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Glass Houses: A Gregor Demarkian Novel (Gregor Demarkian Novels) Hardcover – April 17, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the 22nd Gregor Demarkian book (after 2006's Hardscrabble Road), Haddam as usual effortlessly melds a puzzling mystery—a baffling serial murder case in Philadelphia—with the latest developments in the romance between her FBI profiler hero and his longtime lover, Bennis Hannaford. The perpetrator, named the Plate Glass Killer, targets unattractive middle-aged women, leaving their bodies in alleys, their faces mutilated by glass. The body count has reached double digits by the time Gregor (known popularly as the Armenian-American Hercule Poirot) is consulted, and he finds that the official investigation is a mess due to hostility among the senior detectives. The resolution may be a tad far-fetched, but the intelligent, thoughtful prose elevates this twisty whodunit far above most other contemporary traditional mysteries. The author also deserves plaudits for making the long and complex Gregor-Bennis relationship accessible to first-time readers. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Former FBI profiler Gregor Demarkian returns in the twenty-first installment of this popular series, which still feels fresh and exciting after all these years. This time Demarkian is hired to help prove the innocence of a man who has confessed to being Philadelphia's infamous Plate Glass Killer. Haddam asks some big questions--What kind of person becomes a serial killer? What kind of person claims to be one when he isn't?--and she turns finding the answers into a journey that is both exciting and thoughtful, thanks largely to the insight and charisma of her hero. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Gregor Demarkian Novels (Book 22)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312343078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312343071
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MysteryPoodle VINE VOICE on April 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this latest installment of the Gregor Demarkian mysteries, the retired head of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences unit is asked, first by the attorney of the suspected serial killer, and then by the prosecution, to look into a series of crimes because no one feels sure that they have the right man. The crimes involve the non-sexual deaths of middle-aged women whose faces are then mutilated, causing the press to dub them all the work of the "Plate Glass Killer." But just as Demarkian gets into the case, his live-in girlfriend, Bennis Hannaford, returns from her unexplained and uncommunicative absence of almost a year. Then another body is discovered, and the stories of the various men who have been picked up on suspicion in the case but released are intertwined with the Demarkian's sleep-deprived and frustrating reunion with Bennis.

Papazoglou inserts a lot of politics into her books, but the characters remain generally open-minded and not terribly strident about them, so I tend not to mind too much. The characters DO talk A LOT, much of it seemingly inconsequential to plot development. In general, I think this gives a great feel for the Armenian culture that provides the basis for Demarkian and his neighborhood. For a terrific contrast, read one of these books and then one of J.A. Jance's Joanna Brady novels, where the dialogue is so stilted as to fall over and no one says anything that isn't absolutely required; Texans may be terse, but I bet they still talk sometimes, other than to impart actual data. However, in this book, the "chattiness" also sometimes spills over to the non-neighborhood charactes, such as the D.A. and the Police Chief, and then it doesn't work. For example, I can't believe that the D.A.
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Format: Hardcover
Gregor Demarkian, known as the Armenian Hercule Poirot, is asked by one of his neighbors, Russ Donahue, to look into a case. Russ is the attorney for Henry Tyder, a semi-homeless alcoholic, who has confessed to being the Plate Glass killer - a serial killer in Philadelphia who has been murdering middle-aged women. Russ doesn't believe he's guilty and Gregor agrees to investigate.

This is a typical Jane Haddam book, whereby the characters are introduced in the first section of the novel. You get to read each character's thoughts and point of view about the mystery and about life. Some it is interesting, some of it just seems wordy and long. Yes, the author seems to interject her point of view on issues, but most of the time, it's not over the top and adds to the character. There is a brief mention of the Catholic Church, though, thankfully, not as much as in her other novels. Cavanaugh Street (the street where Gregor lives) and the Armenian culture are here too, but it seems brief - there's only a brief mention of Father Tibor and the rest of Gregor's neighbors. This book brings back the whole Bennis/Gregor relationship (which I've had enough of - that story line seems to have been dragged out forever.)

Overall, this is a pretty good Gregor Demarkian book, but not a great one. Yes, it seems a tad wordy. And I found the problem with the detectives in the case rather unbelievable (would any city with a serial killer allow that situation to continue?). But if you're a fan of Gregor Demarkian, you'll like this book. If you've never read a Gregor Demarkian/Jane Haddam book, I wouldn't recommend that you start with this one - there are many characters mentioned in this book that were first introduced in Hardscrabble Road. If you can find them, read one of her earlier books (the very early books - in the holiday theme, for example, Bleeding Hearts for Valentine's Day - are great books to start the series).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Gregor Demarkian retired from the FBI, he was an expert in serial killers and poisons. In his previous 'extracurricular' cases (as he calls them) he has solved poisonings. Now he ask to analyze the crimes of a possible serial killer. But the pattern is obscure and the police work has been deficient. The solution will require breaking the pattern. As Gregor says, killers may not be rational, but they are logical.

This is not one of Haddam's top-tier Demarkian stories, but it is pretty good. The solution is not at all obvious. I found myself looking in the right direction, but I never came near the answer.

As usual, Haddam illustrates some character defects. Some are integral to the story but there is one huge target set out for nothing more than target practice. It didn't spoil the story for me, but some might disagree.

If you like Haddam and Demarkian, this is a good read. If you are new to them, you might want to try Precious Blood or A Stillness in Bethlehem first to see them at their best. But it probably won't disappoint.
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Format: Hardcover
Glass Houses continues the story of Gregor and Bennis, and the mystery story line is entertaining. I can't give 5 stars, however, because of the poor proof reading. The divided or run on words are distracting, and there are a lot of them. By this time I expect Kindle conversions to be cleaner.
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Format: Hardcover
Glass Houses is a find for the mystery addict. Haddam enters new territory with her sleuth Gregor, who at last learns the secret of Bennis's disappearance, and unravels a messy mystery. Those who just want to follow her characters or try to solve the story themselves will be rewarded. Haddam fans should be warned, however, Cavanaugh street may never be quite the same.
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