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The High Flyer (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – November 27, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (November 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345439481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345439482
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #821,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"When I first saw my temporary secretary it never occurred to me to flirt with him." The bemused confidence and upended assumption of this first sentence from The High Flyer, by Susan Howatch, reveal a great deal about the character who speaks it and the shape of this novel as a whole. The narrator, Carter Graham, is a successful London lawyer, a "high flyer" whose thoroughly secular plan for a perfect life (clothes, car, kids, etc.) is proceeding quite punctually, thanks to her strong sense of entitlement and her talent for social manipulation. The events that follow, however, undermine Carter's confident assumptions regarding the inner lives of the people around her. Carter meets and marries another high flyer, a charming business titan named Kim. Slowly, Carter learns of Kim's involvement in the occult, his Nazi past, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of his former wife. As the mysteries of Kim's past are revealed to Carter, Kim's personality undergoes a deep and demonic transformation. Carter, terrified, seeks shelter at a Christian healing center, where a cast of clerics and lay people help Carter reconstruct a life for herself, and a theological and psychological framework that makes some sense of the blindness and betrayal that destroyed her life with Kim. "[C]reation's not about efficiency," explains one character, "it's about love. It's about shedding blood, sweat and tears to make the thing you care about come right. It's about enduring the shadow side of creation and using it so that in the end everything can be brought into the light." The novel's greatest strength is its suspenseful plotting, which calls to mind (thanks in part to the narrator's frequent allusions to) the films of Alfred Hitchcock. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Devoted readers of Howatch's Starbridge series (Glamorous Powers; Glittering Images; Absolute Truths) will be delighted to encounter recurring characters Nicholas Darrow and Lewis Hall in her new psychological-spiritual thriller. Darrow and Hall call upon their ecclesiastical, paranormal and New Age therapeutic expertise in healing damaged souls when success-driven London lawyer Carter Graham is suddenly confronted with phenomena that test the coping abilities of her liberated, modern mind. The quintessential "high flyer," Carter has broken through the glass ceiling and become a partner in the prestigious law firm of Curtis, Towers. Recently married to Kim Betz, a handsome banker almost 15 years her senior, Carter lives in the "right" apartment complex, drives a Porsche and is thinking of having a baby. However, Kim's hidden past (involvement with Nazis, the occult, group sex and an unsavory psychic healer named Mrs. Mayfield) threatens Carter's carefully orchestrated life plan. The mysterious death of Kim's ex-wife and the vision of her ghost send Carter to the edge of sanity and force her to confront demons from her past that she has successfully avoided until now. Two-thirds into the book, the pace of the narrative slows down so the spiritual experts can expound their modern dogma, but it soon hurtles the reader toward a tepid conclusion. In spite of these lulls, the work is entertaining and intellectually stimulating, providing copious amounts of information supporting links between ESP, psychology and modern religious thought. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I found this book to be contrived and overwritten--the story could have been told in half the space.
Carol Biederman
The book had intricate characters, richly detailed, central characters were sympathetic and the tension between the main characters was palpable.
Shubhra Aurita Roy
Howatch tackles a very diffcult problem, an understanding of the depths and devestations wrought by evil people.
L. Evans Roth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My eagerly-awaited copy of The High Flier now lies on the living room floor, tempting me to read it all over again. As usual, once I started this latest novel by Susan Howatch, I couldn't bear to put it down!
Set in 1990, this book is the latest installment in the Starbridge series and once again we see Alice, Nick Darrow, and the other denizens of the Healing Centre at St. Benet's church. This time, however, the story is told from the point of view of Ms. Carter Graham, a 35-year-old lawyer who nearly "has it all."
Carter's life is following her plan perfectly, and her most recent success is her marriage to Kim, a fellow lawyer-barracuda. Things aren't what they seem to be, though, and Carter finds herself sorely in need of the healing powers of Nick Darrow and crew.
