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The Halo Effect: A Novel Paperback – April 1, 2017
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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“The people of Port Fortune are irrevocably changed by the murder of teenager Lucy Light, and Anne LeClaire’s generous spirit illuminates their flaws, struggles, and personal triumphs as they search for truth and meaning. After I finished reading The Halo Effect, I sat thinking for a long time about the people in this beautiful novel, so much like the ones I know and love.” —Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of Secrets in Summer
“The terms ‘literary’ and ‘page-turner’ dovetail beautifully in Anne D. LeClaire's new novel. The Halo Effect is a must-read for LeClaire's faithful fans and a sit-up-and-take-notice book for those who have yet to discover this talented, truth-seeking storyteller who asks the big questions as she observes the small but intricate details that make us human.” —Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author
“Anne LeClaire's new novel The Halo Effect takes us into the life, the grief, the anguish, and the ultimate redemption of a man who has endured the excruciating loss of his only child through murder. It makes an eloquent statement about the curative power of the creative act and the leap of faith it takes to choose living and loving when the black peace of death seems so seductive. It's beautifully done.” —Elizabeth George, New York Times bestselling author
“The Halo Effect will keep you turning pages, and fast. But it is that rarest of page turners, a novel that illuminates our frailties and the depths of grief while also managing to be hopeful and wholly human. Anne D. LeClaire has written a bighearted book that will leave you breathless.” —Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and The Book That Matters Most
“In her latest novel the wonderful Anne LeClaire combines a deeply suspenseful plot with vivid, heartbreaking characters. I couldn’t stop turning her beautifully written pages as Will, Sophie, Rain, and Father Gervase, in their different ways, struggle with grief, violence, and the question of who killed Lucy. The Halo Effect is both profoundly moving and deeply satisfying.” —Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy
“The Halo Effect is a wonderful hybrid: a compelling murder mystery and a thoughtful meditation on longing and loss. I was fascinated by the book's saints—and sinners.” —Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls
“I wasn't ready for this one. As a fan of Anne LeClaire's work I knew that her writing would be of its usual excellence, watchful, luminous, and moving, but in The Halo Effect she has also drawn a New England community in its exact contours by placing it under the revealing pressure of tragedy. The result is a mystery at once literate, intimate, and almost intolerably suspenseful—reminiscent of Louise Penny at her best.” —Charles Finch, author of the bestselling Charles Lenox Mysteries
“I just finished The Halo Effect and loved it. It’s a master class in voice and character, and in using secrets to drive suspense.” —Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of You'll Never Know, Dear
“Like the series of paintings at its core, The Halo Effect is the story of families torn and reborn, a meditation on duality, and a masterwork lit by compassion. I'm telling everyone I know about this book.” —Sara Pennypacker, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pax
"[The Halo Effect is] definitely a fast paced page turner… If you’re a mystery fan looking for something just a little different, I’d say give this book a try because I don’t think you’ll be disappointed."—Long and Short Reviews
"The descriptive prose and well-developed characters rule this tale about anguish and loss. Fast-paced and highly emotional, The Halo Effect offers a sustaining message."—Reader to Reader
"There is nothing like a novel that takes you out of your comfort zone, draws you in to the point of complete immersion in the lives of characters wrought real and leaves you with fresh appreciation for life and all its possibilities, both good and bad. The Halo Effect is that kind of novel… at times painful in its unblinking honesty, but it is impossible to look away. Don’t make any plans once you open this book. You’ll be in Port Fortune for a while. And when you leave, the story will stay with you for a long time."—The Barnstable Patriot
"Engrossing… The idea that all people have the capacity for both good and evil and the power of redemption are central themes of [The Halo Effect]." —Cape Cod Times
About the Author
Bestselling author Anne D. LeClaire has written eight novels, including Entering Normal, The Lavender Hour, and Leaving Eden, as well as her critically acclaimed memoir, Listening Below the Noise: The Transformative Power of Silence. Known for her exquisite and lyrical writing, the former op-ed columnist has been published in Redbook, the Boston Globe, Yoga Journal, and the New York Times.
A Distinguished Fellow at the Ragdale Foundation, LeClaire teaches creative-writing workshops around the globe. She is also a dynamic speaker—leading popular seminars and workshops exploring silence, creativity, and deep listening. LeClaire has been a visiting lecturer at Mt. Holyoke College, the University of Tennessee, and Columbia College and was a featured presenter at the Lincoln Center.
A former reporter, print journalist, radio broadcaster, and private pilot, LeClaire lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where she leads silent retreats, practices yoga, and plays the washboard.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author does the internal dialogue of a teenage girl so badly I cringed.
Entire chapters that added nothing of value to the story but were some attempt at building the non-suspense. I literally went back and read all the editorial reviews for this and laughed at how absolutely off mark they are. Page turner- yeah I started turning pages quickly when I realized that taking my time to absorb this was a serious waste of hours of my life.
