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Still Life: A Novel Hardcover – March 24, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Casey Marshall has it all: a successful interior-design business; a handsome, loving husband; wonderful friends; and a boatload of family money at her disposal. But just as she’s contemplating starting a family, she’s the victim of a hit-and-run accident that leaves her in a coma. But she’s not completely out of it, so she’s a witness to everything that happens in her hospital room. But is that so bad? Isn’t it everyone’s dream to be a fly on the wall, to hear what might be said at our funerals? Even though Casey is privy to everyone’s “private” remarks and conversations as they visit, she feels trapped and helpless, especially when it becomes abundantly clear that the incident with the car was no accident. Her frustration mounts as her sister, the wayward but bighearted Drew, becomes a suspect, along with everyone close to her. While not narrated in first person, the action revolves around Casey’s experiences and perceptions. Fielding makes the most of this intriguing premise without succumbing to gimmicky plot tricks. The moment that Casey solves her own attempted murder is truly riveting, and the anxiety she feels as she tries to avoid the would-be murderer’s completion of his task is palpable. A heart-pounding mainstream thriller. --Mary Frances Wilkens

Review

“Fielding is a master of anticipation and knows how to create a labyrinth of tension, never providing an exit until the very last page.” — The Globe and Mail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416585273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416585275
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? Unfortunately for wealthy, beautiful and happily married Casey Marshall she has become that proverbial fly. After being hit by a van at 50 mph and breaking nearly every bone in her body she is left in a coma. The police suspect foul play and since this is Joy Fielding of course there's foul play. Casey cannot move her body and cannot open her eyes. Imagine how terrifying that must be. Trapped! But Casey can hear. She can hear everything. Her two best friends, her troubled younger sister, and her adoring husband come in and out of her hospital room for months. Conversations, arguments and confessions are open for Casey's ears. Between visits, Casey spends her time remembering childhood moments with her dysfunctional family and many nannies, as well as, how she met her best friends and her husband. The stories are both touching and sad. As Casey struggles to open her eyes and make contact with the world the attempted killer becomes clear to the reader. I was shocked by the revelation. The suspense in this book is sometimes too much. I was literally on the edge of my seat. I wanted to scream "Wake up now!" The ending was a little disappointing. I wanted more of a confrontation between the attempted killer and victim. Overall, loved it! Great suspense.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Here is yet another Fielding novel, after Charley's Web: A Novel that has not lived up to my expectations. I've been quite disappointed in the past several books by an author whose novels I used to automatically purchase. One of the publisher reviews called Still Life "a heart-pounding mainstream thriller"" - I'm not sure what book with that title the person was referring to, but it wasn't this one.

In still another tired "damsel in distress" tale, this one features Casey Marshall (typical stunning rich talented young woman of contemporary romance fiction with a wealthy, handsome lawyer husband) who has the misfortune of being the victim of a hit and run accident. Premise: was it really an accident or was it attempted murder?

The story really never gets much out of the starting gate. During most of the book, Casey lies in a bed in the hospital or at her home - completely motionless and without any ability to see or interact with the characters that gather and talk around her bed. (As a nurse I've often been told that persons in coma can hear and that they could possibly understand what is happening around them although there is a lot of speculation as to whether or not that is true since the only cases that provide evidence are the ones where the person eventually wakes up and then can related their personal experience and tell whether or not they were aware during their coma state.) Regardless of the medical accuracy, I just made myself suspend any disbelief at the description of Casey's injuries and just read the book discounting the science.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you like Cosmo magazine, soap operas or cheesy romance books with unrealistic characters...you'll find something to like about this book. If you like realistic characters with depth and genuine personality, you might want to pass on this one. I almost stopped reading it after the first few chapters because of how one-dimensional the characters were. But I carried on and the pace did pick up some and mid-book I was thinking well, it's not that bad. Even though the dialogue and plot were still highly unlikely, at least the plot kept me guessing a little. But towards the end it just started to nosedive. At the end I rolled my eyes and was already looking for a new book to read that would hopefully leave me feeling more satisfied than this one did.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As you probably know from the product description, this is the story of a woman who is in a coma after a car accident that, we soon learn, was not really an accident. She can hear people talking around her but otherwise can't see or move. In this way she can try to figure out who tried to kill her (as people either don't realize that she can understand them, or don't care since they are planning to finish killing her anyway).

It's a good story idea, but the book is a bit too lightweight for my taste. The characters are kind of one dimensional and spend too much time talking about money and clothes. A bit hard for me to identify with.

It gets somewhat better after the protagonist learns who tried to kill her, and slowly regains the ability to move. There is then a suspenseful race: can she save herself before the villain returns to finish the job?

However I was hoping for something a little more complex. The villain could have been less purely evil. Even better, there could have been more ambiguity and confusion in the protagonist's mind as to what she is really hearing as opposed to what she is dreaming or hearing on TV, with everything then getting more or less cleared up at the end in a series of subtle revelations. (I'm thinking in the direction of the movie Mulholland Drive here.) This could have led to a much more interesting book, although it would have been a lot harder to write and wouldn't sell so many copies.

Anyway, this book is good for a quick, amusing read, if one is either tired from reading more challenging material, or in a high distraction environment.
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