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Land of the Living (French, Nicci) Hardcover – May 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: French, Nicci
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446531510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446531511
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,740,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A horrifying premise catalyzes this fast-paced, suspenseful thriller: A woman wakes up in a darkened room, bound, disoriented, unable to recall the recent past. She is terrorized and abused by a strange man who taunts her with the names of other victims. But for Abbie Devereaux, a 25-year-old Londoner, the nightmare really begins after she escapes. Recovering in a local hospital, she must confront the fact that no one believes her story. Her doctors think it's all a fantasy, "a cry for help." Det. Insp. Jack Cross can't find a crime scene. And when Abbie's well enough to go home, she discovers that her life-her job designing office interiors; her boyfriend, Terry; the flat they shared-has been destroyed, but she hasn't a clue as to how or why. Has she had a breakdown? Is she still in danger from the kidnapper? The bulk of the novel is about Abbie's inventive efforts to reconstruct her life and discover what really happened to her. French (Killing Me Softly) does a good job of making this unlikely scenario believable. But the larger authorial challenge is making Abbie, an average and unambitious young woman who has clearly made some bad choices in her life, into someone resourceful enough to solve the mystery. The book is psychologically astute about terror-Abbie's panic and bewilderment throughout her ordeal are rendered with precision-but her more basic motivations don't always ring true. Still, it's a suspenseful and harrowing tale, occasionally dipping into the truly gruesome, with powerful narrative drive.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Widely divergent in terms of plot, French's previous three stand-alone thrillers--Killing Me Softly (1999), Beneath the Skin (2000), and The Red Room (2001)--share a high level of suspense and three compelling heroines. Her latest, French's best work yet, adds another fascinating protagonist while managing to up the ante on suspense, generating a near-unbearable level of dramatic tension. Londoner Abbie Devereaux awakens to find herself injured, hooded, and bound, the captive of a psychotic man whom she cannot see. After a daring escape that almost kills her, she finds herself in the middle of a new nightmare: no one believes her story. Not even her friends. With no memory of the several days preceding her kidnapping, she lacks the ammunition to convince them. As Abbie goes about trying to reconstruct her lost week, she fights the panic of knowing that her unknown captor knows her. Painstakingly piecing together her life, Abbie tries desperately to figure out who kidnapped her--and why. Another brilliant effort by an author who never disappoints. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I love Nicci French books and this one's my favorite.
L. McFarlane
As the authorities question her credibility, she can't help but wonder if there is a connection between the facts she has forgotten and the kidnapping itself.
Laurel Whitehead
This is a wonderful story that kept me on edge until the very end.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nick G on May 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Abbie Deveraux is living a nightmare. She is tied down with a hood covering her head, and she has no idea where she is, or why she is there. Abbie can feel the presence of her captor, but never a word is spoken. Abbie knows her days are numbered as the kidnapper tells her the tale of abducting and killing his women. With nothing but fear in her heart, Abbie makes a quick decision and escapes.
Telling the police of her ordeal will not be her only problem as the police don't believe her. As Abbie listens to what the detectives have to say she realizes nothing is as it seems, and those that she thought were friends are not.
Set out to prove herself sane, and catch the madman who abducted her, Abbie begins a terrifying journey retracing all of her steps leading up to the day she disappeared. As things become stranger, and Abbie begins doubting her own sanity, she makes a shocking discovery, one that will change the way she feels about those she loved, and at the same time stop a killer hell bent on destroying her.
`Land Of The Living' is an interesting little thriller with lots of surprises. Major plot twists are found throughout this gripping tale of memory loss and obsession, and the pages will turn fast as you race to see what will happen next. Well written and filled with full-bodied characters, this novel rises above the norm in the psycho thriller category. Each chapter has a shock and a cliffhanger, and each cliffhanger will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Nicci French has written previous bestsellers, all of which were page-turners that had readers glued to their chairs. Now with `Land Of Living' she continues her streak of up-all-night reads with a book that is probably her best to date.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a harrowing tale of a young woman's worst nightmare come true. What a shivery pleasure it is, compulsively turning the pages of this thriller and thinking "just one more chapter"... Fearful of what the last page will reveal, I still keep reading, not nearly as brave as the heroine.
