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Pale Criminal [Kindle Edition]

Ray Harvey
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
You Save: $8.96 (69%)

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Book Description

An incomprehensible admission, a horrifying deed ... A secret with the power to destroy, and a superhuman father with beast-like brilliance ...

At age thirteen, five years after his mother's death, Joel Gasteneau is beaten so brutally by his father that he almost doesn't survive. Yet he makes himself live, his strength of will extraordinary even then, and he runs away from home.

Alone and comforted only by running and the bloodless beauty of math, he makes his own way, rising eventually to the Green Berets: an elite athlete who nevertheless cannot quite outdistance himself from the torments of his childhood.

Now, at thirty-three, consumed by doubt and a growing sense of hypochondria, he resolves at last to follow through on an idea he first thought of when he was a child: to seek out a piece of evidence that shows with certainty God's hand at work upon the earth. But in seeking this evidence, he's stricken by an enigmatic illness that almost kills him: and there, inside the fevered meat of his brain, he unearths a memory so chilling that his life is forever altered.

One of the most challenging novels of the last decade, Pale Criminal is at its core an inquiry into godless morality and human virtue, an exploration of how we live, part mystery story, part literary crime novel combing the surreal imagery of Nabokov with the psychological complexity of Dostoevsky -- a metaphysical thriller of mind-spinning intrigue and a philosophical odyssey into the most fundamental questions.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ray A. Harvey, novelist, essayist, editor, athlete, and bartender, son of Firman Charles Harvey (RIP) and his wife Cecilia, youngest of thirteen half brothers and half sisters, was born and raised in the small mining town of Ouray, Colorado. He matriculated at the University of Wyoming, which he attended on a track scholarship. He discovered Shakespeare when he was still a teenager and Ludwig von Mises when he was twenty-one. He is largely self-taught in the areas of literature, philosophy, and economics.

Product Details

  • File Size: 628 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DUGK5II
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book will stun you.

Not only because of the deft presentation of an intricate plot, but also because of the gorgeously evocative images whose description will both awe and disgust you.

PALE CRIMINAL introduces a family of three, smashed into pieces when the protagonist, Joel, is only a young boy. Beginning with the shocking death of his ingenious and loving mother, Joel, who is equally gifted, begins to unravel in a seemingly malevolent world, bereft of clarity and morality. His cold, indefatigable father achieves an omnipresence in Joel's life, in spite of the fact that Joel goes for years without seeing Him. The role of Joel's powerful and irascible father in this symbolic plot addresses the brutal supremacy of "blood" in a world bound by reason, and questions the very existence of a deity.

This creepy and unusual book will challenge you intellectually (lots of 50 cent words that will remind you of Nabokov), philosophically, polemically, and emotionally. There are truly gut-wrenching scenes in PALE CRIMINAL that will leave you verging on tears. There is also a wealth of masterfully executed description in this poignant book that will have the same effect. There is, however, no lack of wit and humor.

Openly inspired by Dostoevsky's masterpiece, DEMONS, this eerie book rivals the greats in all aspects and will stalk you throughout the day like a vivid dream...or nightmare.

Truly astounding. Enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Do the dead persist?" September 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The first time I read "Pale Criminal" I was gripped by the imagery created by Mr. Harvey. The setting is so vivid and unique to the American west that I was immediately delivered into Joel Gasteneau's world.

The second time through I hoped to squeeze out every last morsel of pleasure from this piece of art. This novel is like a great song or painting where you get more and more out of it with each experience. Something that went unnoticed upon first glance will reward the astute reader with layers of complexity and symbolism. One will tend to replay a conversation, poem, or action over and over again in their mind while contemplating their own understanding of reality, religion, and philosophy.

"Joel," he said, "Do you believe the dead persist?"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pale Criminal will take you on a journey. Be prepared to get swallowed into a novel of vivid imagination. Ray Harvey makes one ponder ones beliefs of religion and philosophy. Yet, his writing will let you escape to his world of creativity.

In the end, Ray Harvey makes it so crystal clear. Everything that exists is reality. Joel's missing piece to the puzzle.

Look forward to more stories from this author Ray Harvey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hauntingly lyrical September 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This work operates on multiple levels: philosophical, psychological, historical, theological and, most of all, lyrical. I'm still turning images over and over in my mind. It won't leave me alone.

The story is about an exceptionally driven man, former Green Beret Joel Gasteneau, a child runaway. He is solitary and dispossessed, a survivor, and early on in the story makes a resolution to "seek out evidence of God's hand at work upon the earth." Right after he makes this resolution, he's involved in a car accident from which he emerges apparently uninjured, but immediately afterward falls deathly ill in a motel room. He recovers from this sickness only to find himself confronted with something so shocking that it alters his life forever.

