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Hunting Down Amanda Paperback – August 31, 2000


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The Amazon Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The inventive and audacious Andrew Klavan never covers the same ground twice, and his latest psychological thriller is about as far as you can get from his previous bestsellers, True Crime and The Uncanny.

What all his books have in common is a growing assurance as you turn the first few pages that you're in good, honorable hands--that the author won't trick you shamelessly or go off on some tedious tangent. So, without losing a beat, a book that begins with a horrible plane explosion that rains down fire over a Massachusetts village can shift seamlessly into a jazz musician's hunt for his lost love and an executive hit man's search for a little girl.

When that plane crashes over the small coastal town of Hunnicut (in a scene probably better not read during or just before a flight of your own), 5-year-old Amanda Dodson--"a roundish little mixed-race girl with a quiet, thoughtful manner"--escapes from her babysitter's burning house and wanders into the woods. That's where her young mother, Carol, who works as a cocktail waitress (and does occasional sexual favors for customers), finds her after an agonizing search. With Amanda is one of the plane's passengers, apparently brought back to life by the girl's formidable healing abilities. "Now they'll come after her!" Carol Dodson cries, before fleeing with the child to New York City.

In Manhattan, she has a brief encounter with a grieving saxophone genius named Lonnie Blake. Captivated by her resemblance to his late wife, Blake tries to find Carol again, but he is not the only one hunting down Carol and Amanda. Others want to capture the little girl to exploit her amazing healing powers for profit.

In lesser hands, these ingredients might add up to nothing more than a shameless potboiler, but Klavan has powers of his own--a magic touch that humanizes even the smallest characters and makes them a part of our own world. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

1999 may be Klavan's breakout year: the film version of his novel True Crime, starring Clint Eastwood, was a hit, and Morrow is backing his immensely exciting new novel with a major promo campaign. Any breakout will be past due. Admirers of Klavan thrillers acknowledged (Don't Say a Word, etc.) and pseudonymous (as Keith Peterson, The Scarred Man, etc.) know that this author at his best bows to no one for whiplash plotting and page-whirling suspense. He's at his best here. The novel opens full-tilt, with a rain of flesh and "liquid fire" on a small town in Massachusetts. Into the ground-level conflagration caused by the plane explosion walks a little girl. Her mother, Carol Dodson, chases after her and finds her in the arms of a man staggering through the fire, who hands the girl to Carol. "Oh God," Carol says in a moment of clarity whose significance is revealed only later, "now they'll come after her." And a team of villains does, with shocking fierceness, alerted to Amanda's location by the incident and headed by one Edmund Winter, a killer as stone-cold as his name and dispatched by a multinational corporation with a lethalAif a bit too incredibleAinterest in both little Amanda and the man at the crash site. Fighting to save the girl are several equally desperate characters, including her mother, now on the run, willing to do anything, including selling her body, for her daughter; Lonnie Blake, a soul-blasted jazz musician looking for a reason to live; and an embittered lit professor stricken with cancer. Related in trim, athletic prose, the novel unfolds around New England and New York City as an extended, twisty chase, breathtaking but seriously deepened by its fallible heroes' varied struggles for redemption. The ending is a kick in the solar plexus but feels just right: this is a thriller with smarts equal to its ultra-slick style. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour; rights sold in the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Holland and Japan.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751528676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751528671
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,091,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writer of America's Edgar award five times and won twice. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including Don't Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas, True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Empire of Lies. He is currently writing a series of thrillers for young adults called The Homelanders. The first two novels in the series are The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home. Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal and his essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. His satiric video commentaries can be seen on PJTV.com.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on December 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Andrew Klavan wins my 2001 annual award for "Most Heart-Stopping Opener." Lordy! A bucolic summer scene in quaint Hunnicutt, MA and then,
"A white-hot light spilled wide across the face of heaven ---as if the sky had been obliterated by a blinding stain."
A commercial aircraft has exploded in mid-air over the town center, and it is raining metal, fire and body parts. A little girl runs amid the falling debris to find her mother. Thus we are introduced to Amanda who is the epicenter of a desperate search by the government and a pharmaceutical company (all bad guys). Why? It seems Amanda is able to "sparkle" people, to use her words. She can heal by touch. This gift is neither occult nor spiritual, but the result of drug experimentation. The catch? Amanda is depleted by her "sparkling," and if overused, will die. Her street-smart mother has been on the run for a year. The rest of the novel is the chase by the bad guys and the obsession for the mother, Carol by haunted musician, Lonnie.
The characterizations are expertly done and highly believable. Each player is etched on your mind. This is the strongest part of the book. However, the plot becomes so fantastic, it is almost ludicrous. I can suspend belief for maybe three impossible escapes, but not ten or twenty. The pace is pounding, and the ending is poignant; but I had left any believability behind. Grade B-
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this book delightful. Whether you are a Klavan fan (as I am) or simply a genre-shopper out for a great, fast read from an author you haven't read before, you should find something enjoyable in "Amanda." It sizzles along like the best thriller bestsellers, but it has the depth of character and plot that few summer potboilers ever achieve. Granted, like many thrillers it is necessary to suspend your disbelief occassionally, but one of Klavan's strengths is his ability to make you willingly suspend it. And maybe Klavan has written more seamlessly plotted novels in the past, but none as accessible. I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves Klavan's work, but also to fans of Thomas Harris, Jeffrey Deaver, early Dean Koontz or later Robert McCammon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wendell Henderson on January 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Over the holidays, I read some of Andrew Klavan's more recent novels so I went back and tried some of his earlier books. I'm a little late to the party on this one but thought I'd throw in my two cents worth.

