Customer Reviews: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: A Novel
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is very rare that I so thoroughly enjoy a book that features characters that are so thoroughly unlikeable. The Execution of Noa P Singleton has all the makings of a Lifetime movie, or a Jodi Picoult novel. Rest assured, it is neither. It is a captivating story of guilt, betrayal, bad choices, and deception that is much darker than I expected. The author masterfully spins a story filled with suspense and enough twists and turns that by the end, I literally felt stunned and more than a bit breathless as I contemplated the women at the center of this story, and a life filled with so many lies it made my head spin.

I can honestly say that I never felt much sympathy for the main character; however I was compelled to keep reading simply because I had to find out what she was hiding. The author takes on a concept that is not all that unique; fans of crime fiction have no doubt read many stories of inmates on death row. I will state that none that I have read can compare to this novels examination of guilt and innocence, both legally and morally. That the author manages to do this so effectively without ever sacrificing what is truly an excellent narrative makes this a five star read that can't be missed.

The two women at the center of this novel are complete, finely drawn characters that I fear are now stuck in my head for good. I ponder Noa's choices and Marlene's blind arrogance as I think about what is easily the best thriller/mystery I've read all year. The Execution of Noa P Singleton is a must read for fans of literary or crime fiction.
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on July 12, 2013
I really wanted to like this book, but by the end all I was thinking was: HUH???!!! The story takes too long to kick off and you just don't like or care about anyone in the book. You should at least have a little sympathy for the main character, but she is just a cypher and her actions and behaviors are head scratching. I also found it very hard to believe that knowing what she knew she didn't fight harder for herself or at least tell what she knew. Very puzzling indeed. Skip it.
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on June 26, 2013
THE EXECUTION OF NOA P. SINGLETON has the kind of opening that truly hooks a reader - it's smart, it's intriguing, and it's clear that you're going to be in for an interesting ride. It's also the kind of opening chapter that really sets the tone and gives you a clear idea of Silver's voice and style.

I should point out, though, that while the pacing of the story is quite fast, Silver has a very wordy way of writing. It's not bad, but I did find myself rereading sentences quite often for two particular reasons: 1. the description was so clever that I couldn't help myself and 2. on occasion I found myself lost in a particular sentence and had to read it again to visualize exactly what Silver was describing.

I am a fan of this kind of fiction, to be honest. The main character, in this case death row inmate Noa P. Singleton, isn't quite reliable. She's hiding things from everyone, including the reader. There are hints about this throughout almost every chapter, the kind of hints that will either drive you crazy or force you to stay up all night reading so you can find out what it is (or both!). And once you get into the heart of the story and begin to piece together some of the details that are being laid out, it becomes pretty impossible to stop reading for any reason at all.

