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The Basement by [Leather, Stephen]
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The Basement Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 254 customer reviews

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Length: 135 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

"Like William Goldman’s No Way to Treat a Lady (1964), this is a lean thriller involving a cat-and-mouse game between a killer and the police. The investigators—the antagonistic Turner and the sympathetic Marcinko— have zeroed in on their prime suspect, Marvin Waller, a prolific (but as yet unproduced) screenwriter whose arrogance and lack of cooperativeness seem to confirm their suspicions. But Marvin steadfastly maintains his innocence, at the same time taunting the cops, goading them into actions that work to Marvin’s advantage (although exactly what he’s up to is a mystery to us). Marvin is an intriguing creation—clever, intelligent, and manipulative—and the author keeps us on our toes, trying to figure out if the guy is a killer or just an egomaniac. Some writers might have made the mistake of beefing the story up with multiple subplots, but the novel’s length is exactly appropriate for the story Leather is telling. With a final-act surprise that’s guaranteed to knock readers out of their seats, the novel is impossible to put down." -Booklist

About the Author

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers. He was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Before that, he was employed as a biochemist for ICI, shovelled limestone in a quarry, worked as a baker, a petrol pump attendant, a barman, and worked for the Inland Revenue. He began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into more than ten languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series. The Stretch and The Bombmaker were filmed by Sky One. You can find out more from his website,

Product Details

  • File Size: 305 KB
  • Print Length: 135 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612181481
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 29, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 29, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0053TIB2W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At a mere 127 pages (in my edition), calling The Basement a novel may be a bit of an overstatement. Personally, I like a little more meat to my books, but if they have to be this lean, at least they should be as good as this Stephen Leather story.

The main character in The Basement is Marvin Waller, a young screenwriter who's never sold a screenplay. He may not even be a good writer, but in his mind, he's an unrecognized genius. Certain that secretaries are standing between him and the studio execs and stars he wants to pitch to, Waller has taken to standing outside of the homes of actors and directors. Waller may be obnoxious, but he's smart and is careful about staying within the law, much to the consternation of a pair of cops who suspect him of being a serial killer.

Alternating with Waller's narration are scenes from the killer's point-of-view. Actually, they're told in the rarely used second-person viewpoint, but it works here. In the killer's basement, a victim is held: a woman who is a secretary and is being subjected to various degradations that are to lead to eventual murder.

Though (as stated before), The Basement is rather short, it is also the right length, a well-paced and suspenseful read. Depending on your purchase price, you may feel that this book is expensive, but if you place more value on the quality of the writing than the number of pages, the cost will be more reasonable.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I read the opening sentences of THE BASEMENT, I thought I was going to love it: "New York always brings out the serial killer in me. It's a great city to kill in. The best." Instead, I was pretty much revolted by it. It's told in two voices, the first-person voice of a social misfit suspected of being the serial killer (which he may be) and the second-person voice that puts the reader in the role of the serial killer (which may be the misfit).

The writing is fine, the plot has potential, but the execution is distasteful. While I can imagine this book being described as "An Intimate Look into the Mind of a Serial Killer," the fact is that it is a romanticized look into the mind of a serial killer, yet it's also remote. The reader doesn't get to know much about the characters except that one or two are especially twisted. The abducted and tortured victim is two-dimensional, having no life in the reader's mind unless she is being written about. The misfit is a wannabe screenwriter who finds himself clever, particularly when he's sassing the cops--he's just obnoxious. The author's research is inadequate, for example his characters seem to be Americans, yet they all use British colloquialisms, and he describes New York as having 15 million people living within its borders, when the population is closer to 8.2 million.

Casting the reader as the serial killer is an interesting, promising choice, but reading that you are performing certain tortures or killing and dismembering people (and getting turned on about it) doesn't really appeal to those who abhor the actions of serial killers. Yes, an intimate look into their minds might be interesting, but having a serial killer's mind transplanted into one's own brain is not especially appealing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an engaging and fast-paced thriller for fans of novels like Silence of the Lambs. There are passages depicting sadism and explicit sexuality, so fair warning to the squeamish. It will make you uneasy. I could not give it five stars as I thought it was a little short and the characterizations a bit sketched in. Overall, however, it was a good read and well worth the price.

Rodd Reduxxx, author of Mort and The Oldest Living Vampire Tells All
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The premise of this book sounded interesting. I really thought I would like it. It didn't live up to its billing and it was not an enjoyable book.
Characters: two dimensional at best, and no dimensional, usually.
Plot: what plot? Story was told in two different voices. Mr. Waller the twenty-three year old "genius" who was an unpublished/nonproduced screen play writer. Who also, just happened to be a perfect match for a serial killer. Dialog was stilted. Didn't sound American. In fact, I thought the main character was going to be a newly arrived in this country immigrant from England (based on dialog and I guess sentence structure.) I was wrong. He was supposedly the orphaned child of a successful, oscar-winning producer and director and a mother who made him watch her commit suicide.

The two detectives in this novella (it wasn't a full book in my opinion) made me think of card-board cut-outs. No depth, no fully fleshed characters.

Through out the booklet Mr. Waller is describing the books/screenplays he is going to write, if he can figure out a successful ending. The sad part is, Mr. Leathers obviously couldn't figure out an ending to this story, therefore he just stopped. Came up to the climax of the book and quit. Where's the rest of the book?

Do I wish I had my money and time I spent on this book back. You bet. It was both a waste of time AND money. Wish it were possible to give it a negative star rating. I will not be purchasing nor reading any more of this authors work.
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