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Somebody Else's Music: A Gregor Demarkian Novel (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries Book 18) Kindle Edition

34 customer reviews

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Length: 487 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Edgar and Anthony award finalist Haddam combines two horror movie cliches the Friends Who Share a Terrible Secret and the Nasty Clique in High School with crisp character development and a roadrunner-swift plot in her latest puzzle (after 2001's True Believers) to feature her Armenian-American sleuth. Liz Tolliver author, CNN panelist, fianc‚e of a rock star returns home to Hollman, Pa., the Velveeta beginnings of her now Brie life. Known as "Betsy Wetsy" back in high school, Liz was the butt of a group of teenaged girls who make Carrie's classmates look like Rosie O'Donnell; they locked her in an outhouse with 22 snakes the same evening another high school senior had his throat slit. The toxic passions surrounding both incidents revive after three decades. Haddam's cutting between the viewpoints of Liz's six female tormentors is at times confusing, and their hatred of Liz can seem over-the-top: after 30 years, they all but spit when they see her. Demarkian takes a long time to enter the plot, but once in Hollman, his skills and celebrity shine light on the town's dark secrets. "Every school class had a target. It was just the way the world worked," one of the cool crowd believes. Demarkian muses: "The `popular' people are `popular' by virtue of being envied and hated by ninety-nine percent of the people they go to school with. Does anybody but me think that's very strange?" Haddam movingly explores what that means for our lives past, present and future and how that happens and why.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A famous woman writer with a rock-star lover returns to the hometown where as a nerdy teenager she was traumatized by a nearby, still unsolved murder. The rock star asks FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit chief Gregor Demarkian (True Believers) to solve this case and more. Solid.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1079 KB
  • Print Length: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003JH8MKG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,982 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mary Featherston on June 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure how long Jane Haddam can continue surpassing herself, but she's done it this time. I was convinced that True Believers was her best, but then I read Somebody Else's Music.
Gregor Demarkian is pulled into a 30-year old murder by an acquaintance of Bennis'. What he discovers is that the murder, and the other events of the evening when it occurred, still color current events and everyday life for those who were involved.
Liz Toliver, the acquaintance, is going back to her hometown after a 30-year absence to take care of her aging mother. It seems that her schoolmates from all those years ago have been awaiting her reappearance, and it's clear that for quite a few of them, high school never really ended.
High school is a strange phenomenon in the US, and Somebody Else's Music brings us inside that strangeness, and lets us see just how devastating it can be for some students. The way the murders play out, and the way the interactions between the characters play out, are rooted in their high school behavior, 32 years later. The characters are real and precisely drawn, and when, finally, Liz Toliver overcomes her past and decides to live NOW, it was all I could do not to stand up and cheer.
If you're interested in reading an excellent mystery, beautifully written, read Somebody Else's Music. If you want to read a character study about a woman coming to terms with her past and rising above it, read Somebody Else's Music. And if you want to read what is, after all, an indictment of the foolishness that we Americans indulge ourselves in in high school, read Somebody Else's Music.
It's all those things.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately, most of the people in Jane Haddam's new book do - all too well. Gregor Demarkian must leave Cavanaugh Street in Philadelphia for a small country town in the Pennsylvania hills (cell phones don't work there because of the mountains). Although 30 years has passed since Betsy Toliver was locked in an outhouse with snakes, neither she nor the perpetrators of this indignity have forgetten - or forgiven. Jane Haddam creates a world of adolescence never outgrown that quite frankly gave me the creeps. The psychological horror unfolds page by page and just when you think you realize what's going on, the plot takes another twist. I loved seeing Demarkian so out of his element. I would have liked more of Bennis, though.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on November 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Successful writer and CNN celebrity Liz Toliver has never really gotten over her traumatic high school days as "Betsy Wetsy," the bookish, socially awkward butt of an almost over-the-top collection of nasty "popular" girls. This experience peaked during a bizarre night when Liz was nailed into a park outhouse with 22 snakes (she was well known to be phobic) while a classmate was murdered nearby. Now made even more famous by her coupling with a heart-throb rock star, Liz has to go "home" after 30 years to attend to her ill mother, dogged by the tabloid press which has her pegged for the killing.

Enter Haddam's Armenian-American veteran sleuth, Gregor Demarkian, retired chief of the FBI's behavioral science unit, hired by Liz's famous fiancé to look into the old, unsolved murder. The story shifts point of view among all these characters and only a writer of Haddam's wit and skill ("True Believers," "Skeleton Key") could carry off a story with such relentless venal and despicable types at its core - the brainless prom queen turned balding grotesque, the vindictive Machiavellian ring leader mired in sour alcoholism, the likely-to-succeed girl turned principal from hell, the faithful battered wife, the fat lady and the girl who got everything she wanted.

Demarkian, a confirmed city person whose ethnic experience leaves him baffled and bemused by the insidious small-town mindset, gives the story perspective and Liz, whose success has not relieved her myriad vulnerabilities and insecurities, gives it heart. Haddam's exploration of a cultural subset which finds its peak in high school triumphs is fiendishly believable and the resolution is aptly horrifying. A stylish and wicked success.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading this book left a nasty taste in my mouth. Not because I experienced the horrors the protagonist did in her youth, but because I was saddened to see that the author (presumably well out of high school) still had not managed to transcend the horrors that (presumably) happened to her in high school.

If you enjoy movies where the 90-pound weakling triumphs over all the meanies, plus gets to face them down and make a big inspirational speech, you should like this book. If instead, you understand that "real life" is a lot more complex than it's painted here, that some former bullies do eventually grow up to live happy, law-abiding lives, and that not every nerd gets to play out a four star revenge fantasy on his/her tormentors, you probably won't.
The characters - except for the two detectives who are pretty minor to the story - are all garishly drawn cartoons. Old antagonists just don't gain some weight and marry losers - they become obese and marry psychopaths who bash in their heads at the least provocation. The protagonist herself doesn't just get to be a published author - she gets to hobnob with celebrities plus is married to a famous singer. Wow! Aren't those meanies sorry they picked on her now!
The plot is likely to leave you scratching your head. A potentially powerful storyline - the prog's mom, with whom she has a antagonistic relationship, has Alzheimer's and is dying - is ignored. Mom is merely a device to help get the heroine back to town. The book closes with a scene from the heroine's son, Mark, about to get lucky. Mark is a minor character, too, and even people who like this book probably won't care overmuch what happens to him.
The book would have been stronger had it selected one or two bullies and focused on them v. Liz.
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