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The Serialist: A Novel Paperback – March 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The story itself is well done, with a good dash of suspense, but nothing so riveting that you'd skip a meal intentionally rather than set the book aside for an hour. What gets you is the flow of the story; there are no ebbs, no peaks and troughs, no place where you need to put the book aside to catch your breath, or want to put the book aside because it's gotten temporarily dull. It is, simply, a very well-paced book, which is a staggering achievement for a first-time novelist.
Our narrator is an author of cheap genre novels and porn columns, keenly aware of his own mediocrity and only occasionally mourning the brilliant writing career he once planned. He gets an offer to write the memoirs of a serial killer on death row, and takes it as an opportunity for name recognition and, of course, money. Inevitably, he's roped into a murder-mystery with his motley band of sidekicks.
The big let-down in this novel is that the mystery is solved not through any real detective work but rather a series of genius insights from a man repeatedly demonstrated to be well short of clever. As a reader, i always feel cheated by such turns. But i wasn't able to figure out who the antagonist was before the reveal, so the author gets props for that.
Only for a small chunk near the end of the book does the author engage in the sort of self-absorbed maudlin melodrama to which authors writing about authors are prone. You can see it coming and skim those paragraphs if you want.Read more ›
This was a great read. The cast of characters, from the precocious teen to the stripper sister of one of the murder victims, are deftly handled. Most of the characters are out of central casting,( the gruff FBI investigator, the chain smoking lawyer, the creepy,handsome convict and the true believer legal intern) would be clownish in less capable hands. Bloch is an engaging voice, wry and cynical. A wistful underachiever, he rises to the challenge when his life and the lives of the ones he loves (and some he barely knows) are threatened.
Ultimately this novel is more about acceptance than finding oneself. The wealthy teen "orphan with parents" drops her pseudo sophistication when the bullets start flying and realizes she is just a kid. The bad girl stripper realizes that she really is a good girl after all. And Harry comes to peace with who he is because the bottom line is people would much rather read the tabloids than the Times and there's nothing wrong with that.
Bloch has achieved some literary success. Under various pseudonyms, he has penned popular fictional series containing sci-fi love slaves, Blaxploitation detectives, and romantic vampire entanglements. When a convicted serial killer reaches out to his favorite porno writer, it happens to be one of Bloch's alter egos. Given the chance of a lifetime to ghostwrite the memoirs of the notorious mass murderer, Bloch cannot resist. But it may just be a deal with the devil as new murders start to occur wherever our intrepid researcher goes. When he becomes implicated, what's left but to solve the case and prove his innocence? With an assortment of colorful allies including a stripper bent on revenge and his adolescent business partner, Bloch's detective work proves to be as hilarious as it is harrowing.
David Gordon stays true to classic detective noir while at the same time skewering it--it is a precision act.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Harry Bloch is a struggling writer who churns out series of books, mostly about vampires and/or detectives. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Oregana
Gordon's book was satisfying to the end. Certainly no loose ends to wonder about. The twists of the story were creative and though bloody and gruesome, the characters seemed real,... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Richard Konisiewicz
Weird stuff but cute. A decent read. I also found this book after reading the author's article in the NY Times Magazine. Read morePublished on May 29, 2014 by Debbie Lampert
There's always another surprise around the corner. Every time I thought I had this book figured out some other mystery emerged or 're emerged and was then solved. Read morePublished on May 17, 2014 by Louis Koukoulas
The story behind this book on NPR and in the NT Times is a bit better than the book itself.Published on April 9, 2014 by Natan Katzman
Definitely quirky and breaks a lot of the usual conventions of writing. For writers, there are plenty of hat tips and in jokes. Read morePublished on March 19, 2014 by Christopher M. Park
to realize I did not care for this book. It's a good mystery but it kind of dragged on at the end.Published on March 1, 2014 by Ari
I came across David Gordon's work through a recent NYT article (as I imagine many have), and was hooked by The Serialist's premise right away. Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by Mark Twain