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A Child's Book of True Crime: A Novel by [Chloe Hooper]

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A Child's Book of True Crime: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 17 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Jennifer Egan The New York Times Book Review A striking, ambitious first novel...Hooper forces open her material so that it resonates beyond itself, and she does this with...curiosity and instinctive grace.

Vince Passaro O The Oprah Magazine A brilliant, seductive, and unnerving first novel of sexual betrayal and murder...Hooper's novel is so tightly woven, so sophisticated, so full of sharp psychological truth and complex emotional and sexual life that you really have trouble believing it could be anyone's first book.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer A stunning, literate debut that combines a taut story and a unique structure...It is Hooper's prowess and her keen grasp of human psychology that make the book so rewarding.

The New Yorker A witty and unsettling meditation on innocence and experience.

The Wall Street Journal Ironic, moving, full of keen perceptions and striking sentences...a tour de force. Review

Penzler Pick, February 2002: Chloe Hooper has chosen to explore the dark terrain of obsession in this, her first novel.

Kate Byrne teaches fourth grade students in Tasmania, the large island off the mainland of Australia. Young, awkward, and not very self-assured, Kate becomes involved in an affair with Thomas Marne, the father of one of her students, Lucien, a charismatic but withdrawn youngster. Kate worries about him and the dark nature of some of his drawings, and she worries that Lucien may be having problems with his mother, Veronica, and her career as a bestselling true crime writer.

Veronica's book is currently on the bestseller list and she is busy promoting it. The book, Murder at Black Swan Point, tells the story of one of the most notorious crimes in the area. In 1983 a young woman, Ellie Siddell, was brutally murdered by the wife of the man with whom she was having an affair. The wife's car was found at the edge of a cliff, and it was commonly believed that she threw herself off it, although her body was never found. Years later, Veronica was able to interview the husband before he died, and this interview, as well as some of the crime scene evidence, is explored in her book. She feels that there may be another explanation for the murder of Ellie and the wife's subsequent disappearance.

Kate finds herself both charmed and appalled by Veronica when she visits her son at the school, but Kate also becomes obsessed with the murder and finds herself drawn to Black Swan Point. As the details of Ellie Siddell's death are slowly revealed and the affair between Kate and Thomas gets more obsessive, it becomes obvious that history may repeat itself.

The action pauses throughout A Child's Book of True Crime for an account of the murder at Black Swan Point written for children, with animals indigenous to the continent of Australia taking the parts of the people involved. It is not until the end of the novel that we find out who is writing this story and why. Kate also involves her students in discussions involving everything from the meanings of words to ethical questions concerning behavior and whether actions have consequences.

One of the strong points of the narrative is the description of Tasmania and its history. Like much of Australia, Tasmania was a penal colony, and the history of the region involves the lives of the convicts. Children visit the prisons on field trips. The animals they encounter play a part in their everyday lives and are also very different for the non-Australian reader, making this not only an eerie read but also an instructive one. This is a story guaranteed to stay with you long after you've closed the covers. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN : B00AK78P50
  • Publisher : Scribner; Reprint edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Publication date : January 29, 2013
  • Language : English
  • File size : 3282 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 242 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17 ratings

Customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5
17 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2008
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Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2009
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Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2009

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Count Magnus
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 24, 2016
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