The Guardians

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The Guardians

by Andrew Pyper

Doubleday Canada | September 13, 2011 | Trade Paperback

The Guardians is rated 3.3333 out of 5 by 3.
From acclaimed author Andrew Pyper, a gripping novel of psychological suspense about four men haunted by a secret from childhood.

There''s no such thing as an empty house...

Trevor, Randy, Ben and Carl grew up together in the small town of Grimshaw as many boys do--playing hockey on the local team, the Guardians, and forging friendships that run deep. Twenty-four years later, Trevor, recently diagnosed with Parkinson''s disease and faced with his own mortality, learns that his old friend Ben has committed suicide. He returns to Grimshaw to pay his respects and to reunite with Randy and Carl.
 
But going home means going back to the memories of a sinister crime that occurred in the abandoned house at 321 Caledonia Street--a crime that claws its way into the present, leaving its indelible mark on everyone. Chilling to the core and gripping in the extreme, The Guardians is taut psychological suspense that will leave you at once breathless and moved.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8.01 × 4.99 × 0.98 in

Published: September 13, 2011

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385663722

ISBN - 13: 9780385663724

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Suspenseful, creepy and kinda sad Andrew Pyper’s been on my literary radar for a few years now – ever since I read his first novel, Lost Girls. (This was well before I blogged, or even knew what blogging was, so I have no review. I do remember that I thought it was smart, well-written and creepy.) A couple years ago I read Pyper’s novel. The Trade Mission, a book I had some trouble with. Not because of the writing, more because I felt like I was in way over my head. The Guardians was a much easier read, well, perhaps not easier, but more accessible. Carl, Ben, Randy and Trevor, the novel’s narrator, grow up in Grimshaw, Ontario. It’s a one-horse town, a place they can’t wait to leave. They are solid friends and have been since they were kids. They play hockey for the Grimshaw Guardians, smoke up in Carl’s car before class and fantasize about Ms. Langham, their young and beautiful music teacher. On one level, The Guardians is about this friendship. But there’s more to this story than four boys making out with their girls and smoking dope. Because there’s this house which just happens to be across the street from Ben’s house and as Trevor recalls: “it alone is waiting for us. Ready to see us stand on the presumed safety of weed-cracked sidewalk as we had as schoolchildren, daring each other to see who could look longest through its windows without blinking or running away.” The Guardians opens with Ben’s suicide in the present. Trevor must return to his old stomping grounds to attend the funeral. He’s at a bit of a crossroads, Trevor. He’s recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he’s a man of a certain age (40) and he’s feeling the full force of death’s lingering gaze. Pretty much the last place he wants to be is back in Grimshaw, where he’ll have no choice but to remember certain events from his youth that he has sworn a pact with his buddies to never talk about. I hope Mr. Pyper will consider it a compliment when I say that The Guardians reminded me a little bit of Stephen King’s brilliant novel, It. I loved that book, not just because it scared the bejeesus out of me (which, frankly, seems silly now given that the monster was a giant girl spider that lived in a cave) but because of the friendships between the characters – which King always handles so deftly. Pyper does a fine job, too, of giving us characters to care about even when they make bad decisions. And they do; they’re kids. The house has a part to play, too. It’s long abandoned and creepy as hell and bad things happen there, both real and imagined. Their relationship with the house drives the narrative both in the past and now, present day. The strength of the story, though, is that it taps into that very human feeling of helplessness, and frailty. Trevor’s feeling it as his body begins to betray him. There’s also this notion of “you can’t go home again.” I’m not a 40 year-old-man, but I understand perfectly that idea of returning to the place of your youth but no longer being young. Trevor feels it when he is reunited with Randy. “That’s what we see in each other’s eyes, what we silently share in the pause between recognition and brotherly embrace.” Their youth is gone, but they are haunted by it nonetheless. The Guardians is a sad tale, well told.
Date published: 2013-01-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from THE GUARDIANS... Let me Down. After reading Andrew Pyper’s The Killing Circle, I was anxious to read something else from him. Unfortunately, I decided on The Guardians, which I am sure (hoping) is simply not his best work. The story focuses on a character who finds himself dealing with a recent diagnosis of Parkinsons, when he learns that one of his old dear friends has committed suicide. This forces him to return to the small town of Grimshaw, where he grew up and essentially ran away from. While there the main character has to re-live a dangerous past and face a secret, which includes a haunted house. While Pyper’s writing is graceful and intriguing, the story itself is full of plot wholes and simply uninteresting. Admittedly, I am not typically a fan of ghost stories, which may explain my dismay to this novel. However, I felt the story was simply a regurgitation of other spook novels and carried little insight into anything. This is a far cry from The killing Circle, which was a genuinely creepy read. I will try another Pyper novel, because I do think his writing style is enjoyable. I just cannot recommend this disappointing and boring read.
Date published: 2011-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed This Novel on Multiple Levels I enjoyed THE GUARDIANS on multiple levels. First, the novel is set in small-town Ontario, and is about three forty-something men, all ex-players of the hometown hockey team "The Guardians" who come together after the death of a dear friend they haven't seen in years. Having grown up in a small town in Northern Ontario (and one in which hockey was central - three NHL players were born out of Levack, Ontario when I was growing up, one of whom I played alongside in my youth) I recognize how perfectly Pyper has nailed this element of the novel. The town itself is like a character I can quickly and easily relate to. Pyper describes characters, settings and situations in a small town so perfectly that I, had I not actually been back in my small home town when I was reading it, his novel would have propelled me there. He also beautifully nails the relationship between men, the unspoken thoughts, the carefully script of "maleness" that dominates and ties the four friends together through a critically important secret all four of them have sworn themselves to which involves the Thurman house, an old, abandoned house that stands across from the bedroom of Ben, one of the friends. Of course, the secret is what brings the three surviving friends together when Ben, the one who stayed behind, to continue to watch the house, to be the remaining guardian of its evil secrets, takes his own life. THE GUARDIANS wonderfully parallels Stephen King's IT in this manner of a single friend staying behind to keep an eye on the evil that dwells in their small home town. And like the King novel, which is one of my favourites, Pyper's novel jumps back and forth between the present, where the friends come together on their old stomping grounds, and the past, where the secrets the four friends have all kept are slowly unravelled and revealed to the reader. The main character and narrator, Trevor, who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is perhaps the walking, living and breathing parallel to The Thurman House, the creepy "haunted house" that is central to the story's plots and secrets. Choosing a life of shallow rewards and relationships, he is ultimately alone and soliatary, just like the house that has stood abandoned and neglected for so many years. Trevor also represents much of the speculation many people have of moments lost, decisions made in haste and wondering what "might have been" had he done things just a little differently. Pyper unravels the tale with a masterful tightening of tension, one in which the shadows begin to creep, ever so slowly across the ground, making you do a double take to wonder if what you just thought you saw was really there. He also addresses the "don't go into that haunted house" element wonderfully so that each time the boys and men enter the house, you partially wonder why they would do so, but can empathize with what draws them forward. To sum up my review, this novel keeps me in awe of Pyper's storytelling skills, his Norman Rockwell-like capturing of small-town Ontario, and his masterful tightening of suspense.
Date published: 2011-02-24

