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Desert Places (Andrew Z. Thomas/Luther Kite Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 289 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"An ingenious, diabolical debut that calls into question all our easy moral assumptions. Desert Places is a genuine thriller that pulses with adrenaline from start to finish. Blake Crouch is one of the most exciting new writers I've read in years."
- Val McDermid, author of The Last Temptation

"Blake Crouch's terrific but harrowing first novel, Desert Places, is deeply disturbing and troubling but hard to put down. In the end, Mr. Crouch's book reminded me of a whacked out combination of Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy."
- Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season

"A harrowing, compulsively readable novel, Desert Places throws a spotlight on humans' ability to administer--and withstand--psychological and physical pain. Crouch's taunt, muscular prose and expert plotting make this one tough to set down. You'll read it in a sitting--I certainly did."
- Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Kill Clause

"Gritty, sometimes gruesome, and always gripping. Blake Crouch looks into the dark places inside our heads - you may not always like what you see there, but you won't be able to tear yourself away. An exciting, heartpounding debut."
- Tony Strong, author of The Death Pit

"Crouch shows real talent"
- Publishers Weekly

"Desert Places displays the careful craftsmanship of a talented newcomer to the mystery genre. The interplay between the protagonist and the villain is crisp and clever, and the plot development is relentless. Can't wait for the sequel!"
- Bookpage

"A disturbing tale . . . not for the easily frightened or those with weak stomachs. Crouch writes vivid and horrific scenes that will linger in the consciousness long after the book is read. [His] carefully crafted characters make the story immediate, intense and thoroughly believable."
- Denver Post

"Blake Crouch has every intention of putting the screaming oogies in your nightmares. . . . He takes you on a twisting ride that contains enough depravity and graphic violence to send Stephen King to the liquor cabinet for a stiff one."
- Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)

"The fastest, meanest read I've had in quite a while. Blake Crouch clamps on and propels you forward, even though you're not at all sure you want to go into the disturbing places where he's taking you. Those looking for the next Hannibal might have a good time, and Crouch proves to be a writer who can get your attention."
- The Capital Times (Milwaukee, WI)

"Desert Places starts with a bang and doesn't let up. . . you won't be able to put it down."
- Midwest Book Review

"This book is dark and a bit deranged, and I loved every minute of it. Reading it is like driving in the rain at 90 MPH with your eyes closed, sheer adrenaline. Write this name down, Blake Crouch is here to stay."
- Mystery One Bookstore

"This first novel by up-and-coming new talent Blake Crouch will set you on the edge of your chair. . . Crouch will handcuff you, blindfold you, throw you in the trunk of a car, and drag you kicking and screaming through a story so intense, so gruesome, and so emotionally packed, that you will walk away stunned - and with a choice to make. You will have to decide, in your own heart, whether Crouch is a super-talented writer with an immense imagination, or one sick puppy. Read the story and you will come to a deeper understanding of that."
- Relish, Winston-Salem Journal

"[Crouch's] writing is sick, and I mean that in the very best way. If Desert Places is any indication of what we can expect from Crouch in the future, be prepared to see his name on the bestseller lists. And just as his protagonist has had books turned into movies, Crouch may soon have a producer knocking at his door."
- Ottawa Sun (Canada)

"A complex, cleverly constructed novel of motive. . . Crouch is an author to watch."
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada)

"This is an odd, creepy and disturbing book. And I mean that as a compliment."
- The Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)

"Crouch maintains a roller-coaster pace, with twists that leave you blinking."
- Charlotte Observer

"Fast-paced. . . vivid scenes. . . the story is so good. . . that even readers who aren't drawn to psychological cat-and-mouse game plots won't be able to put it down."
- Durango Telegraph

"Twisted. . . surprises around every turn. . . don't climb in if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, might be pregnant, or are under four feet tall."
- Iredell Citizen

"Will scare the bejeepers out of you, but you'll love it anyway. Surprises lurk on every page of this thriller, so here's a reminder: Keep breathing."
- Working Mother Magazine

From the Back Cover

Caution: You've Been Warned-Read At Your Own Risk!

One tranquil May evening in North Carolina, semi-famous novelist Andrew Thomas strolls down his long gravel drive to check his mailbox. Inside is a note:

"Greetings. There is a body buried on your property, covered in your blood. The unfortunate young lady's name is Rita Jones. In her jeans pocket, you'll find a slip of paper with a phone number on it. You have one day to call that number. If I have not heard from you by 8 P.M. tomorrow, the police department will receive an anonymous phone call. I'll tell them where Rita Jones is buried, how you killed her, and where the murder weapon can be found. (I do believe a paring knife is missing from your kitchen.)"

Andrew Thomas thinks this message is just a mischievous prank. He's wrong-very, very wrong. And soon he's going to be very, very scared.

"Terrific...harrowing...a whacked out combination of Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy."--Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season

"A harrowing, compulsively readable novel." -Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Kill Clause

Product Details

  • File Size: 553 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312286449
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: September 28, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00452V71A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,391 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Mary Cochran on February 23, 2004
Format: 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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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 22, 2004
Format: 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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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Thea M. Ryan on February 5, 2004
Format: 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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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By RBG on June 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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. *** ½
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