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Degenerates Paperback – September 29, 2009
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
About the Author
Author of dark, noir thrillers, romance thrillers, and middle grade sci/fi and paranormal novels. Neil D. Ostroff was raised in a rural town outside of Philadelphia. His novels are available at all online booksellers.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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At first I could not imagine how all these characters would be tied together. But they were and it was a great story. I was on pins and needles until the very end of the book. By that time I was so invested in the characters, I was feeling anxious about what would happen to them.
This book was very well written and well plotted. I recommend it without hesitation to people who enjoy thrillers and watching the police hunt down and find the criminals and stop the crime.
It is also a sweet book about people with damaged lives who can get back on track. In the end, I found it a very good story that was well written and well presented.
I enjoyed it and I recommend it.
In the Prologue little Tommy Fielding watches his father blow his mother away with a shotgun, and then is forced to watch his father kill himself with the same shotgun. At that point I knew that Tommy was not going to grow up to be a choirboy and that the rest of the pages would be bloody.
Chapter one, twenty years later, Tommy, encouraged by Jeffery who is a huge Great Dane residing in the boy's mind, kills and savagely mutilates two women because Jeffery convinces him that killing makes him stronger, makes him God and eventually he will have the power to bring Mommy back to him. Thus, Ostroff had me by the throat and I could not get away.
Tommy is the key degenerate in the story who is an infamous serial killer terrorizing Philadelphia. Ostroff skilfully leads his characters to the City Cafe where the horrifying culmination takes place. Along the way we meet the other degenerates.
There is Astor, an astoundingly beautiful young woman who escapes a brutal marriage to a young medical student, Darrel, but carries with her grief from the death of their child, which he seems glad to have lost. Ironically, Astor was Tommy's first girlfriend, and she is still in love with him.
Emily comes from a home where her mother is a fanatic Christian who drives the girl away. She turns to cocaine for which she will do literally anything to get. Only seventeen when she leaves home, Emily is a true tragic figure whom Ostroff draws beautifully.
All of his characters are drawn with skill. Ed Kirkpatrick, a writer who crawled inside a bottle of booze years before we meet him, winds up cooking short order at City Cafe. Astor and Emily find their way to the restaurant to wait tables, and Tommy is hired as dishwasher.
At the restaurant we meet Judy Forester, a sixty-year-old woman who bosses the front of the cafe and who remains grief stricken over her husband's death twenty years before.
Matt runs the kitchen. He seems to be a combination of compassion and skill whose expertise is vital to the success of City Cafe.
Into the mix comes Aaron, a young policeman who is working his first CSI case and learns that experienced officers around him are worth listening to.
Degenerates is a very worthwhile read. Ostroff's prose is crisp and clear; there isn't a boring page in the book. I will warn anyone who finds violence repugnant to pass this one by. But any writer who wants to experience great prose and well-sculpted characters should make Degenerates a must read.
~ Reviewed by Frederick Fuller, March 20, 2011 on The Creative Cat,[...]/