Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Conspiracy Theory: A Gregor Demarkian Novel (Gregor Demarkian Novels)
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on July 5, 2003
Conspiracy Theory
Jane Haddam
St. Martin's, June 2003, 277pp.
Anthony Ross is the one of the most powerful and influential bankers in the world, and a member of Philadelphia's "High Society". Gregor Demarkian and Bennis Hannaford are attending a fund-raiser at his home in Bryn Mawr when he is shot to death on the front steps of his own home. Father Tibor Kasparian is the priest at Holy Trinity Armenian Christian Church on Cavanaugh Street, where Gregor and Bennis live. Simultaneously with Anthony Ross' death, a bomb goes off at the church and Father Tibor is injured.
Gregor Demarkian (a long-retired FBI behavioral science expert) is caught between the two crimes. As a witness and possible suspect to the Ross killing, he is asked to cooperate with the authorities, but his heart is on Cavanaugh Street with Fr. Tibor and his neighbors. It is only when Fr. Tibor comes home from the hospital and shows Gregor the obscene letter he received the day of the explosion that Gregor begins to suspect that the two events might somehow be related, although it seems far-fetched, even to him. When Ross' wife Charlotte and an FBI agent join the ranks of the murdered, Gregor is once again in the midst of a high-profile case.
Jane Haddam never ceases to astound me. She has taken the paranoia of Sept 11, conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati, the mind set of the rich and powerful, and the needs of the hangers-on to the Main Line social set, and woven them all into one dizzyingly convoluted mystery - again. And while she's done it, she has explored Philadelphia "society", the mind twists of the conspiracy theorists, and deepened the insight into three of my all-time favorite characters, Gregor, Bennis, and Fr. Tibor. From the deft needling of the CIA to the pointed one-liners scattered throughout the text, no government agency, society matron, fundamentalist, or conspiracy theorist is safe from Jane's barbed wit, and I loved every word, even the ones I wasn't sure I agreed with.
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on November 22, 2012
I love many of Jane Haddam's books, but I find her uneven. I LOVED the previous one, Someone Else's music, but this one was dry, overly filled with factoids about conspiracy theory, and thin on emotion and relationships. Felt a bit like a political polemic...
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on July 9, 2014
Jane Haddam is one of my very favorite authors. Her characters come off the page and live. I love Gregor and his thinking-love his Armenian neighborhood and the people who live there. Ms. Haddam's research is tremendous.
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on February 20, 2013
The book arrived quickly and in great condition. I found it to be a bit complicated to keep straight and had to review frequently until over 1/3 through the book. Probably just me. All the reviews praised her writing.
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on November 16, 2012
Sometimes I read novels for the sole purpose of being entertained. I don't want to have to pay attention or think about the content, I just want to be entertained. Not so when I pick up a book written by Jane Haddam. When I begin one of her novels I expect to be amazed by a plot that twists and turns to an extent that if I do not pay close attention I will be left behind on a corner of Cavanaugh Street where my only resort is to turn around, return to where I began and start over. Jane Haddam is a genius. Her writing style is different from any other I have experienced and if I do find myself being distracted from the written word on the page it is due to the fact that I am wondering how in the world she has come up with another plot that is so intricate and fascinating that I don't want to stop reading until I have reached the final page.

Gregor Demakian is a complex character who will entertain you with his odd, ADHD behavior but you will find yourself paying very close attention to whatever he is thinking or saying because, as the author, he is brilliant and charasmatic. I have read so many of Haddams novels now that when I find a new one and settle down to read I find myself looking forward to being reconnected with the people and community where the action takes place as if I were reading a letter from friends bringing me up to date on their latest escapades.