– More About This Product –

The Guardians

by Andrew Pyper

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8.01 × 4.99 × 0.98 in

Published: September 13, 2011

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385663722

ISBN - 13: 9780385663724

Read from the Book

[ I ]     The call comes in the middle of the night, as the worst sort do.   The phone so close I can read the numbers on its green-glowing face, see the swirled fingerprint I’d left on its message window. A simple matter of reaching and grabbing. Yet I lie still. It is my motor-facility impairment (as one of my fussily unhelpful physicians calls it) that pins me for eighteen rings before I manage to hook the receiver onto my chest.   “I don’t even know what time it is. But it’s late , isn’t it?”   A familiar voice, faintly slurred, helium-pitched between laughter and sobs. Randy Toller. A friend since high school—a time that even Randy, on the phone, calls “a million years ago.” And though it was only twenty-four years, his estimate feels more accurate.   As Randy apologizes for waking me, and blathers on about how strange he feels “doing this,” I am trying to think of an understanding but firm way of saying no when he finally gets around to asking for money. He has done it before, following the unfairly lost auditions, the furniture-stealing girlfriends, the vodka-smoothed rough patches of his past tough-luck decade. But in the end Randy surprises me when he takes a rattling, effortful breath and says, “Ben’s dead, Trev.”   Trev?   This is my first, not-quite-awake thought. Nobody’s called me that since high school, including Randy.   &ldquo
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From the Publisher

From acclaimed author Andrew Pyper, a gripping novel of psychological suspense about four men haunted by a secret from childhood.

There''s no such thing as an empty house...

Trevor, Randy, Ben and Carl grew up together in the small town of Grimshaw as many boys do--playing hockey on the local team, the Guardians, and forging friendships that run deep. Twenty-four years later, Trevor, recently diagnosed with Parkinson''s disease and faced with his own mortality, learns that his old friend Ben has committed suicide. He returns to Grimshaw to pay his respects and to reunite with Randy and Carl.
 
But going home means going back to the memories of a sinister crime that occurred in the abandoned house at 321 Caledonia Street--a crime that claws its way into the present, leaving its indelible mark on everyone. Chilling to the core and gripping in the extreme, The Guardians is taut psychological suspense that will leave you at once breathless and moved.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

ANDREW PYPER is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories, Kiss Me, which drew critical acclaim and heralded him as a writer to watch. His first novel, Lost Girls, was a national bestseller in Canada and a Notable Book selection in the New York Times Book Review and the London Evening Standard. The novel won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. His chilling follow-up novel set in the Amazon, The Trade Mission, was called "remarkable and compelling" by The London Times. His third novel, The Wildfire Season, was a national bestseller and acclaimed in Canada, the U.S. and Britain. His latest novel, The Killing Circle, a national bestseller and New York Times Notable book, was published in Fall 2008. The Guardians, as well as three of his previous novels, is being developed for feature film.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“The latest novel from Canadian author Pyper is an ambitious excursion into Stephen King territory. . . . With a well-executed narrative, both past . . . and present, strong characterization and some truly arresting images, The Guardians is a compelling and genuinely creepy read.” — The Guardian (UK) "Everything you could ask for in a thriller. It''s psychologically unnerving, moves like a bullet, and is fraught with so much tension you might crack a tooth reading it. Outstanding in every way." – Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River   "Pyper reveals his skill with pacing as the story takes on the speed of midnight dash through a graveyard. And please note: This is not schlock horror dripping with gore. Pyper expertly creates terror through mood and setting. We hear what keeps going bump in the night, but never quite see it." — The Globe and Mail "A splendidly eerie haunted house story, and a superb evocation of small town life. The Guardians gripped me from its opening line and never let go." – John Connolly, author of Every Dead Thing and The Lovers “A perfect haunted-house story, a crisp, eerie October night of a book that had me in its clutches from page one." – Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat  “So much more than a thriller. Truly great writing, haunting, intelligent, human, terrifying. Pyper is a genius.” – Deon Meyer, author of Thirteen Hours "A master of psychological suspense at its spine-ti
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