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The Inquisitor: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Mark Allen Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

A spectacularly original thriller about a professional torturer who has a strict code, a mysterious past, and a dangerous conviction that he can save the life of an innocent child

Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And in his business--called "information retrieval" by its practitioners--that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market.

Geiger's clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Unlike most of his competitors, Geiger rarely sheds blood, but he does use a variety of techniques--some physical, many psychological--to push his subjects to a point where pain takes a backseat to fear. Because only then will they finally stop lying.

One of Geiger's rules is that he never works with children. So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, unwittingly brings in a client who demands that Geiger interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively. He rescues the boy from his captor, removes him to the safety of his New York City loft, and promises to protect him from further harm. But if Geiger and Harry cannot quickly discover why the client is so desperate to learn the boy's secret, they themselves will become the victims of an utterly ruthless adversary.

Mesmerizing and heart-in-your-throat compelling, The Inquisitor is a completely unique thriller that introduces both an unforgettable protagonist and a major new talent in Mark Allen Smith.

Editorial Reviews


"Transfixing… nerve-racking… [Smith] successfully transforms Geiger into a sympathetic hero."—The New York Times Book Review

"Remarkably assured . . . A swiftly paced narrative as disturbing as it is compelling."—The Washington Post

"This is one of the best and most engrossing debut novels I've read in years, and also one of the most original. Mark Allen Smith has created an unusual hero named Geiger whose occupation is torturing the truth out of people. Geiger is good at what he does, and so is Mr. Smith. The Inquisitor will keep you locked in a room for days."—Nelson DeMille

"Information retrieval takes on a sinister cast in Smith’s mesmerizing thriller debut… [Geiger is] a fascinating piece of work… This may be the most unusual and talked about thriller of the season."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[Geiger is] one of the most utterly distinctive protagonists in a recent thriller, and one of the most unexpectedly sympathetic… Smith invests his first novel with psychological dimensions you might expect in a third or fourth book… A breezy, involving thriller that handily overcomes any resistance to its grisly premise and leaves you hoping for the return of its oddly winning hero."—Kirkus (starred review)

"An adrenaline-fueled cat-and-mouse game… [Geiger] is a fascinating protagonist with a revealing backstory. A compelling debut thriller that blurs the lines between the good and bad guys."—Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Mark Allen Smith is a successful television and documentary film producer and screenwriter. The Inquisitor, featuring the controversial hero known only as  Geiger, is his first novel. Mark's experience investigating features for the acclaimed ABC-TV news magazine program, "20/20," planted the seed for his debut thriller when he was involved with a story dating from the 1970s about the remarkably brutal torture and murder of a 17-year-old in Paraguay, the last true dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.  He was further inspired to action by the shocking death of Lisa Steinberg at the abusive hands of her adoptive father; this event uncorked ongoing interest in the corrosive effect of physical and psychological pressure on children and other innocents.  His journey of research convinced him that the novel was his best way to bring his story to the largest possible audience.

A long-time resident of Westchester County, Mark Allen Smith now lives in New York City’s Harlem with his wife, Cathy, and a blended family of six children. He is presently working on the sequel to The Inquisitor, also featuring Geiger.

Product Details

  • File Size: 685 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; Reissue edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mark Allen Smith's debut thriller, The Truth Hurts... (aka, The Inquisitor, from Henry Holt and Company 2012) introduces Geiger, one of the most unique characters in fiction since the arrival of Robert Crais' Joe Pike and T. Jefferson Parker's Joe Trona. Geiger, like Pike and Trona, is a non-verbal protagonist whose to-the-point actions speak loudly about what's going on inside his head. He has no last name and no childhood, and arrives in New York with no memories, no emotions and almost no ability to feel pain. He falls into a job working for a mob boss and finds he has a knack for convincing people to tell their secrets, using his own method of carefully administered psychological and physical torture. His life bumps along nicely until he is asked to work on a twelve-year-old boy--and everything falls apart, including the subconscious walls that have protected Geiger from the truth of his past. As he his fleeing for his life, insistent upon protecting this child he barely knows, pieces of his past filter forward until the whole truth crashes down on him like a dump truck full of wet cement.

It quickly becomes apparent to the reader that the plot has less to do with Geiger's torture techniques (what he calls 'information retrieval') and more to do with the man's search for his own truth--his past. As a result, I found myself liking this muscle-bound, amoral guy as I might like a over-sized bumbling puppy who doesn't know the rules of the household yet, but wants to learn. Smith provides just enough childhood details at all the right moments that I feel sorry for the youthful Geiger and as a result don't hate the adult nearly as much as I should considering his profession.

