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Innocence Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 334 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Leslie Stone was 13, her father took the law into his own hands to stop the rapist he believed responsible for the abductions of young girls in the peaceful town of Swifton Woods. The Nightingales, as the girls were known, have haunted Leslie ever since then, and when her daughter Molly's best friend goes missing, their ghosts return to remind her that she cannot solve Lydia's disappearance without revisiting the crimes of her childhood. Because Molly is the only witness to the events that occurred just before Lydia disappeared, she's only one who knows that the five boys charged with sexually assaulting her friend are innocent. When Molly is called to testify, Leslie realizes that she knows who's really guilty--and may have engineered Lydia's disappearance in order to reveal a horrifying truth. Novak tells the story in several voices--Leslie's, Molly's, Lydia's, and one of the boys on trial--which, while adding emotional texture to the novel, also make it needlessly complicated. But Leslie Stone is a memorable character with complex psychological underpinnings, which are masterfully realized and compel the reader's persistence. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Leslie Stone, private investigator, semi-estranged mother and wife, and bearer of a dreadful secret, nearly commits a murder in the first pages of this quiet, complicated thriller by Novak (Five Mile House; Ordinary Monsters). The scene serves well as an introduction to a woman literally haunted by the past: Leslie has visions of dead children, stemming from a series of 20-year-old child molestations whose ramifications ruined her father's reputation and effectively ended her childhood. Now events further threaten her precarious mental equilibrium, as she finds herself caught up in a different string of events, which mirror the earlier abductions. Lydia, once a friend of Leslie's own 13-year old, Molly, has grown up fast and loose. Sexually knowing, popular and wild, she disappears after a party at her house and, when she finally turns up, has been sexually abused. As the case and Molly's involvement in it become murkier, Leslie is forced to confront her own past in order to refigure her relationships with the members of her family-both living and long dead. The plot moves slowly and mostly without suspense-readers will guess the secrets long before they're revealed-but the three principal female characters (Leslie, Molly and Lydia) come vividly to life. The mystery takes second place to Novak's ability to describe the complexity of female relationships and the odd mixture of innocence and knowing, of childish simplicity and difficult secrecy, that characterizes girls on the cusp of adulthood-girls who are the real focus here.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 941 KB
  • Print Length: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (December 9, 2008)
  • Publication Date: December 9, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003Z6QLDG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,361 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Innocence by Karen Novak twists and turns its way into an impeccably written novel that won't let you go. I have been a fan of all of her books, but Innocence has become my favorite, bringing Leslie Stone back from her first, Five Mile House. But the books are their own, they really have no relationship to one another. This is not a sequel, this is one amazing piece of writing.

We follow Leslie Stone, semi estranged from her husband and two daughters, through her private investigator job searching for missing children, when her own daughter Molly wants to hire her. She returns home to Swifton and the story echoes her childhood and the abductions that took place the summer she was 12. The story is told through 4 different voices, Leslie's being the main and most visited, alternating to the summer of her 12th year. That summer is told in reverse, an absolutely fantastic way for us the reader to experience it. All around fabulous writing that I've grown to expect from Novak.

As cliche has it sounds, I couldn't put this book down. It deserves more than five stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An enjoyable, quirky crime story (within a story, within a...) about a complex juvenile sexual assault case, referred by a teenage friend of the victim, to her mother the detective, who can't sort out her own demons, because of her childhood secrets. Layers of shame, fear and confusion are relentlessy peeled away by the detective, helped and hindered by ghosts from her past.
As a primary care doctor who has seen hundreds of such women, two of their traits shine through in the characters in this novel: they are all incredibly damaged to varying degrees by their heartless and selfish abusers; but some women manage to push on ahead past the damage and succeed at something that matters to them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the incredible disjointed writing style that made this book hard to follow, I have never just quit reading a book. I am always curious enough just to see how it ends (and a little OCD about finishing what I start!). After finishing this book, oh how I lamented my OCD tendencies in that regard! The author alluded to so many mysterious nuances throughout the book, giving them significance that was just left dangling: the woman seeing dead victims, the fact that she's left her family, the lightening striking the tree, her father beating a man then dragging him away, the hidden baseball cap, the last victim being blindfolded, even the semi-presence of her sisters... what purpose did ANY of this serve to the book??? And yet she made it into a huge mystery that you believe will all be relevant at the end of the book, but then BAM! It's as if she gets bored of writing the book, and figures, "meh, what the hell, good enough" and sends it off to the publisher without ever finishing it. It honestly was THE WORST CONCLUSION EVER because there WAS no conclusion. None of those mysterious allusions had ANY relevance to the story and she never tied up ANY of the loose ends. I reitterate: WORST BOOK EVER. So sorry that I wasted my precious time reading this.
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Format: Hardcover
Innocence, the latest novel by author Karen Novak, is incredible. But even incredible fails to fully describe the story she has so skillfully woven into these pages. Using already well-formed characters from her previous novels, as well as other references to her acclaimed Five Mile House and Ordinary Monsters (and a cute satire on American reality TV), she tells the tale of a kidnapping in a small town with a past full of dark secrets. Time bends, perceptions change, innocence is lost.
This is no mere follow-up to Five Mile. This book goes above and beyond what Novak originally accomplished to surpass all expectations.
Innocence is an incredible book, the next and best (to date) work of Karen Novak, and if you miss out on it, you may regret it for the rest of your life.
"This is how it begins..."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very strange story that I don't know really what the ending meant. It left me hanging as to who the guilty party was. It kept my interest however.
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Format: Hardcover
I started this book on a Monday night and was busy teaching/preparing lesson plans all of Tuesday and Wednesday. My reward for my hard work was to finish reading "Innocence." I finished the book Thursday morning with my coffee!

At first the alternate realities and conflicts of both the adolescent girls and the main character (Leslie) kept me in suspense so that I could find all their problems resolved in the end. But the books deserves much more respect than that - as I soon realized. It is well-crafted, complex, and very in touch with reality as we know it. Doing the right thing is never more complex than when you are an adolescent with divided loyalties as both Leslie and her daughter illustrate. Leslie tells her father's (long overdue) story in the end, just as her daughter, Molly, reveals her own (and Lydias's) big "secrets". Or does she? Molly's story is forever evolving and we get the sense that even she doesn't know what is real or not. The complex layers of denial that Lydia's mother displays (toward her daughter's abuse by her step father) are very real. Reality is not black and white. This is also what Leslie struggles with - her fear that she is crazy - rather than accept that she "sees" things that other people do not. It is not whether she is crazy, it is whether she accepts what she sees ("nightingales"), interprets it as needed, and moves on.

I want the characters to live on in another book. We find the Nightingale murders "solved" just as Leslie becomes involved in solving yet another crime in the town of Swifton Woods. (ah, but maybe the Nightingale crimes are not solved after all) A girl can dream about a sequel....
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