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The Broken Hearts Club (Conrad Voort Novels) Hardcover – January 26, 1999
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Anyone who has ever been dumped or treated badly in a relationship can sympathize with the members of the Broken Hearts Club, a group of patients of the New York City psychologist Ian Bainbridge who meet weekly in the back room of a seedy steakhouse to share their pain and provide Dr. Bainbridge with material for a book. It's only after a couple of meetings in journalist Ethan Black's sly and sharply written debut thriller that our suspicions begin to take shape. Why are all of the club members men? And why do the women who have wronged them suddenly start dying in violent, brutal ways?
The NYPD's richest detective, Conrad Voort, 29-year-old heir to an historic family name and fortune, doesn't at first see how the murders are related. He's mired in a doomed relationship of his own, with TV news producer Camilla Ryan, who happens to be one of Dr. Bainbridge's patients but definitely not a member of his Broken Hearts Club. Camilla also races kayaks for fun and exercise, so you know that some kind of water-based action scene featuring a kayak is bound to occur.
Black plays tricks and takes liberties (Voort resembles John Sandford's Lucas Davenport, another rich detective), but he has the sense to let readers arrive at conclusions at their own pace. It's only after the last page that most of them will find themselves thinking back to scenes of Club meetings and asking, "But why...?" and, "But who...?" --Dick Adler
From Publishers Weekly
This well-paced psycho-thriller debut about a group of lovelorn New York City men manages to transcend occasionally awkward prose on the strength of journalist Black's unusual ability to arouse an emotional response. The Broken Hearts Club (whose members include the Banker, the Mechanic, the Agent and the Reluctant Patient, who never shows up) is a therapy group of rejected suitors that meets each Thursday in the back room of a tavern overlooking the West Side Highway, facilitated by psychologist Dr. Ian Bainbridge, who collects case histories to use in articles that enhance his professional standing. The processing of their unresolved rage plays out in the brutal murder of The Banker's former mistress. Meanwhile, the idyllic affair of NYPD's richest cop, detective Conrad Voort, with the beautiful, erotic Camilla Ryan, suddenly falls apart. As the "BHC" murders continue, a hotline call from an "anonymous" doctor directs Voort to investigate The Banker. But after a promising start, the trail seems to vanish into thin air. Time after time, other heartening clues lead to a dead end. When Camilla wrongly accuses Voort of stalking her, the paradoxical trail leads back to Bainbridge, and the fiendish machinations among the characters force a so-so denouement. Black fashions some terrific dialogue and keeps the scenes rolling in punchy succession. The iconoclastic Voort could well augur the advent of a sexy, savvy, highly charismatic new icon in popular crime fiction, if Black pays better attention to crafting. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild selections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the worst part of the book was the writing style. Black is all over the place with his writing. He wastes so much of the reader's time with irrelevant material, trying to be descriptive. The problem is his descriptions have nothing to do with anything involving the plot or characters. And when he does try to give us character descriptions he either describes clothing, or attempts to use mundane prose to let us in on the personality of the characters.
I could go on and on about how bad this book is, but I will not. I do like books in this genre, and you should click on the more about me link to find the other books I have read and liked. That way you can judge my review on this book better.
If you choose not to check me out, just do not waste your time on this book.
First of all, I agree with one previous reviewer -- the "secret" of the book is revealed literally half-way through the read (way too soon). This makes every move by the detective and other characters look so stupid it's not even funny. You really want to like the detective, but after reading him do some really dense things, you lose interest.
I also have a fundamental problem with the book and it's secret. I think the author really needed to get himself a better editor, because there are many inconsistencies that need to be resolved.
Speaking of editing, the book is chock full of poor grammar and missed/mis-used punctuation.
I'd wait for the next book or if you want to read a thriller, get Mark of the Assassin by Silva or something like that.
Also, what I found even more bizarre than the events in the book was a three-page interview at the end between the author and his fictional detective (!?!?!?). If an author wants to generate interest in a character, why not do it in the context of the novel itself? Thumbs down for me.
P.S. This is not a debut novel. This is an author who had a mid-list crisis and has been repackaged. Good luck, Ethan.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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