It doesn't hurt that Smith is a true artist with words.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing But The Truth... April 15, 2012
By rck12
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having read the unusual high number of (glowing) detailed reviews (24), for a book that hadn't been released yet by Amazon, I though this was going to be a top-notch high octane thriller...especially with Nelson DeMille's respected praise, on the front and rear jacket.

Unfortunately, I came away with the feeling of reading a mediocre novel. The premise is new and rather interesting as the story line unfolds in part one, the first 90 pages..., however the story bogs down in the next 200 pages of part 2, and is at times a somewhat boring cat and mouse game. Part 3 picks up strong with an interesting twist, however the ending drags on, and the finish is rather bland, other than Geiger and Harry will be back.

There are alot of things going on in the story (mostly about the enigmatic Geiger...who is he, where did he come from, what's his problem, why does he do this, etc., etc.), and there are some interesting characters (my favorites were Mr. Memz, and the likable sidekick Harry), however I never had that 'can't put the book down' feeling.

I will read the next book, hoping it is one that I can get emersed in and sort of wrap my arms that we know who/what Geiger is. There is potential here for sure...Geiger always gets the truth.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Disclosure: I received a free ARC of this book from the Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

Geiger has no memory prior to arriving in New York on a bus - he doesn't even know his name. He is, however, able to create beautiful creations through carpentry, and, as it turns out, he has another gift - he is able to tell if someone is lying. He is in the Information Retrieval business - he ... "convinces" people to tell the truth through various methods and application of different forms of pain. He has few rules, but one of the main ones is that he never, ever works on children. When a client shows up with a last-minute change in plans that includes a young boy, Geiger takes the boy and goes on the run. Will he be able to protect the boy and keep himself and his partner alive? Will he be able to discover the truth behind what the client wants?

This is a unique story with a unique protagonist. Geiger is not a terribly sympathetic person - he is cold, distant, detached - almost schizophrenic in affect. However, underneath the surface, something is boiling and the reader finds herself strangely interested in what is happening to this mysterious man. The other characters are as memorable, as quirky, and as multi-faceted as Geiger. The story was highly engaging and, while occasionally fairly violent, should be one that most fans of suspense and thrillers should enjoy. I'm going to give one spoiler, for those who, like me, worry about such things. The cat comes through just fine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious - dangerous and exciting March 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After reading this book, I'm considering answering "professional torturer" when someone on the PTA or local Neighborhood Watch group asks my profession. Only because it would prove if they were actually listening. And, if nothing else, it would be a great conversation starter. Or maybe it would encourage people to stop letting their dog poop on my front lawn.

I found "The Inquisitor" to be a highly unique, interesting, and thought-provoking book. The story is focuses on a alluring, complex man named Geiger, who chooses to list his profession as the innocuous sounding of "information retrieval professional" which is just another way of saying that he gets the truth out of someone via torture, mostly psychological. Part of the appeal of the story is realizing the motivation behind someone who not only tortures people for a living, but is really good at it. Geiger also struggles with this complex realization. He remembers nothing of his childhood and is currently in therapy to try to figure out why he continues to have disturbing dreams about things of which he has no recollection. While he is very good at his job (organized, tough and seemingly without emotions or empathy), it all falls apart when he is hired to interrogate a child to find the boy's missing father.

Geiger is a strong character with an equally strong cast of supporting characters. The book is fast paced, fascinating with many layers but without being confusing or muddled. A great first novel, I'll definitely be watching for more books by this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ...
Couldn't put it down. Interesting relationship dynamics and attachments.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Copycat?
Anyone who has read any or all of Andrew Vacchs will recognize the basic style and tone here. A "crime" novel in which the criminals come in all shades of "good"... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Crazy88Line Cook
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 4 months ago by mrock
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not much new here, just packaged in a different--albeit interesting--way.
Published 5 months ago by Mark
3.0 out of 5 stars predictable and drawn out
A little drawn out, and not that compelling. Was expecting a page turner, but forced myself to complete as it was predictable.
Published 5 months ago by Oscar Gallagher
4.0 out of 5 stars The Inquisitor
This is an unusual book. The hero of the book being a torturer. I wasn't sure I have the stomach for it but it really wasn't so bad. Read more
Published 5 months ago by bet
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Suspense … from beginning to end.
Published 9 months ago by BenJ
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Predictable and really not that deep. Ok for a mind candy read, but don't expect to be a better more evolved person after reading this book.
Published 9 months ago by Meilichios
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Couldn't finish it!
Published 9 months ago by Bryan Pryce
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating!!!!!
Mark Allen smith got me hooked from the first page. A real page turner, I was in awe till the last page
Published 10 months ago by Tessy Nwagha
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