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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Between Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris has a lot to answer for, having invented the serial-killer monster who specializes in ultragory, agonizing deaths. This latest from Pearson (Simple Simon, 1996, filmed as Bruce Willis's Mercury Rising) is a pale copy of Harris's method and characters, without a syllable of his stylishness. The Jodie Foster character here is FBI agent Ariel Grace, 29, whos working on Task Force Five when she's reassigned to Task Force Ten. Ariel considers this a terrible drop in prestige, but it happens because she got too close to unmasking the FBI's fifth most wanted killer on its list of the Top Ten. Number five is Mills DeVane (Teddy Donovan), an agent working undercover as a serial killer to help nab narcotics traffickers. Number ten on the list is Michaelangelo, a madman who prides himself as an artist at murder and sends descriptions of his work to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Who is this well-spoken villain? About halfway through, we discover that Michaelangelo is Mickey Strange, the victim of a drunken doctor who missed with his snippers when he went for the umbilical cord. Mickey's million-dollar award for his departed penis has grown to $11 million and will thus support his artistic endeavors, although he can't get over the childhood pain of being called Mickey Dickless and now likes to cut off, cut up, and creatively re-member his victims: one female postal worker's bloody parts, for instance, become a Calder mobile in her post office. And thats maybe the one death we can tell you about without getting laughably grotesque. You see, Mickey has set out to murder everyone on the Top Ten list, so he can be top serial killer, as opposed to number ten. Not without storytelling energy. Sold to Warner Brothers, with a nod from the book clubs, and with foreign rights going like hotcakes. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ryne Douglas Pearson is an accomplished novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of several novels, including CloudburstOctober's GhostCapitol PunishmentSimple SimonTop TenThe Donzerly LightAll For One, and Confessions. He is also the author of the short story collection, Dark and Darker. His novel Simple Simon was made into the film Mercury Rising. As a screenwriter he has worked on numerous movies. The film Knowing, based on his original script, was released in 2009 and opened #1 at the box office. Receiving Four Stars from Roger Ebert, who branded it 'among the best science-fiction films I've seen', it went on to earn more than $180 million worldwide. He has also done uncredited work on films such as the remakes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Eye.

Despite the often 'dark' nature of his novels and films, Pearson has been noted to have a 'sweet, disarming quality' by Entertainment Weekly-an accusation he has been unable to shake. When not writing he is usually thinking about writing, or touting the wonders of bacon in online conversations. He is addicted to diet soda and the sound of his children laughing. A west coast native, he lives in California with his wife, children, a Doberman Kelpie and a Beagle Vizsla.

Product Details

  • File Size: 704 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Schmuck & Underwood (October 15, 2010)
  • Publication Date: October 15, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047DW68U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,983 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ryne Douglas Pearson is an accomplished novelist and screenwriter. He writes thrillers and contemporary fiction, and is the author of several novels, including Cloudburst, October's Ghost, Capitol Punishment, Simple Simon, Top Ten, The Donzerly Light, All For One, Confessions, and Cop Killer. He is also the author of the short story collection, Dark and Darker. His works have been translated into Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, Polish, French and other languages. His novel Simple Simon was made into the film Mercury Rising. As a screenwriter he has worked on numerous movies. The film Knowing, based on his original script, was released in 2009 and opened #1 at the box office. Receiving Four Stars from Roger Ebert, who branded it 'among the best science-fiction films I've seen', it went on to earn more than $180 million worldwide. He has also done uncredited work on films such as the remakes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Eye.

Despite the often 'dark' nature of his novels and films, Pearson has been noted to have a 'sweet, disarming quality' by Entertainment Weekly-an accusation he has been unable to shake. When not writing he is usually thinking about writing, or touting the wonders of bacon in online conversations. He is addicted to diet soda and the sound of his children laughing. A west coast native, he lives in California with his wife, children, a Doberman Kelpie and a Beagle Vizsla.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Because of FBI Special Agent Ariel Grace's excellent reputation, her supervisor Jack Trale, Chief of the Atlanta field office, allows her to deliver Mills DeVane to him. So confident in her abilities, Jack sets up a press conference. A chagrined Ariel fails to convey Mills and an irate Jack transfers Ariel to Task Force 10. Her new boss welcomes her because he needs agents to catch # 10 on the FBI's Most Wanted List, serial killer Michelangelo who uses his victims as a canvas.

