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Niceville: Book One of the Niceville Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – August 13, 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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  • Niceville: Book One of the Niceville Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
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  • The Homecoming: Book Two of the Niceville Trilogy (Vintage Crime / Black Lizard Edition)
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  • The Reckoning: Book Three of the Niceville Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“NICEVILLE and THE HOMECOMING, by Carsten Stroud: crazy-good supernatural/crime/horror epic. Blew me away. Really one novel. You’ve never read anything like it. Faulkner crossed with Steve King.” 
 --Stephen King


“Niceville belies its name at every turn in Carson Stroud’s wickedly entertaining thriller.”
    —The Washington Post Book World

“Terrific dialogue, oddball characters, and a wild story make this a great read.”
    —Elmore Leonard

“Strange, outrageous and wonderful. . . . Superior storytelling. . . . [If] you savor the blackest of comedy and fear that evil is all around us, embodied, in both flesh-and-blood and supernatural creatures, then you might enjoy this toxic tale.”
    —The Washington Post
 
“Glorious. . . . Stroud manages to combine just about all the pulp genres you can imagine in his tale—hard-boiled noir, supernatural horror, Southern gothic melodrama, multigenerational family tragedy. . . . [with his] gifts for flat-out storytelling and sharp characterization.”
    —Entertainment Weekly

“[A] thrill-ride. . . . As enthralling as a tale by the Brothers Grimm.”
    —The Wall Street Journal

“Mesmerizing. . . . Niceville has claws as sharp as the soaring crows’ talons.”
    —South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Terrific. . . . A mystery but also a ghost story, with a touch of horror. . . . This is a very sharp . . . view of traditional Southern Gothic.”
    —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“A unique genre-bending novel that will haunt readers long after the last page. . . . Niceville is a town readers have to visit for themselves in order to believe.”
    —The Free Lance-Star

"The last time I was so swiftly taken over by a work of fiction was probably when I read A Game of Thrones. Carsten Stroud’s wonderful Niceville isn’t really much like George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel, apart from being equally hard-boiled and engrossing, but it rockets around its deceptively staid Southern town, pulling bad guys and worse guys and long-ago misdeeds into a widening and unfolding tale about every kind of wickedness. Somehow it manages to get tighter, nastier, and more delightful as it rolls along toward its lovely and completely black-hearted final pages."
    —Peter Straub

“A simmering read; one part thriller, one part suspense, and taken with a hefty sprinkling of supernatural hot spice, it’s one of the most compulsive page-turners of the year.”
    —The New York Journal of Books

 “[Stroud] literally gives plenty of bang for the buck.”
    —Booklist

“A compelling work that grabs your attention from page one.”
    —Karin Slaughter

“Think Stephen King crossed with Mickey Spillane.”
    —Open Letters Monthly


“A truly one-of-a-kind tour de force, Niceville may be hard to categorize by genre, but it’s easy to describe as a reading experience—wildly, insanely entertaining.”  
    —John Lescroart

About the Author

Carsten Stroud is the author of the New York Times bestselling true crime account Close Pursuit. His novels include Sniper’s Moon, Lizard Skin, Black Water Transit, Cuba Strait, and Cobraville. He lives in Toronto.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reprint edition (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030774535X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307745354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Craig VINE VOICE on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was intrigued by the premise of this book. A town called Niceville where things really aren't that nice, and are really never what they seem, and several strings that come together in the end. And while those things don't come together nearly as neatly as they could have, this is still an excellent read that screams for both a movie, and a possible sequel.

The story itself is a tough one to summarize in a paragraph, but suffice to say that it involves a string of child disappearances going back 80 years, a long-simmering feud between the town's founding families, and a current-day bank robbery. There are a number of subplots, so many in fact that the author doesn't satisfactorily resolve all of them by the end of the book. Granted, not every story needs to be boxed up perfectly with a little bow at the end, and there may be more about this town in the future, but this lack of closure did hurt the book a little. The other negative effect of having so many separate strings is that there isn't a great deal of character development, making some of the "bad guys" in the book pretty much interchangeable and leaving even the heroes a little thin.

