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In the Forest of Harm Hardcover – January 2, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801286
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,429,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Atlanta's hottest assistant district attorney, Mary Crow (she's half Cherokee), has just made it six-for-six in murder convictions with her defeat of Calhoun "Handsome Cal" Whitman, and is heading home to Little Jump Off, North Carolina, for a hiking vacation with pals Alexandra McCrimmon and Joan Marchetti. It's been 12 years since the unresolved rape and murder of Mary's mother, and she's looking forward to making her first trip back home in the company of friends. But though it begins well, it soon turns very, very bad:
Joan felt the shadow first. A small interstice of darkness fell across the bright sunlight that bathed her face. A cloud, she thought. But the chill did not move. Reluctantly she opened her eyes to see what was obstructing the light that had just a moment ago warmed her so deliciously. A colossus stood above her. Its face blocked the sun, and she could see nothing but a black shape haloed with a corona of blinding light.
What fills the remaining pages is nothing short of harrowing: stalking, chasing, raping, kidnapping, and murder at the hands of not one, but two very different but equally dangerous madmen. One is a deranged mountain man who's been haunting the hills for years, and another's motivation is darker and more personal.

What Sallie Bissell has done so well with in In the Forest of Harm might have easily turned into a Deliverance-meets-"Charlie's Angels" farce in the hands of a lesser writer. Indeed, while there are echoes of Dickey's Deliverance and strains of Sharyn McCrumb's She Walks These Hills --near poetic phrasing, ringing depictions of a majestic Southern wilderness, crisp characterizations, bow-taut suspense--Bissell's words are surely her own. All suspense novels should be this good; that this one is a debut novel is a little scary. --Michael Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

An assistant DA returns to the North Carolina mountain country of her youth in Bissell's hair-raising camping-trip-gone-wrong debut thriller. Half-Cherokee Mary Crow, Atlanta's hottest young prosecutor, has just won her sixth murder case when she decides to take her two best friends, Joan and Alex, along with her on a hiking vacation near Little Jump Off, N.C. She has hidden motives for revisiting her one-horse hometown: her mother was raped and murdered 12 years ago in the country store she managed, and Mary needs to come to terms with her death. But death still haunts the cursed countryside, and the three women find themselves in perilous situations, fighting for their lives with both a crazed mountain man and the obsessed brother of the Atlanta murderer, bent on revenge. When Alex is spirited away and Joan is raped, Mary must muster the strength to match wits with two deranged killers, calling upon her old tracking skills and deep knowledge of the forest. Meanwhile, her high school sweetheart, Jonathan Walkingstick, realizes something has gone wrong, and heads after the women up the mountain. Gory scenes abound in this punched-up female version of Deliverance, but Bissell is particularly good in describing how Alex, Joan and Mary's friendship sustains them and is strengthened over the course of their harrowing adventures. Even though the three women pop up cartoonishly each time they are felled, and their pursuers are supernaturally crafty, the tale compels with its depiction of desperate camaraderie and descriptions of gorgeous mountain scenery. A sequel seems likely, and the title is a natural for film or TV adaptation. Agents, Robbie Anna Hare and Ron Goldfarb. Rights sold in Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. (Jan. 2)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This is one of those "can't put down until you finish" books!
Marjorie E. Phillips
There isn't anything particularly surprising about this book and you'll see what's coming ahead of time.
Kcorn
Some of the characters were jokes and there was simply too much unnecessary violence.
S. Hoover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Russo on March 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I read suspense fiction ravenously, and admit I didn't expect much from what appeared to be a simple story. Boy was I wrong! This was intelligently written and brave. Where other authors might shy away from open brutality, this author jumped right in, shocking the reader into rapt attention. I couldn't wait to read what would happen next! The interplay between the characters was wonderful, and not at all "coddling," as many women-oriented novels are. There haven't been many books in the past few years that made me want to sleep with the lights on...this was certainly one of them.
