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Gathering String Paperback – August 8, 2012
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Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
This debut novel comes at a time of great stress for journalists looking for new ways to perform old roles. All the old rules and many of the traditional techniques and assumptions are in flux, and much may be lost, and soon. Mimi Johnson's novel introduces us to Sam Waterman, a swashbuckling reporter familiar from TV depictions of the press; actually, most newsrooms have at least one. Sam works for a website, Politifix, but still resists changes to his profession as he hunts for another killer story. Jack Westphal, athlete turned editor of a small-town paper, embraces the future as the killer story develops in his own backyard, involving Swede Erickson, the governor of Iowa. Tess Benedict, Waterman's former love and Westphal's new one, complicates all the relationships. This is the kind of novel I love to read, the kind that engrosses you in the action while making you want to yell at the characters.
This book went into copious back-story detail -- read at times like a Harlequin Romance. Page after page after page of history. Entire articles reprinted. Minute detail about the house and fooling around. A road trip by a speed demon that lasted page after page ... all the details of the investigations and the machinations to get the story out. Definitely needs some trimming with a heavier hand.
Then, finally, the climax. And it just ends. Did Mimi get bored with her story? I mean, I hung in there through page after page of stuff not really essential for the story, eyes glazing over in parts of it just to get through it all, get through to the point of the entire book, but I never did get to find out the consequences -- the ending just blows. No satisfaction after sticking through all 360+ pages of it -- left with, "then what happened?" That last paragraph was like a slap in the face. You go through all the work and don't get any of the payoff.
But beyond that, this is a high-stakes political thriller with a love triangle among the three heroes, and it was the perfect read to start my grad-school semester break: plot, characterization and dialogue realistic enough to draw you in and keep you there without going down any thematic or plot rabbit holes. It ain't literary fiction, but that's OK: It's still the first book I stayed up past 2:30 a.m. to finish in a long, long time.
Brava, Mimi Johnson. (Full disclosure: Her husband, Steve Buttry, and I corresponded electronically from time to time during and shortly after my time in newspapers, which ended in early 2009. We've never met in IRL.)
(A technical note: This is the first novel I've read start to finish on the Kindle app for Android. I found quite a few typos, misplaced words and other things that adept copy editing should have caught. Also, a lot of paragraphs started without indentations. The publisher and/or Amazon should pay closer heed to this stuff.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this book. I was so into it and couldn't wait to find out what happened as a consequence of the characters actions, and it just.....ended. Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by Lou P
I really liked the book. I didn't like some of the language, some of it was unnecessary,in my opinion. Over all, it was a good book. Would recommend it to friends.Published on April 21, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Excellent story, well written. A non-political political thriller with a wonderful love story, I will definitely read more by this author :)Published on November 26, 2013 by Gin Collins
The thing about the once-upon-a-time newspaper life was that -- like a lot of essentially romantic human institutions -- it was stupid and impossible and maddening, and yet it... Read morePublished on November 12, 2013 by Dan Conover
As a former newspaper reporter, I love any story about journalists. Unfortunately, many authors get the details wrong, but not Mimi Johnson. Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by Kellye Crocker
Mimi Johnson's GATHERING STRING is an exceptionally well plotted and masterfully constructed story of political and journalistic intrigue. Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by Douglas R. Worgul
It's about journalism. And politics. And love. And hate. And right. And wrong. And trust...and distrust, And courage. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Classic anti-hero, surprise villain, and a we know whodunit but how are they going to prove it plot. Lots of fun.Published on May 21, 2013 by Mark Loundy
I live in SW Iowa so locations were real to me. very good reading , just hope there in a followup book or two.Published on May 6, 2013 by Robert Apperson