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Freezing Hardcover – April 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

In her first thriller, The Last Girl, London barrister Penelope Evans created a memorable monster--a landlord who would do anything to keep his young, female tenants from leaving--and earned herself strong praise from the likes of Ruth Rendell and Penelope Fitzgerald. In her second book, Evans gives us an even more original central character: Stewart Park, an odd, ugly, very innocent, and ultimately most sympathetic young man who works as a morgue photographer. He becomes obsessed with the frozen body of a fragile blonde drowning victim: "They must have rolled her onto the bank. River police. Everyday sort of work for them, people in the water. But not usually so recent. They would have taken one look at her and tried everything-- mouth to mouth, heart massage, volts of electric--everything short of shaking the life back into her.... She was beautiful. Is it all right to say that? That is what she was--beautiful. Her mouth was wide, and despite all those kisses on the river bank, unimpressed. You could trace every vein in her eyelids. There was even a faint hint of color in her cheeks. The river had done no more than wet her and take her breath away. So why not put her back in the river, and maybe the breath will return to her?" His fascination with the dead girl causes Park to put himself at considerable risk by trying to find out who she was and how she died. And Evans has such a sure grasp on the sadly mundane details of this outwardly bizarre life that we're with him every step of the way. --Dick Adler

From Publishers Weekly

Evans is a young London writer and lawyer with a distinct knack for macabre chills. Her new book, after The Last Girl (1997), takes as its improbable hero narrator Stewart Park, an abject stutterer of weird appearance who lives in a fantasy world of his own and works as a photographer in a morgue. Into the morgue one cold night comes the body of a lovely young woman drowned in the Thames, and Stewart, obsessed with the image of her frozen beauty, resolves to find out who she is and what happened to her. He has plenty of problems of his own in one of those gothic slum households beloved of contemporary English writers: his aging father is an eccentric who may also be a child molester; his angry sister gravitates to bullying men who mistreat her two appealing small sons; and his only comfort seems to be a computer game he has devised. Stewart's search for the dead girl's identity breaks him out of his fantasy shell but also places him in terrible dangerAand, in a frightful climactic moment, forces him to come to terms with the specter that has haunted his own unhappy family. Evans's grasp of Stewart's macabre world is sure, and his strange workmates at the morgue are wonderfully characterized. It is only in the real-life machinations that led to the drowned girl's death and in the remorseless pursuit of Stewart by some rather dimly motivated thugs that the plot machinery gets a little creaky. Still, for its gripping atmosphere and a truly original protagonist, Evans's book is a winner.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569471215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569471210
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,814,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Having read The Last Girl, I couldn't wait to read another Penelope Evans book. She has a unique style of writing and her quirky and creepy characters send chills down your spine. This book is even more compelling and strange than The Last Girl!
In Freezing, Stuart Park is a 28-year-old photographer at a London morgue. When he's not working, he spends his days in front of his computer playing a heroic character in a game. He also makes sure that his nosy and eccentric father doesn't go near his bedroom. His "life," however, changes the moment he sets eyes on one of the corpses at the morgue -- a beautiful and unidentified drowning victim. There are many strange twists and turns in the story as he tries to find out who she was and why she died.
This haunting psychological thriller is not for the faint at heart. But if you love a well-written, quirky and clever thriller, then I strongly suggest that you read it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Annabelle Kumar on September 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Freezing is original, compelling, interesting, quirky, humorous, intriguing but not morbid or dark. The writing is sensational, description an absolute triumph, not too wordy, using suggestion rather than statement. A great manipulation of the potentially disasterous subject - the best book I have ever read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book scores well for its originality in its plot and character. Stewart Park, the unconventional type of central character in this book, has all his best intentions hidden behind a physically unattractive front. Just one thought, would he have chosen a different approach to conclude his own story if he had not been so obsessed with Rachel's?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
You have read the concise court facts about a child abuse case, but in what social landscape can such terrible things flourish?
This book exposes the sinister and comic social lives of misfits. On the backdrop of misunderstangings and prejudice, secrets and confidentialities a tragic tail is spun. Immortal and biblical themes emerge in strange and distorted shape as the reader is drawn into the thoughts and deeds of the misanthropic cast. The dreadful truth behind the death of a beautiful young girl is slowly and confusingly revealed through the obsessive mind of one of the characters. The reader is drawn so insidiously into the lives of the characters, one lives their petty obsessions and secret guilt, that the reader too becomes implicated in the net of hatred and dependance that binds their lives.
Do read this book, but make sure the bath water is hot as you near the last page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By on August 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am always looking for the interesting, offbeat and original. This novel qualifies on all counts!
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