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Mannheim Rex Paperback – November 20, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A book that tries to one-up Peter Benchley’s Jaws (1974) is always going to be a tough fish to land, but Pobi uses a full tackle box of tricks in this valiant effort. Horror author Gavin Corlie, who hasn’t written a word since his wife’s death, moves on impulse to the small upstate burg of New Mannheim and a house perched alongside the cold black waters of Lake Caldasac. Soon Gavin befriends 13-year-old fishing fantatic Finn, a kid dying of cancer who has one wish before he dies—land the big one. Meet the big one, a gigantic fish at least a century old that, in the book’s opening scene, takes its time dismembering a man joint by joint and even rips the face off the decapitated skull for good measure. Add a Liverpudlian antiques dealer to the monster-hunting mix, and you have a trio straight out of Jaws (or, even closer, Benchley’s Beast, 1991). Pobi even hat-tips with a familiar line, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” The page-count alone should warn you that Pobi has a lot to say about everything, but his long-windedness is generally forgiven thanks to a Stephen King–like congeniality that keeps the pages flipping. Pobi’s characters, in fact, seem plucked straight from a King casting call, including a successful writer; a spunky, wheelchair-bound kid; and a psychotic, drug-addled sheriff who acts as chief antagonist. Though the leviathan itself never develops into the kind of mythic force Pobi is grasping at, the cynical Gavin and relentlessly cheery Finn make for a fun, unconventional team. This creature feature does not disappoint. --Daniel Kraus


"Pobi invokes American classics Jaws and Moby-Dick in this cinematic, old-school suspense tale worthy of King and Koontz...Pobi's full-bodied characters, keen sense of place, and ear for realistic dialogue make for an engaging read." (Publishers Weekly)

Praise for Harvest

“Gripping.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[Hemi’s] struggle—against both internal and external demons—makes this a story for those who can stomach the carnage and existential questioning; they will be spellbound.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Delivers a frightening, Nietzschean horror show composed of equal parts hubris and unintended consequences. Fair warning: expect to sleep with the lights on after you turn the final page.” (Booklist)

“Not for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach [… ] A gritty mystery about the stomach-turning acts of a serial killer who makes Hannibal Lecter seem almost benign.” (New York Journal of Books)

Praise for Eye of the Storm

“An author to watch.” (The Globe and Mail)

“Pobi boldly announces his arrival as a cunning novelist with this grim and gory debut thriller … a tight, macabre plot.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A very suspenseful novel.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)

“A fantastic new voice in the thriller genre.” (New York Journal of Books)

“This sparkling first novel has an ending few readers will see coming.” (The Gazette (Montreal))
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612184480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612184487
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Xina143 VINE VOICE on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To be clear, this isn't just a monster story, there's more here than that.

Gavin Corlie is a broken man. His wife was killed in a horrific car crash, and the traumatized horror writer is having a hard time moving forward. In a flash of clarity, he asks his assistant to find him a house. He needs to get away, to regroup and find him a house she does!

Gavin moves five hours away to a tiny hamlet near the town of New Mannheim. It is here that he meets Finn Horn, a 13 year old boy, who's body is being ravaged by bone cancer.

The two form an unlikely, but surprisingly believable, friendship. Finn believes there is a monster in the forbidding depths of Lake Caldasac, and Gavin chooses to believe in Finn.

The friendship between a man emotionally broken and a young boy that is physically breaking is the heart of this book.

This long book, clocking in at over 500 pages, there is a lot to digest. Author, Robert Pobi, is adept at character formation. He created one character so foul, that I actively wished for something horrific to happen to him! The idea that monsters aren't just from out nightmares is nothing new, they can take a human form as well, and Pobi does a good job of giving his characters some depth.

We get a payoff, but not until the very end, and I had no problem digesting the sub-plots and the development of the story. Though it is a long book, it went by very quickly for me.

Pobi left the ending wide open, adn I'm curious to see if there is/will be a second book with Gavin and Finn.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It took me two weeks to finish this book. That may sound normal to most readers who actually have better things to do... but I usually blast through a book in three days or less. But I don't want to blame the book for this, okay maybe a little. I knew it was about fishing and that all I know about fishing is watching Jeremy Wade yell `fish on!' when he hooks a good one. And maybe I'm not watching River Monsters for the right reason. But I thought I could hang if there was a monster involved.

But a book about fishing is going to obviously have moments of patiently waiting for the fish to do what you want them to do... apparently even fish monsters don't make themselves available when you want them to. So I probably would have cut approximately 100 pages out of this book. Sorry, but spare me from perfect dead wives and precocious sick children. Yes, I'm a meanie. I did spend most of the book dreading that the cat was going to get eaten by the mysterious monster.

Gavin is a famous writer, who after losing his aforementioned wife and becomes the standard issue suicidal drunk. He realizes that a change is in order and moves to a small town perched (heh) on the edge of a mysterious lake where strange things have been happening though luckily (?) it also has what I assume is a lazy medical examiner who is more than happy to wrap up cases with the proverbial boating accident as cause of death. Just to keep things interesting, there is also a crazy sheriff running the town who I don't think could be more crazy and/or evil if he tried. Him, I don't understand, but I tried.

Luckily Gavin soon becomes friends with the magical sick child who seems to perform amazing feats of daring do even though we're constantly reminded of his limitations. Not too sure about that either.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Best selling horror author Gavin Corlie flees the memories of his deceased wife by moving to an isolated community in upstate New York. The lakefront property is rumored to be haunted and the lake itself sems to be harboring some incredible monster. For years, mysterious deaths and disappearances have been covered up by the corrupt sheriff and the medical examiner. When a wheelchair bound boy narrowly avoids becoming the next victim, Corlie becomes involved in an epic monster quest that could be the death of him.

This book successfully incorporates all the ingredients necessary for a good story: appealing protagonists, villianous villians and a totally inhuman monster. Gavin is believable, likeable and human as is his love interest, the beautiful Dr. Laurel. Finn, the young boy is terrifically drawn. Even though confronted with his own mortality, he is still all kid. The pill popping sheriff is more monstrous than the monster, lethal because he can be, no because he musg to survive. The book is well written and infused with a warmth uncommon in this genre.

The biggest downside to the book is that it is overly long. Not all of the 532 pages were necessary and the book would have benefited from paring it down. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It is a fun fish tale with engaging characters that make you care.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While Pobi's sense of place is very strong and his charcaters are clear, he spends much too much time telling us backstories of characters we don't need. He often repeats whole sentences verbatum. Many times it seems he doesn't reread a chapter before he goes on to the next one. He regularly leaves his characters in a hightened situation then starts the next chapter some time later with no reference to the change in time or how they are dealing with what happened in the previous chapter. After MUCH
build up, his ending is unconvincing. Then there is another ending that introduces a new element that has little to do with the main story. I felt constantly manipulated.
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