The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner REVIEW
The Man From Primrose Lane book review: Meta murder mystery mayhem.
Release Date: 7 January 2013
354 pages | £7.99 (paperback/ebook)
Author: James Renner
Some books are a pain to review. The Man From Primrose Lane is such a book. 99% of the pleasure of reading it is discovering the swerve-balls and twists it has to throw your way. They start about a chapter in, and don’t let-up until the final page, which has you turning back hurriedly to the start to go, “Ah-haaaa!”
About three chapters in, you may think you’ve got it sussed. You’re probably wrong. You’ll definitely reassess your beliefs after the first “interlude” and the unexpected appearance of a giant frog.
It starts with the murder of the Man From Primrose Lane (as the locals call him), a recluse with a love of mittens, living in Ohio. This piques the interest of one-time investigative reporter (and now pretty much a depressive recluse himself) David Neff. Then things get really strange, really quickly.
Written by a real-life investigative journalist with a clear love of Stephen King and movie in-jokes, the book is certainly engrossing, entertainingly complex and worth a read. On the other hand, it’s so plot-lead that the characters feel like mere pawns, with any traits they may have merely being handy for the narrative, and the revelations occasionally feel less satisfying than the set-up.
It’s enjoyable guff while you’re reading, but ultimately you may feel like it’s a lot of impressive smoke and mirrors, disguising a plot that actually you’ve seen or read a number of time before.
Dave Golder twitter.com/DaveGolder
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