My rating may be a little generous; I'd rather give the book between three and four stars. But overall it is a very exciting and interesting read. Some critics have complained about the lack of originality and I can't argue. We'll all read it before - the child with abnormal powers, the villains from some high-tech facility chasing her, the unlikely heroes to team up to thwart the villains - it's been done. But the real key is how well it's done; as they say, there are only so many plots.

With that, Klavan has written a very fast-paced and absorbing story. The characterizations are deeper than are usually found in this type of novel and the plot zips along. His writing is sometimes poetic and you buy the premise. I don't want to oversell this book but I have certainly read far worse.

Klavan is a good writer and those who really want to see how far he's progressed might want to try some of his recent novels featuring the characters of Weiss and Bishop. I suspect that if is your first encounter with Klavan, you'll want to try others; the guy can tell a good story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on December 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Five year old Amanda, has, by reason of a dose of chemicals, injected into her father before her birth, by a pharmaceutical company, the power to heal with a touch. This has made her the target of unscrupulous men who wish to sell her to the highest bidder, and have forced her mother Carol, an uneducated cocktail waitress, turned prostitute, to keep constantly on the run in an effort to outwit the baddies. Recently widowed saxophonist, Lonnie who is spiralling downwards in a haze of alcohol, literally bumps into Carol and saves her, at least temporarily, from the clutches of the crooks. They spend the night together, with Carol captivating Lonnie so much that he stalks her, putting himself in great danger from that moment on. After many adventures in which other innocent people are involved and ultimately killed, Carol, Lonnie and Amanda are helped to make a final run for freedom by a reformed crook, who sacrifices himself to save the child. I agree with other reviewers that it has the makings of a "made for cable" movie, but I found it to be an exciting read nevertheless!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Eighteen months have passed since his beloved wife was murdered. Musician Lonnie Blake still mourns his loss as if it was yesterday. He no longer cares about living. His life hits rock bottom until he meets Carol Dodson, who pleads with him to take her into his apartment in order to keep her temporarily safe from a stalker. She pretends to be a prostitute and acts the role of Lonnie's deceased spouse for a night. However, when the night ends, she vanishes and Lonnie remembers the passion that Carol, not his wife, aroused in him.
Carol is not a hooker as Lonnie thought. Instead, she worries over her five year old daughter Amanda, who has special healing powers that a pharmaceutical firm wants to own at any cost, including murder. Carol and Lonnie soon join forces trying to keep a special little girl, one who can heal cancer and raise the dead, safe from villains who want to exploit her for profit.
Anyone who has not read Andrew Klavan (see THE UNCANNY) is missing the works of one of the top thriller writers in the last few years. Mr. Klavan's current novel, HUNTING DOWN AMANDA, is a great work that starts with a bang, never lets up, and closes with an incredible climax. The plot twists and turns in a plausible, action-packed manner. Carol and Lonnie are a soulful couple seeking atonement for alleged sins they believe they committed. Amanda is a delight who revels in her power, even as she cannot understand the fuss. Though much darker than the best selling TRUE CRIME, HUNTING DOWN AMANDA will send readers hunting down the classical works of Mr. Klavan.

Harriet Klausner
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