The superego Michelangelo is livid with the FBI for leaving him at the bottom of their list. He feels he has earned the # 1 slot and takes out his frustrations by hacking a postal clerk to pieces. Ariel finds a clue that leads her to believe that # 10 plans to kill the other nine individuals sharing the list with him. She participates in a special task force meeting that includes her former supervisor. Jack informs her that Mills is an undercover agent with a vital mission that requires his full protection at any cost. However, Michelangelo, Ariel, and Mills appear ready to defy physics and occupy the same space when the inevitable collision occurs.

Readers will recognize that TOP TEN is one of the top ten thrillers of the year. Ryne Douglas Pearson, author of SIMPLE SIMON, has written a one-sitting reading experience that keeps the audience compulsively hooked to learn what happens next. The author provides a brilliant depiction of what it feels like for a law enforcement official to go so deep undercover that he becomes a perpetrator committing the same crimes as the people he infiltrated. FBI buffs and thriller fans will gain much pleasure from this exciting tale.

Harriet Klausner
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Alive in Christ on May 22, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yes, it is predictable in some parts only because you know the goal of our serial killer. Other than that the book has awesome imagery that makes some horror novels look like children's books.

Ryne Douglas Pearson knows his audience and gives them a roller coaster into the mind of a mad man!!!

Not for the overly sophisicated person who can't allow his imagination to run rampant.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David D on February 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
An entertaining and exciting thriller that reads like a Hollywood action movie. A bit over the top sometimes, but hey : it's fiction !
5 stars, not a masterpiece but very good in its genre.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A wandering reader on May 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book drew me in because of its intriguing premise about a pyscho-killer who is offended by his status on the FBI Most Wanted list and starts knocking-off those higher on the list. Its hard to find new spins on the psycho-killer ilk and here was one. Hooray!

That said, that's about it for this one. The writing is sub-par, far below what I would expect from someone who purportedly makes a living writing.

Storyline- confusing. Pearson weaves a confusing sub-plot about an undercover FBI agent who is on the list as a plant. With a higher level of wordsmithing and phraseology this would work. The weak effort put forth by Pearson doesnt do it justice and as you read the parts detailing this action, you find yourselve clicking ahead to the next part featuring Ariel- the lead character. You have to remind yourself that this is a psycho-killer story about a madman whose penis was lopped off at birth in a botched circumcision (how common is this anyway- I have never heard of it happening, making the plot even weaker for me).

Character development- bad. The characters in this story are very 'thin'. They lack any sort of substance that keeps your interest.

Narrative- very bland. Pearson gives little in the way of narrartive description to make his characters world a little more real.

Pacing, this is good. The story moves along at a good pace, even if you are confused about the action.

Once again we have here a story that makes a good case for traditional pre-release editing. You can find better .99 Cent books, keep looking.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Top Ten is an interesting idea, but I have to wonder if the editor was out to lunch on this one. There are some glaring plot deficiencies: how does the killer make the Top Ten Most Wanted List when nobody knows what his name is? We never learn what the crimes were that got him there. In addition, there is a scene in which a prisoner chews off his own finger, with a t-shirt stuffed in his mouth to stifle his own screams. I would like to see somebody try to do THAT! In addition, the character development was weak, as some other people have pointed out. Finally, we never really understand the killer's motivation to kill. Because he's a frustrated artist who was teased mercilessly as a child? There are a lot of things in this book that just don't add up.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lyn V. Wilson on October 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't waste a moment of your life on this one. It's a sloppily written, witless chronicle of a pretty boring serial killer. The book is so poorly written that the author didn't even put forth much effort to name his characters. A serial killer/victim shares the same last name as the heroine for no apparent reason and another character shares the real first name of the undercover officer. How hard is it to come up with a few names? That's just one indication of how bad this is. Another indicator is the fact that the cover shows a female victim in a red evening gown. Why, when no such character or scene is in the book? Can't believe it's going to made into a movie.
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