two characters who you find yourself cheering for and hating. He keeps you on the edge of your seat by keeping the action moving and fresh. The story never bogs down. Crouch avoids the trap of becoming repetitive and boring. He gets right to the meat of the story.

This is a book that is well worth your time. Dare to enter the desert with Andrew and be prepared for the ride of your life.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave the lights on, January 23, 2004
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This review is from: Desert Places (Hardcover)
Relaxing on the deck of his secluded, wood-bounded home after a long day at the keyboard, successful author Andrew Thomas goes through his mail--a phone bill and a stampless envelope which he suspects may be fan mail, delivered by hand. It isn't. The envelope contains a typewritten letter, only one paragraph long: "There is a body buried on your property," he reads, "covered in your blood." Thomas is directed to dig up the mouldering corpse and retrieve something from the dead woman's pocket. If he doesn't, whoever wrote the letter will feed information to the police that incriminates Thomas. A bad end to a productive day, but things get much worse for our hero from here.

Desert Places starts with a bang and doesn't let up for the next hundred-odd pages, at which point there is a section break and the reader can start breathing again, check his or her pulse, and assess the likelihood that the closet door is ajar because a psychopath is hiding behind it with a serated knife. (Probably not, but you never know.) The book is gruesome in parts. If you don't like the occasional brain-splattered windshield in your reading, as well as cruelty toward men, women, children, and animals, you may not want to pick this one up. But if you do open the book--if only to get that scary-looking guy on the cover to stop staring at you--you won't be able to put it down.

Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sordid crud!, February 8, 2012
This review is from: Desert Places: A Novel of Terror (Paperback)
You may not be interested in my review since I didn't read more than about one fourth of it. The story's sick plot involves torturous killings and the attempt to apprentice a relative into the insanity. The only merit up to the point of discarding the book was the villain's conclusion that writers of such stuff are not too far removed from the insane who do such stuff. This should be good material for wanna-be slashers and the insane who have no problem killing family and friends. Can you imagine the mental process a writer would go through in the development of a story like this. Not healthy, to say the least.
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Desert Places: A Novel of Terror
Desert Places: A Novel of Terror by Blake Crouch (Paperback - February 3, 2011)
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