I anxiously await Sallie Bissell's next book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rochelle Dian on January 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Sallie Bissell has just become my favorite new fiction author. Her book, In the Forest of Harm, captured my attention from the very first paragraph. She leads the reader on a spellbinding journey while creating characters that are compelling, believable and of the heart. Entering the world of her main character, Mary Crow, we meet a purposeful and determined woman who needs no rescue by a white knight, rather looks within herself to find her strength. She follows a trecherous path into the unknown, because she must, because it could have been no other way. Sallie Bissels ranks with Tami Hoag in creating a witty and courageous female protagonist. I can't wait to read more and hope there is a follow-up book arriving soon!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 16, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I felt compelled to finish this one (if only to review it adequately) but there were times I wanted to put it down because of the excessive, graphic violence in several places- including a rape scene with such detail that I truly became sick to my stomach. Some readers, however, might consider this a recommendation for this book, depending on their tastes (not me). I'm able to stomach violence if there are other redeeming factors to a book, but this one didn't have strong, compelling characters or other qualities to balance the violence.
The story itself focuses on Mary Crow, a woman who lost her mother to a violent murder and rape and whose entire life has been shaped by that traumatic event, eventually leading her into a life as a lawyer, prosecuting criminals. After trying several especially grueling cases in a row, she decides to take a vacation with two of her best friends. But two men (one with vengence on his mind against Mary, the other a deranged bad guy living in the woods) end up making the camping trip more terrifying than fun.
There isn't anything particularly surprising about this book and you'll see what's coming ahead of time. If your interest is held by violence and you don't care much about characters seeming real, you won't mind reading this one - and your interest will be held. But I felt less than satisfied.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michelle K. Westenbroek on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't believe this is a debut novel -- I can't wait for more books by Sallie Bissell.
In The Forest of Harm is a thriller that also celebrates the courage and determination of women. My favorite part is when Mary is watching her friends walk away from her and she thinks of them as her "War Women". This is not a case of "Mary Crow saves the day". It is a team effort between her and her two friends, friends that have never been in the strange woods before that Mary knows so well. The twists and turns of the plot are intruiging. The whole idea of the women being attacked by a madman, and then tracking that madman to save their friend, totally unaware that a very different kind of madman is tracking them -- it made for incredibly suspenseful reading. I don't agree that with other reviewers who say that it showed more victimization of women. I thought it showed the triumph of women and their grit and determination despite being faced with a situation they never expected to encounter in their wildest dreams. As to the reviewer who said that one of the murders was left "unsolved", I think that is because Bissell is saving that for one of her upcoming books about DA Mary Crow.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia B. Perkins on February 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Talk about not being able to put a book down! This suspense thriller by Ms. Bissell is the quintessential example of just that. When I began reading the book at the sedate hour of 8:00 PM, who would have thought that at 2 bells AM I would still be at it. Slow reader, maybe, but her descriptions of the forest and the relationships of the winsome trio of ladies makes you want to linger at times to enjoy the language. Recommendation....READ IT!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on August 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of a camping trip gone wrong in the mountains on the North Carolina Tennessee border. Mary Crow and her two friends Alex and Joan are getting away from it all for the weekend by returning to Mary's childhood home. No sooner do they reach their destination than they're attacked by a deranged backwoodsman who kidnaps one of the women. The story then takes on a hunted becomes the hunter, who in turn is also being hunted, line, for while Mary is chasing the kidnapper, she is also being stalked by another man who is intent on exacting a revenge of his own.
This is Sallie Bissell's debut novel and it is one of the most suspenseful books I have read in a long time. As the story was nearing the climax, I actually realised that I was holding my breath and reading it out of the corner of my eye (a bit like not wanting to watch the scary parts of a movie, I suppose). This book is highly recommended, no I'll go further than that, it's one of the best suspense novels I've read in the last 5 years (there, now you've got to read it, don't you).
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