We first make the acquaintance of Abbie Devereaux when she is in a most extreme condition: her hands and feet are bound, there is a canvas bag over her head, a wire around her neck and a filthy gag in her mouth. But she perseveres, willing herself to survive this horrendous ordeal. Day by day, Abbie keeps her mind alert, imagining familiar images, anything not to lose hope, although she eventually starts to lose touch with reality, almost willing to die. Periodically tormented by her kidnapper, he sometimes leaves her alone for long periods. At an unexpected opportunity Abbie escapes, fleeing blindly into the night, sure her captor is but a breath behind. Finally, she sees a dim light. Collapsing, she wakes up in a hospital, police waiting to question her. Then comes the ultimate betrayal. No one believes her story.
There is no hard evidence for the police to track down Abbie's attacker and only her word for proof that anything happened at all. After a thorough examination, a clever therapist convinces the police that this incident is only a young woman's hysteria, a patient, in fact, prone to depression. Even Abbie's closest friends aren't sure whether or not she is telling the truth. Disheartened, Abbie is driven to prove the truth, haunted by nightmares and the knowledge that her would-be murderer is somewhere out there, waiting to finish the job. Danger stalks her every waking moment. Having cheated death, Abbie plumbs unexpected inner resources, unwilling to fail herself.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on May 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't wait to pick up Nicci French's new thriller -- and I wasn't let down. Land of the Living is French's best work since Beneath the Skin.
In Land of the Living, French introduces the reader to Abbie Devereaux -- a young woman held captive. Bound from top to bottom in the dark, she is only able to hear her kidnapper's sinister voice. To make matters worse, she has no recollection of the time in which she had been accosted. She is able to escape from her attacker's grasp, but her nightmare has just begun...

Will she be able to adjust to life after the aforementioned experience? Will be able to get her memory back? Will she be able to find her attacker? There are various twists in this powerful thriller. The climax is flooring.
Nicci French's descriptions of the terror the protagonist goes through are precise. I was able to feel the heroine's fear and hopelessness. I couldn't put this book down and was savoring the pages like an exquisite bottle of wine. Are you in the bargain for a gripping, intelligent thriller? I recommend this fine novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on April 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Out of all the Nicci French novels that I've read so far, "Land of the Living" is definitely my favourite. Suspenseful and fast paced, I stayed up all night in order to finish it -- it was definitely a book that was hard to put down.
I'm not going to summarise the plot too much because the story is a really a rather basic one and also because going into it too much may take away from the overall enjoyment of this really excellent book if you haven't read it yet. The novel opens with our heroine, Abbie Deveraux, coming to consciousness, only to realise that she's being held captive. Quickly she realises that her kidnapper is mad and that he will probably kill her once he's finished with her. But she is determined to survive. And when an opportunity presents itself, Abbie escapes. Her ordeal is now over. Or is it? She's lost her immediate short term memory, and has no idea as to what occurred in the days leading up to her kidnapping. On top of it all, she discovers to her shock and anger, that because that is no physical evidence to support her story, no one -- not the police, her NHS psychiatrist or her friends -- believes her story. Alone, Abbie is determined to piece together the past she has forgotten, and to find out why the kidnapper chose her. She also comes to the realisation that she needs to find the kidnapper before he finds her. Because she knows that he will come after her and that she has only herself to rely on...
"Land of a Living" was a really fantastic read. Brilliantly plotted, with some rather surprising plot twists and possessing a really compelling storyline, this really is a book that had me sitting at the edge of my seat -- metaphorically anyway. The 'action' unfolded smoothly and seamlessly and at a rather swift pace. I really cannot praise this book too much, and my recommendation is that if you're a mystery-suspense buff, then you really should read what is probably going to be the best suspenseful novel of the year.
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