Don't wait any longer - buy one of Jane Haddams books and begin the adventure.
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on June 3, 2014
Page after page after page on the nature of conspiracy theorists.....very repetitive pages. Very little about the characters we care about or any of the characters for that matter. Just a lot about hysterical conspiracy in the form of gibberish. Might have made a good short story, instead it's a long winded bore. At one point, Gregor refers to the feeling his head might explode, a sentiment I share about this novel.
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on July 2, 2003
He became a legend for his work in the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, so much so, that when he retired he was asked to consult on some very high profile murder cases in Philadelphia. Gregor Demarkian attends a Main Line charity gathering in Bryn Mawr hosted by one of the most powerful and wealthiest bankers in the world, Tony Ross, who is murdered while greeting guests on the front stairs. Although he is technically a witness or a suspect the local police ask Gregor for help, which he gladly agrees to give.
When he goes home he learns that his church on Cavenaugh Street has been bombed and reduced to rubble. Since he is close to Father Kasparian, Gregor donates his services hoping to catch the perpetrator who did this horrific act. When Tony's wife Charlotte is murdered in a M.O. identical to that of her husband's death, conspiracy literature is found in her house. Gregor feels these three crimes are linked but finding the connection and a viable suspect will take all of his skills and a good deal of luck.
Jane Haddam has a wonderful sense of place and an ability to create fascinating characters. The author peels away the veil and spin doctoring of the very rich and powerful to show that they are not different than the average person in their desires and fears. CONSPIRACY THEORY is fast-paced and brilliantly plotted while displaying how the events of September 11th fit into the mindset of a conspiracy group who believes the Illuminati are controlling the country and moving towards a one world order. This is a mystery that readers will thoroughly enjoy.
Harriet Klausner
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on May 10, 2004
Gregor Demarkian is an interesting guy, and he has evolved some over the course of the series; all the regular series characters have evolved, in fact.
In this one, Father Tibor gets injured when someone explodes a bomb in his church. Father Tibor has changed quite a bit from early in the series, and I'm not sure he's quite consistent in this one, though it makes no difference to the plot. He seems younger, and less philosophical somehow - although he talks about evil, and he is involved with some odd outreach, he spends much less time referring to things in books, and seems to me somehow less deep than usual.
Also as the series goes by, Bennis seems to spend less and less time at writing her books, building her models, or anything related to her work.
But those are quibbles. The overall plot- a couple of murders, a botched FBI investigation, a discount store chain going into bankruptcy, and the church bombing, all of which only Gregor sees as connected, at first - is intricate. All the usual sorts of suspects are there. High society is skewered; fanatics of all sorts are skewered. The solution is under our noses - as Gregor muses, it's almost always about love or money; if one stops looking at extraneous details and follows the money, one has a good chance of finding the killer.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is reading excerpts from the (real) web sites of various conspiracy theory groups. You know, the ones convinced that the Illuminati are using mind control to bring about One World Order; the CIA and the Pope are hand in hand to assassinate Kennedys and blow up buildings, and other stuff even less sane. In an introduction, the author points out that every single web site she cites is, unfortunately, real. Her insight into the muddled thinking of specific characters in these conspiracy theory groups is chilling.
Perhaps my favorite side plot is the one involving Tony Ross's (the first victim) sister. She runs a "mission" to rescue child prostitutes. The difference is that her mission is an atheist one; our fictional character is a member of the real group Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group your devoted reviewer also happens to belong to. Atheists are portrayed in a favorable light, something all too rare in American culture these days. (Tibor muses that he has been around enough to know that saints come in many flavors, including atheist saints.) It was truly enjoyable for me to read something that doesn't buy wholeheartedly into the notion our current administration has that the only good works are faith-based ones. As a corollary to this, if you happen to be a Christian fundamentalist, please don't bother reading this book - it will only annoy you and raise your blood pressure.
With all those details I've barely mentioned the plot, and that's part of the way this book struck me - the details and characters were so interesting that solving the plot was almost a minor consideration. That doesn't mean there wasn't lots of action, or that the plot wasn't good - it was. It just means that this book is really character-driven, and I like that. If you prefer police procedurals with lots of ensemble work, or thrillers with international action, this will be somewhat less your speed, although there is plenty of weaponry to keep you happy too. (It isn't too much of a spoiler to say that the climax features hand grenades.) I believe there's something for everyone here, although followers of the series will get the most out of the book.
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VINE VOICEon August 19, 2009
Conspiracy Theory sees Gregor Demarkian tied up in two different problems: the inexplicable bombing of the church down the block (and the injury to his friend Father Tibor) and the contract-style murder of a financial figure at a heavily secured society event.

Haddam uses the story to illustrate the various conspiracy theories roaming the Web: reptilian humans running the world, Masonic orders taking control of the world four or five hundred years ago, CIA mind control, and more. The investigation tracks people involved in these theories and the creation of counter-conspiracies to resist the "evil forces."

Haddam's writing is always a pleasure and her puzzles are usually quite good. Unfortunately the solution of this case involves a mastermind whose abilities to plan a caper and manipulate individuals is on a par with the various theories presented as examples. Haddam has Gregor Demarkian injured in the final standoff, perhaps to create jeopardy to compensate for the plot problem. I just don't find it satisfying, although the story is made of far better stuff than Murder Superior.
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on April 10, 2015
I always enjoy Jane Haddam's Gregor Demarkian series. I realized I had read this a long time ago but it's so good I read it again!
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