Gasteneau learns things about his past, about his father and mother (whom he barely knew), that threaten his entire vision of them, him, and of the world around him; and all the while, he's pursued by a dark, mysterious figure...

The story unfolds like an elaborate mystery, a surreal masque that reminded me at times of the Magus, at other times of Lost Highway, and still at other times of Bladerunner. The difference -- and what makes the story so baffling to me (and, I imagine, others) -- is that Ray Harvey seems to intentionally distort the good guys and the bad, so that you're never quite sure what's going on.

The plot blends the soul-searching dramas of Dostoyevsky with the imagery of Cormac McCarthy, both of whom have obviously influenced the author.

More and More unto the Perfect Day is one of the most unusual, surprising, and heartbreaking novels I've ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel for true readers September 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading Pale Criminal is an incredibly rich experience. After my first reading I found myself mentally chewing on its themes, pondering the philosophies it surfaces, and repeatedly considering the character's motivations and actions. That said, Pale Criminal is full of intrigue, deception, and yes, murder.

The story was compelling enough that I had to find out how it ended as fast as I could with my first reading. My second time through was as rewarding as repeated viewings of great movies like The Usual Suspects, Miller's Crossing, Fight Club, and The Royal Tenenbaums. I dig those moments where I realize "wow, I missed that the first time!" There were plenty of those in Pale Criminal.

What I loved about the text is that it offers up so much so succinctly. Here's an example, "A triangle of yesterday's cherry sat bleeding in the pie case." That imagery is so vivid . . . I can see the lumpy, gooey red just oozing out from between the pastry. There are landscape descriptions with a depth that remind me of Blood Meridian. There are believable character descriptions, like the veins in Joel Gasteneau's arm that depress with a touch but pop right back up, that anyone can relate to. Is the dialog occasionally a bit dense? Yes, yes it is, but that also lends a bit of credibility to the character's conversations because the stakes are so high.

And here's the thing, this is a reader's book. If you enjoy reading and consider yourself well read, you'll get many of the references and you'll enjoy the rich vocabulary like the "noctivagant creatures" which wander about the night. I had to look that one up, but thankfully that is one more word in my vocabulary tool chest. And there are more, lots more.

Pale Criminal is an outstanding read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Pale Criminal
I just couldn't get into this book. I always try to read at least 1/4 of a book before I give up. I didn't make it in the book, it was rambling and I couldn't figure out what was... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Karen E. Mcnabb
2.0 out of 5 stars Too drawn out.
This book was too hard to follow. There was never a clear plot and it bounced all over the place. I wouldn't recommend this book to Anyone.
Published 8 months ago by Tessa Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Schizophrenic Book
Somewhere in here are brilliant debates about good vs. evil, existence of God, free will, etc. Unfortunately, they are densely packed under long descriptive passages full of dense... Read more
Published 8 months ago by remark47
2.0 out of 5 stars Too philosophical
Initially I love the language and beautiful descriptions. unfortunately it became too heavy. The book is interesting but, too philosophical and heavy at times. Not for me.
Published 9 months ago by Dr Gogood
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
I can definitely say that I am very happy that I came across this author. The book description really had me curious but I had no idea that the story was going to play out in the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Manchester
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and Compelling Novel with a Memorable Protagonist
"Pale Criminal" is a lyrical book with philosophy at its heart; its themes are intellectual but not dry, and in Joseph (Joel) Gasteneau you have a vividly real character who will... Read more
Published 9 months ago by E. Lucas
2.0 out of 5 stars couldn't get into it
I just couldn't get into this book. I tried. I read several chapters. Just couldn't make any sense of it.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I could barley get past the first couple of chapters it was so boring and jumped around ... Maybe I'll try again later to read it when I'm really bored and have nothing else to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tena
2.0 out of 5 stars This is just not the kind of book I enjoy.
Some people may enjoy this but I am not one of them. Could not force myself to finish it. You will have to decide for yourself. I would call it the rantings of a mad man.
Published 9 months ago by JANET
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange and beautiful...
3.5 stars.

This is one of the strangest books I have ever read.
My mind is humming around the edges from the ethereal quality of the writing ... Read more
Published 10 months ago by lit912
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More About the Author

Ray A. Harvey, novelist, essayist, editor, athlete, and bartender, son of Firman Charles Harvey (RIP) and his wife Cecilia, youngest of thirteen half brothers and half sisters, was born and raised in the small mining town of Ouray, Colorado. He matriculated at the University of Wyoming, which he attended on a track scholarship. He discovered Shakespeare when he was still a teenager and Ludwig von Mises when he was twenty-one. He is largely self-taught in the areas of literature, philosophy, and economics.

His first novel, More and More unto the Perfect Day, is a literary crime novel of astronomical proportions, and that same book has recently been rewritten and its title updated to Pale Criminal: the Story of a Notorious Abomination.

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