Intolerably suspensful ? No way, when I read the end I was just glad to have it over and done.
The author decided to have the undercurrent of secrets and teenage angst play out through the act of self mutilation (cutting), but just botched it. She introduces this terrible pent up anxiety and then just plays it off as blah blah blah my parents are so lame, DE- NI- AL, they just don't "get me". Its bad.
The main character mentions his RAGE that you never ever see. The books just goes on about rage and anger but it's not simmering or white hot, maybe lukewarm. And then randomly switches the point of storytelling to have the father question the reader (me/you) about how we would feel.
Language: F-bombs, c*ck, b*tch. And not really for any good effect.
The sex, while very abbreviated was so so not needed just because it was laughable. "We held each other like young lovers, but lovers whose bones held marrow-deep sorrow. We moved slowly as we explored, touched, tasted, as if not only our bodies but the air itself was fragile and a misstep would shatter all. I entered her, went deep, and knew that joy could be pain too".
I thought this was a beautiful book. I got it because I was hoping it would be a similar type of book to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The Lovely Bones is one of my all-time favorite books. When I read the plot line of this, I thought it might be similar...except that it concentrates on the points of view of the people who are alive, primarily the father and the best friend of the murdered girl. I wasn't disappointed.
This book is slow moving, though I didn't get bored. It is a character study. As I've mentioned, it isn't actually a murder mystery. Though it is hinted that anyone in the town could have killed the girl--or maybe it was just a transient passing through--we don't actually go through the story wondering whether every character we are introduced to is the killer.
The story primarily focuses on how different people are dealing with grief and other problems in their lives. You have the main character, Will Light, father of the murdered girl. His family was his world, and then when his daughter is murdered, his world falls apart. I thought the author was very insightful about how it was like to be a parent of a murdered child. Some of the critics of this book claim that the father is rather anemic emotionally. I guess in this world where television depicts rage with people throwing chairs and knifing people, many people can no longer understand the type of quiet, repressed rage that this man has. Will is angry. He is angry at the bungling attempts of people to give solace that often hurts more than it helps, he is angry at the media vultures feeding on his tragedy, and most of all he is angry at the unknown person who killed his daughter. He loves his wife, and yet he pushes her away.
His wife copes in a different way. She is a religious Catholic--something her husband was always cynical of. Sophie copes by trying to find meaning in her daughter's death and a way to spread a message to society that we have become so dull to violence, and our children are paying the price.
Then there is the priest, a very old man who desires to comfort but often bungles it. His introvert nature does not feel up to the task of taking care of the more social duties of a priest. His difficulties are compounded more by his lapsing memory. He approaches Will to paint a mural of saints, something that Will is unwilling to do. Will, always cynical of religion, does not want anything to do with it particularly now. He is horrified by the violence that is celebrated in the saints. He cannot appreciate the saints in the same way his wife and the priest do--that they were ordinary people, extremely flawed, but who found the best of themselves...and who stood up for what they believed in, even in the face of violence.
Then there is Rain, the murdered girl's best friend. I remember one of the critics saying that the author does the internal dialogue of a teenager poorly. I don't agree, but possibly it is true that it is dated. This book doesn't feel like it takes place now...or if it does, maybe it takes place in an area that is a little backwards. The way the teenager talks is more like the movies one saw in the early nineties. Anyway, Rain has become obsessive about locking doors since her friend has been murdered--worried that the killer is still at large. She is into self-mutilation, though this seems to come more from the stress of her home life. She has an overbearing mother who cares but is pushy and clueless. She is disgusted by how people paint Lucy (the murdered girl) as a saint, particularly when they didn't know her. She is even a bit jealous by the attention that Lucy gets, and she feels ashamed of herself for feeling that way. She is also jealous of her position as Lucy's best friend, not wanting to believe Lucy shared secrets with anyone else. Rain often says things to hurt people, doesn't know why she does it, and feels bad later...though it doesn't stop her from doing it again. She misses the closeness she used to have with her family, and yet she pushes them away.
There are other minor characters in the book that are also interesting: Rain's vulnerable brother, the salty character who is amused that he is chosen to be the model for a saint, the lesbian PE teacher, and the religious busybody who can't live up to the more compassionate virtues of her religion and who disapproves of everyone.
Although the father is commissioned to paint religious portraits, he is resentful and hesitant. This story is not preachy and a doctrine of religion...but it shows how this broken couple cope with the grief and loss of their only child. They have to fall low to be able to rise again to accept and then go on forward with their lives.
The story of this book has many levels! The people in the community have questions which are not always easily answered.
The healing among many in this story comes from finding answers to personal problems which must begin within themselves. A sad, but Wonderful Book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved the characters and their development.
Human nature put to the test, in the most trying and ordinary circumstances. Enjoy,