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Speak Softly, She Can Hear: A Novel Hardcover – February 22, 2005

105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blurbed by Wally Lamb as "a sexy and suspenseful psychological thriller," Lewis's debut opens with shy, overweight New York City schoolgirl Carole Mason heading to a Vermont cabin, where she intends to lose her virginity to handsome but venal Eddie Lindbaeck. Soon after she does, Eddie's friend Rita shows up for a threesome. When a bout of rough sex leaves Rita dead, Eddie convinces the drunken Carole that she broke Rita's neck. Carole's best friend, Naomi, arrives at the cabin, and the three of them dump Rita's body in a snowdrift, swearing to never reveal what has happened. The reader knows (if Carole doesn't) that Eddie and Naomi will use this secret to make her life a living hell. Eddie demands that Carole give him stolen presents, extorts money from her and seduces her mother. Carole responds by leaving college and starting a new life as a waitress in Manhattan. Eddie finds her, and she runs again, and again, winding up in Vermont not far from where they buried Rita years before. Eddie and Naomi turn up and cause more trouble until a final confrontation settles the matter once and for all. There aren't many surprises, but this is well-written and gripping enough that readers will stay up late to see whether beleaguered, tortured Carole can free herself from the despicable Eddie.
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From Booklist

It was 1965 when shy, overweight Carole Mason was only 16 and her dreams of losing her virginity to the handsome college-dropout Eddie Lindbaeck turned into a nightmare she could never forget. Her prep-school friend, Naomi, set it all up--a cabin in the woods of Vermont and Eddie to do the deed. After too much alcohol and sex, Eddie invites a strange woman into the cabin. Carole remembers little of what happened except that by the end of the night, the stranger was dead, the body buried beneath the snow, and a secret was born, tying Eddie, Naomi, and Carole to each other forever. Over the years, Carole tries to escape the torment of that night--running away and hiding from Eddie and Naomi, but they always seem to find her. And now, 11 years later, the secret has unexpectedly bubbled to the surface, and Carole has to choose between the truth and running away again. Lewis, in her debut novel, tells an engrossing tale of an unlikely friendship, the burden of keeping secrets, and the insidiousness of lies. Carolyn Kubisz
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (February 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,231,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pam Lewis lives in Storrs, Connecticut with her explorer-adventurer husband, Rob Funk. She was born in Burbank, California to a pair of highly ambitious parents who moved the family every few years as her father sought greater responsibilities in the then-bourgeoning aviation industry.
The family finally settled in New York City for long enough for her to attend high school. She was a shy, observant girl, a little too tall too soon and only excelled at school when she finally set her sights on Stanford University and squeaked in on so-so grades. She married immediately after college, and, bucking the trend of feminism and a career, set about raising two magnificent children, Lukas and Joshua Casey who are now well into their adulthoods.
She worked at a motley assortment of jobs including Welcome Wagon lady, treasurer to a small corporation, reporter and swim instructor. When more serious money was required she wrote marketing copy for insurance companies in which the objective was to make the reader see his or her diminishing health and retirement benefits as a welcome change. During this time she wrote fiction furiously every morning, more as pleasure and a touch of therapy than with an eye to publication, which, at that point in her life, seemed unlikely. On the cusp of her 59th year, her first book was taken by Simon and Schuster, then a second and now, with the upcoming publication of A Young Wife, a third.

Visit my website at pamlewisonline.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. McEwan VINE VOICE on July 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I find myself staying up reading past my bedtime, it's a sure indicator that the book I'm holding is at least a 4 rating. The plot of this novel drew me in quickly, right from the first few pages, and the scenes and action moved along at a good pace through the book's end.

Without giving away the ending, let me say that the fate of the evil Eddie was highly satisfying and, while other reviewers' complaints about the heroine, Carole, do resonate with me, I did not ultimately find her tiresome. Rather, I liked watching her reach the boiling point and finally taking sweet revenge on Eddie for tormenting her all those years.

In some ways, this book reminds me of two others I enjoyed: The Secret History by Donna Tart and The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman, both of which tell stories of young people with dark secrets.

Tart's book is truly superior and a 5 all the way, but I can see how Lewis might eventually work up to writing of Tart's quality, especially given her talent for characterization. The heroine's hippie friend, Rachel, for instance, is so like women I knew in the 60s that I felt I almost knew her personally.

Speak Softly, She Can Hear is a very good debut novel that is worthy of your attention if you enjoy well-written suspense stories.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on February 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Carole Mason is a fat, unpopular teen at New York's prestigious Spence School, presented here as a nest of vipers a la MEAN GIRLS, who has one girlfriend, Naomi, a Park Avenue wild child with Paris Hilton appetites.

The year is 1965, at the brink of the sexual revolution, when Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick were bona fide celebrities of cafe society. Carole and Naomi start an innocent bet to see which of them will lost her virginity first to the attractive young actor, Eddie Lindbaeck, a boy will go down in thriller history as one of the most menacing villains since Sydney Greenstreet played Count Fosco in THE WOMAN IN WHITE. In a snowy ski camp in Stowe, Vermont, Carole stumbles into an awful trap and wakes up believing she has killed a local. The rest of the book develops her strategies for putting this murder behind her.

Like a heroine from Cornell Woolrich, Carole Mason is literally trapped by her past. Pam Lewis has a talent for suspense, and the book will keep you up all night trying to figure out how poor Carole will stay one step ahead of both the police and her savage "friends" Naomi and Eddie.

The story continues for years, through the summer of love in the Haight-Ashbury, to a Moosewood-like restaurant in the New England countryside in the 1970s. Actually I don't know why Ms. Lewis didn't set the novel at a more recent time, there's actually no reason why the book had to be set in the 1960s, and her anachronisms are sometimes grating. (Would a girl describe another girl as dressing "like Tricia Nixon" in 1965? I don't think so. Did young men snap, "Whatever," in 1975, or was that usage a byproduct of the Valley Girl-speak of the early 1980s?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Erin Brooks on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of a 16 year old girl who's made a terrible mistake, and has to live with it and pay for it for the next ten years of her life.

The story is well written with characters who stick with you. You follow the main character through her journey to try to let go of something that is bigger than her. It is a thriller but it also touches on some issues we can all relate to, like cliques and friends, lying when it'll make things worse, friendship, etc. It's scary all right, and Pam Lewis puts in enough twists and turns to make you want to keep on reading all night.

I really enjoyed that book a lot and would highly recommend it to anyone.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pamela A. Poddany VINE VOICE on August 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was glad to see mixed reviews on this book. It started out slow and stayed slow and then got even slooooooooooooower. The characters did not make sense and the plot was incomplete and dull.

Carole, the main character, really irritated me! Yes!, she was put in a horrible situation, Yes!, she was taken advantage of, Yes!, she was stalked but wow, the woman had no backbone or, it seemed to me, brains!

Why move back to the area where the crime took place? Why be sooo nice to Eddie and Naomi? Why not be tougher? Carole seemed to get her act together after she left college, taking on a new life, working hard, but then she seemed so wishy-washy. I guess if I was totally scared to death of two people and of the crime we had committed I wouldn't be so bold either, but she was just super ditzy and a pushover. Take charge, Carole, stand up for yourself.

And why not really go underground if it was so easy for Eddie and Naomi to keep finding her? It just was too blah!!!!!

Everything in this book just seemed shallow. It WAS a great idea for a book, but it just never got going. I don't know why I even finished it, I guess I just wanted to give it a chance.

Some people loved it, you may want to check it out. If you ask me though, I would say sorry, it's not worth your precious time.

Thanks -- Pam
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