Buy Used
$4.17
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Breathtaker Hardcover – November 11, 2003


See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$0.99 $0.01

Mother's Day Gift Ideas in Books
Browse delectable cookbooks, notable biographies, sweet tales for little ones, and more to find the perfect gift for mom. Learn more
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Edition edition (November 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446531391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446531399
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blanchard's gripping second thriller follows a smalltown police chief's pursuit of a serial killer who strikes only during tornadoes, but the "Debris Killer" is only one of the highlights of this fast-moving shocker, which also features the keen characterizations and fine atmospherics of the author's first thriller, Darkness Peering. Charlie Grover, Blanchard's sympathetic hero, lives in Promise, Okla., deep in "Tornado Alley." Recently widowed, Charlie is the physically and emotionally scarred survivor of a childhood fire that killed his mother and sister, and the father of a sweet 16-year-old daughter enchanted by a teenage storm-chaser ("the kind of troubled youth who gave troubled youths a bad name"). After Promise is hit by a severe tornado, Charlie discovers three bodies in a house with only minor damage. Their deaths are particularly gruesome-mother, father and daughter have all been impaled by flying debris; the father is "stuck like a pin cushion"-and Charlie quickly realizes that this is not the work of a storm. The bodies display defensive wounds and, worse, the killer's "signature": each has had a tooth extracted and replaced with another tooth. Charlie seeks the help of spunky scientist Willa Bellman, who introduces him to the art of storm-chasing ("heroin for the heartland") and slowly reawakens his heart. As tornado season comes on, more victims are discovered, and Charlie begins to suspect someone very close to him, before the murderer leads him on a final terrifying chase that will have readers gasping. Blanchard makes a bold move by linking her villain to tornadoes-each such powerful forces of destruction and chaos-and while it's a little far-fetched, it pays off in this dark depiction of environmental and human turmoil.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Promise, Oklahoma, may not be much, but it is ground zero for storm chasers, an eccentric mix of meteorologists, amateur scientists, and plain-old crazies who stalk tornadoes like kids stalk ice-cream trucks. Police chief Charlie Grover is assessing the damage from a recent storm when he discovers the Pepper family. Husband, wife, and teenage daughter all killed--presumably storm victims, but Grover suspects a serial killer among the storm chasers. In the background is widower Grover's struggle with single parenthood and his new romance with a scientist fascinated by violent storms. The first two-thirds of the novel are excellent as Grover sifts through forensic evidence and desperately tries to profile a killer who hides among the chaos of tornados or may even have his killing rage released by the storms. The extended conclusion screams "big-budget movie" (rights have already been sold to a major studio) and runs counter to the moody thoughtfulness of the rest of the book. On balance, it's a well-crafted thriller, but it could have been better. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

A completely implausible plot with dull characters.
Tracy L.
If it weren't for this, I'd probably give it 4 or even 5 stars, but I couldn't get over it.
Christy M
It is very well-written, and the character development is well crafted.
S. Schwartz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By jdoheny on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After reading Alice Blanchard's maiden effort, "Darkness Peering" -- a haunting masterpiece of suspense -- I was wary of getting my hopes up for her next effort. All I can say is "Wow!" This book dazzles from start to finish. With its textured characters, nuanced prose, suprising plot twists and brilliant premise, this book is destined for the best seller lists. Ignore all the story rehashings in the reviews. Come to this book with fresh eyes and you will not be disappointed. And be sure to read it before Hollywood screws it up in a few years.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By S. Gould VINE VOICE on December 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'The Breathtaker' by Alice Blanchard is so well written that I'm not sure whether I enjoyed the plot, the charachters or the descriptions of the town and the storms most. Together they create one of the most original mysteries I've read in many years.
Charlie Grover, recently widowed police chief in a small midwest town, is the victim of a childhood fire that left him scarred both physically and psychologically. He is doing his best to help his feisty teenage daughter after the recent death of his wife from cancer but his long hours at work are taking their toll on their relationship. When a devastating tornado sweeps through the town Charlie discovers that three murders have been committed under cover of the tornado. Additional research convinces Charlie that there are previous murders that have been committed by this dangerously derranged killer. He seeks the help of Willa Bellman, a tornado researcher and part of a group of local storm chasers, to whom he has had an attraction in the past. Together they must find the culprit before the next tornado hits and he finds his next victims.
This story succeds on many levels. It is informative, beautifully written, exciting and suspenseful. Along with 'Darkness Peering' it puts Blanchard at the top of my list of favorite mystery writers.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mark on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was a great book. The plot is really excellent and all the characters I found to be interesting. Also, didn't figure out the villain and was totally surprised when the author reveals who it is. Good tech talk with the tornado chasers and it's the kind of book where you actually learn something while being entertained. I look forward to more books by this author.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Promise, Oklahoma Police Chief Charlie Glover knows the danger of an F-3 (Fujita Scale) twister having lived in Tornado Alley all his life. Death and destruction are a normal pattern of a tornado of that strength. So when one that severe hits his jurisdiction, Charlie is prepared for the worst. However, what he and his staff find at the Pepper home makes no sense. The outside of the house remains standing as if nothing touched it. Inside the home is the work of a diabolical killer, who used the latest nasty storm to disguise three brutal murders made up to look like a twister somehow got into the house.
Charlie immediately noticed the abrasions on the arms and hands of the victims. These injuries look like someone trying to fend off an attack. Later the medical examiner informs Charlie that only a maniac would have done this. The culprit transplanted someone else's tooth into each of the dead victims. Successive storms result in more victims with the eerier additional tooth implanted in their mouths. Charlie continues to investigate a psychopath with an obsession and a professional knowledge of tornadoes.
Fans will appreciate this exciting police procedural serial killer thriller. The story line is action packed and the key cast members, especially Charlie, his teenage daughter, his romantic interest, and his employees are a solid cast. The key characters remain the tornados that have a life of their own yet the depth of rage does not come across as with recent movies or even compared with the humorous twister that transported Dorothy out of Oz. Still readers obtain a powerful storm related thriller inside a strong cat and mouse who-done-it.
Harriet Klausner
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Just when you thought it was safe to hide in the basement during a natural disaster. Ms. Blanchard takes suspense to a level unseen in years. Another whirlwind level 5 performance. Can't wait to see the movie.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real page turner, I couldn't put it down. It has such great detail you feel like you're storm chasing. You never see this level of writng with such an intriguing plot. The characters are so believable they come to life before your eyes. Read it, it will make you want to take a trip through tornado alley.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By "ciindy-lou" on February 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I usually don't take the time to do this, but it is such a great read. It is so gripping and thrilling that I couldn't put it down. It's not only a page turner but well written as well.. I highly recommend it. I haven't been this entranced since "The Firm."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By BBSalvatore on January 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Breathtaker was absolutely gripping! It was as much an education on the secret world of storm chasers as it was a captivating tale. I particularly enjoyed how well Blanchard developed the characters, and knitted the forensics together. Bravo!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.