As with all of Howatch's books, the emotional wrenching and soul-searching is so powerful that I found myself experiencing it on a personal level. Once again, the Ultimate Reality is explored and experienced, however reluctantly.
And now I know that I will be forced to wait several more years until Ms. Howatch produces another novel. My name will be on the waiting list!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Laura G. Carter on July 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once again Ms. Howatch, masterful author of her 6-volume Starbridge series and other novels such as "The Rich Are Different" and "Wheel of Fortune", weaves a thrilling plot and fascinating new characters together in her latest novel, "The High Flyer". I won't reiterate the plot, as this Amazon.com page will detail all one needs to know very well without my help. However, I will say that - once again - I'm having difficult tearing myself away from the book. I want to take this work slowly yet, as is always the case with Ms. Howatch, I find I can't stop once I start a chapter or a section. I'm happy to report the re-appearance (still in vital and believable form) of Nicholas Darrow, Lewis Hall and Alice Fletcher from the latter volumes of the Starbridge series. Seeing them again felt like a reunion with old friends. They may be familiar characters but they are as fresh as newcomers Carter Graham, her mysterious husband, Kim, and the intriguing and ever-so-sexy Eric Tucker. Being a writer myself, I know how difficult it is to create characters - then recycle them - as believable entities. With "The High Flyer" - as with all of Ms. Howatch's novels - I just stand back and admire and pray that someday my talents will equal one-tenth the writing skills she displays, once again, so well in this novel. Additionally, her Starbridge series and "The High Flyer" continue to bring me a spiritual depth of story on a realistic, rational and intellectual plane that I get nowhere else, either in novels or organised religion or philosophical debate. Her characters' lives are blown apart, only to come together again through ministry, faith and a continuing belief in the elasticity of the human spirit. As with all her other works, this one is one you shouldn't miss. (My only regret is having to wait 3-4 years between fixes!)
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Shirlee Whitcomb on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
High Flyer is Susan Howach at her best and beyond. The first half of this novel is so fast paced it's a roller coaster ride of surprise after surprise as the drama unfolds. Just when you think you've figured out the story's direction, it turns on a dime and takes a whole new twist. You won't be able to anticipate this compelling tale. It's a contemporary, psychological thriller, a romance, and a mystery involving the supernatural, the church, sex and big business in a brilliant mix that grips the reader right from the start. The second half of the book is paced just a bit slower holding the reader captive in a reflective study that brings unexpected clarity to what you think you already understood. A compelling read! Old familiar characters and fascinating new ones keeps your interest from start to finish.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Pitt-payne on July 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a novel about spiritual warfare.
The protagonists are a sinister New Age practitioner called Mrs. Mayfield, and two flawed, eccentric Anglican priests. Caught in the middle are the narrator, a ferocious thirtysomething career woman called Carter Graham, and her husband Kim.
The first half of the book is a fast-moving adventure story, with the plot being driven by revelations about Kim's past (involving Mrs. Mayfield, and his first wife, Sophie). For much of the second half the pace slows and more serious themes emerge. Carter moves from her earlier indifference to Christianity towards a tentative engagement. There is much discussion of the nature of evil.
The underlying theology is Anglican (roughly equates to Episcopalian), liberal but clearly supernaturalist, and greatly informed by Jung.
I enjoyed this book. I haven't read any of Susan Howatch's novels before, and I am sure I shall read others. It's hard to find a writer to compare her with (some have apparently suggested Trollope, which I think is just batty). To me she reads like a modern and much more populist version of Charles Williams (novelist from the 1930s and 1940s and friend of C.S. Lewis).
I had some reservations. I felt that a reader who just wanted a good adventure story and didn't have any interest in theology or psychology would find parts of the book tedious and would want to skip them. I also found the writing uneven. Some of the dialogue clunks. Carter's idiosyncratic vocabulary (e.g. "tiger-thumpers" for sexist men who try to sabotage high-flying women) became tiresome after a while. And the social context of the characters is not always happily observed. E.g.
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