The story involving the town's history and what lies behind the disappearances is what really makes this an enjoyable experience. The bank robbery and its aftermath play a role, but the current events really take a backseat to the history. I found that for 350+ pages, the book moved incredibly quickly and I couldn't wait to get to the end. The mystery is one that many readers may figure out, but that doesn't make this any less captivating.

I would have given this five stars had it been slightly longer to allow for a little more character development or a better wrap-up of some plot threads. Even without that, it's a great book and one I would highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've heard this book called a horror novel, a mish mash of genres, a thriller... I think this book suffered from its multiple personalities. It was never quite scary enough, suspenseful enough, or exciting enough. There were several characters I did enjoy-the bank robbers namely & their scenes in the beginning were fast paced & had me wondering what was going to happen next, but the evil mirror in the pawn shop seemed cliche, and the mysterious scary sink hole had me rolling my eyes. Disappearances, magic mirrors, a robbery, high speed car chase, Indian burial grounds, the dead undead...it all got tiresome after awhile & it's true that Mr. Stroud didn't tie up his loose ends very well. Characters & therefore the reader is just kind of left hanging. I think it seems like it would be hard to fit every type of storyline into a novel, and this book definitely exemplifies that feeling.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A gang robs over $2M from a bank, killing four cops in cold blood to ensure their escape. Shortly afterwards, a child who disappeared into thin air, and then reappeared in a tomb sealed 100 years ago, comes out of his coma making a very strange request. Then, things start to get weird.

As a purely crime/action novel, "Niceville" excels. The bad guys are realistically bad, without going over the top, and the good guys have some issues. People's backgrounds become nicely tangled up together, with yesterday's baggage influencing today's decisions. In a word, it's all very believable. Now, mix in the pervasive evil that hangs over Niceville, where the dead aren't always dead, and the living have a strange habit of disappearing. Again, it isn't overplayed, it's expertly mixed with several threads of action to produce a thoroughly creepy effect. Add in the author's wicked but understated sense of humour, and you have a unique, captivating, thoroughly entertaining book.

My favourite off-the-wall book of the year is Nick Harkaway's "Angelmaker", but this is running a very close second. Even if you're not a fan of horror/paranormal novels, give this a try, it doesn't have the unrelenting darkness that many in that genre embrace. It's simply excellent on all levels!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read many books which start off slow and pick up as they go along, but this book started off interesting and got to the point where I eventually lost all interest and had to force myself to finish it.

The premise started off good - an unexplained mysterious disappearance. Then there was a rather unbelievable bank robbery and a farfetched sniper barrage. Intermingled with all of this is a town where every man seems to be a brutish wife-beater, a corrupt cop, an ex-military washout or some other form of gritty ex-law-enforcement. Every woman seems to be an abused (in one way or another) homemaker. Everyone else in this town is either engaged in some form of sexual deviance or is driving (as the author likes to put it) one-forty even though most cars are not even capable of driving at that speed.

I think the premise of this book was good - the underlying idea that sparked the plot was good, but the delivery of the content failed for me. I don't know, maybe it was just me, but I also had a hard time keeping track of all the characters in the book. At one point, I jotted down the main characters on a piece of paper tried to keep track of them that way. This could have been a spellbinding tale. There were many mysterious and well-described elements of intrigue that were simply not developed. Unfortunately, it was all I could do to maintain interest enough to finish it, and the ending was as if the author ran out of steam and just wanted to wrap it all up in an instant. I also didn't appreciate all of the unnecessary language and stereotypes, though they were probably in-character for the types portrayed in this book.

This book is not a fun, fast paced summer read. My advice is to skip it - there are plenty of other authors out there with books that will stir you or move you in a memorable way. This is not one of those books.
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