Overall, THE EXECUTION OF NOA P. SINGLETON turned out to be a really good read and one that I definitely recommend if you're looking for something not quite straightforward in your fiction.
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VINE VOICEon July 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Getting to the real meat of the story takes to the very end, which in and of itself isn't always a terrible thing; in this story, though, it is a long, drawn-out journey filled with mostly unlikeable characters. Up until the end I found myself really wondering what the point of the story was. Am I supposed to side with this apathetic person who is on death row? Am I supposed to side with this crazy mother who has a painfully warped view of events and no acceptance of responsibility in the crime? Is this a social commentary on the justice system in America and the death penalty? The goal of this story is still a mystery to me in that I can't quite ferret out what the author wants me to take away from this narrative; really it just left me thinking, huh, so that's what happened. There is certainly an aspect of character study and human nature to this that I think readers who enjoy that sort of thing will like. The story unfolds slowly and bits and pieces of Noa and Marlene's history is revealed to the reader, which ultimately leads to the ending and you say, oh, now I get it. People who enjoy a slow story, filled more with character development than action or meaty story, will enjoy this more than folks who want something quick-paced. I wish there were something redeeming about any of the characters to make me care more about this story but in the end it left me slightly relieved I had finally finished it.
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on October 14, 2013
The story line was a good one. The book could have been a great one. HOWEVER the writing was just horrible. I finished it because I really wanted to know what happened. It was very difficult to read. Laborious in fact. The author had so much crap in the story it was ridiculous.
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on July 21, 2013
I love reading a books that allows you to be in someone's thoughts. This is that book. Noa P. Singleton thoughts still leaves you asking for more information. Once you are given answers you are left stunned with the outcome. The author Elizabeth L. Silver so eloquently delivers her words to create such a flawless picture. Marlene , Sarah's mother allows us to see her harsh exterior and yet her interior that is confused in her logic . The ending is classic and leaves you wanting the story to continue. I look forward to reading more books by this author. An absolute great read.
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on November 19, 2013
This passes for good writing?? If she has an MA in Creative Writing, I shudder to think what she would have written without an MA! The funny thing is that Pennsylvania hasn't executed any one since 1999. I don't know when or if a woman was executed in Pennsylvania and yet, 2 are executed in this book!
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VINE VOICEon September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an incredibly impressive debut novel - one that sucks you in from its very first pages. The titular character, Noa, is on Death Row in Pennsylvania. The book opens six months before her scheduled execution date when she receives a surprise visitor - a new lawyer, accompanied by the mother of the young woman whose death has placed Noa in her current cell. Noa narrates her story with literary references, high vocabulary and a sense of style seemingly at odds with her status as a college dropout.

Noa's life-story unfolds with each section ending with a letter to the deceased Sarah Dixon from her grieving mother. And as more and more of the pieces of that fateful day fall together, a very different (and surprising) story takes shape. I imagine that this would make quite the provocative choice for book clubs and discussion groups. So much so, that I can't wait for one of my own friends to read this so that I can talk about it! It is such an interesting, fast-paced read! It is a surprisingly powerful novel - and a gripping literary thriller. I am already looking forward to seeing what this talented author will follow up this exciting debut novel with! I hope the wait isn't too long!
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on November 15, 2013
Starting this book I had high expectations - the synopsis was good, the premise was wide open and I was ready for the best. The first quarter of the book was left to details of Noa's life , prior trial and prison. I did feel that this may have lasted a bit longer than was necessary ~~ background is good, but after a while you just want to move on with the story and get to the meat of the book. With that said, I do believe that this is Silver's first novel and all in all this was a minor flaw in an overall good book. The next half of the book dealt with Noa's crime and her imprisonment. This was never in question ~~ she was guilty ~~ and calmly awaiting her execution date. However in the last quarter of the book was when the plot thickened. This is the portion of the story that took me from 3 stars to 4 stars. For a new author I felt that the cause and effect elements and the number of surprises in this last portion were excellent. Things were not as they had appeared and twists just kept coming. Well worth the slow beginning to see it appear much differently as the story ends. This is an author that I will definately read again
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"The Execution of Noa P. Singleton" was an interesting read for a debut book by a new author. I read it in a single day, so it wasn't really a taxing read. It jumps around a bit in timeline and from person to person. In some cases, the description of a single event goes into such great detail that I forgot what started the page long paragraph. Given that it is a first book, some of that jumps and lengthy descriptions can be excused; however, it was what stayed with me when I finished the book.

For all of that, I never understood the motivation behind Noa or Marlene's actions so I was left still wondering - "why?" Why would Noa step in for her father? Why would Marlene manipulate people to do what they did and what was the purpose she thought she would accomplish? Why wasn't there someone, including Noa, who would stand up to her? It seemed as though Marlene had her way in all things and that no one in the world would expose her.

Because the book is a debut, I would recommend it as such. It isn't a happy book, so if you are looking for that, look elsewhere. It won't change anyone's opinion regarding capital punishment be cause we never understanding the "people" involved in the events. I will be interested to see future novels by Ms. Silver and see if she is able to grow into her potential talent as a writer.
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