The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel

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The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel

by James Renner

Farrar, Straus And Giroux | November 7, 2013 | Hardcover

The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.

A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel

In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him.

Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens,” David decides to investigate. What he finds draws him back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. And the closer David gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both the old hermit and his beloved wife.

Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner’s The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious debut that boasts as many twists as a roller coaster. But beneath its turns, it’s a spellbinding story about our obsessions: the dangerous sway they have over us and the fates of those we love.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.29 × 6.33 × 1.36 in

Published: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374200955

ISBN - 13: 9780374200954

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliantly plotted Pros: brilliantly intricate plot, fantastic finish, compelling, interesting characters / Cons: some disturbing imagery, some gross imagery, complicated plot was sometimes hard to follow / David Neff hasn't written since his wife's suicide 4 years ago, on the day they were to bring their new baby home from the hospital. So when his agent suggests he try his hand at solving the murder of the Man from Primrose Lane, he baulks. But his naturally obsessive nature takes over and he soon discovers that the case is connected to that of his wife, whose twin sister was kidnapped in front of her eyes when they were ten. / The first 231 pages of this novel are straight up crime fiction. The author, James Renner, has written two true crime books, and so knows what's required to investigate the kinds of cases David Neff faces. This section of the novel tells about David's present and two parts of his past: his meeting and marriage to Elizabeth and the murder case he solves (and subsequently writes a book about). This case, something he obsesses over for many years, requires crime scene descriptions of rape and murder victims, most of whom are children. The imagery, while not gratuitous, caused this reviewer some unease, as did some of the gross descriptions found in the book. While hearing that someone vomits is fine, knowing WHAT they've vomited up... isn't something this reviewer was prepared to learn. One scene in particular caused this reviewer some concern for the contents of her own stomach. / The last third of the novel is pure science fiction. The SF is fundamental to the story and complicates the already complicated plot. In many ways this segment of the book reminded me of the movie Primer. It would have been incredibly helpful to have a flowchart of what happened to whom and when. Even before this segment, keeping characters straight was a bit of a challenge. And unlike most books, where you can flip back through the linear narrative to refresh your memory, trying to find earlier passages - with the way the book jumps through time - was tough. / The mystery was very compelling and David's character fascinating. And once I learned the twist I couldn't put the book down. There were a few things that appeared to be plot holes but the author meticulously dealt with each one before finishing the book. Indeed, the ending was absolutely brilliant. / The Man from Primrose Lane is not for the faint of heart but is ultimately rewarding for those who finish the book.
Date published: 2012-03-13

– More About This Product –

The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel

by James Renner

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.29 × 6.33 × 1.36 in

Published: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374200955

ISBN - 13: 9780374200954

About the Book

With a deft and singular blend of suspense, literature, and horror, "The Man from Primrose Lane" boasts as many twists and turns as a roller coaster. It's a spellbinding journey of redemption and a reflection on the roles of fate, destiny, and obsession when it comes to matters of the heart.

Read from the Book

EPISODE ONE THE WORLD ACCORDING TO DAVID NEFF   David Neff missed a lot of things about his wife, but the thing he missed the most was the way she used to sit on couches, leaning against one giant pillow, her knees tucked up against her chest, her legs trailing behind her as she watched a Lifetime movie or some ridiculous reality show. He pointed out to her once, before she died, that no man ever sits on a couch like that, that it was a uniquely feminine trait. It was a little thing that delighted him. He loved the carefree way she moved her feet to the rhythm of the lights on the screen. When he finally went through her things two months after she was in the ground, he’d found a photograph of her as a child, curled up on her parents’ sofa in the exact manner he remembered. He’d stuck the photo to the refrigerator. It was still there, next to the over-outlined caricature drawings of their four-year-old boy. Like most Thursday afternoons, David was on the living room floor, in front of the couch—her couch—with a bowl of SpaghettiOs in his lap, a bag of Kettle Chips to his right, watching an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants he’d seen five times, but TiVo’d anyway. The boy, Tanner, napped upstairs. David was a once-handsome man who had grown pudgy around the edges. His dark hair hung too long above his eyes, a bit too gray for thirty-four. Three-day-old stubble shaded his double chin. A dollop of dried ketchup was smeared across the
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From the Publisher

A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel

In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him.

Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens,” David decides to investigate. What he finds draws him back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. And the closer David gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both the old hermit and his beloved wife.

Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner’s The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious debut that boasts as many twists as a roller coaster. But beneath its turns, it’s a spellbinding story about our obsessions: the dangerous sway they have over us and the fates of those we love.

About the Author

James Renner is the author of two books of nonfiction that detail his adventures in investigative journalism: Amy: My Search for Her Killer and The Serial Killer’s Apprentice. His work has been featured in Best American Crime Reporting and Best Creative Nonfiction. He lives in Ohio.

Editorial Reviews

“ The Man from Primrose Lane is a well-told story filled with darkness, horror, humor and surprising tenderness. And that’s just the first part. There is a moment in this novel when the story moves in a way so unexpected I actually had to put it down and catch my breath. Go ahead, see what I mean. I’ll wait here for you.” —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe   “ The Man from Primrose Lane is one of those novels that will leave you torn: you’ll want to read it slowly, in order to savor every scene, but you’ll feel compelled to rush through the pages to discover what happens next. With uncommon skill and intelligence, James Renner weaves an intricate story of murder, abduction, and obsessive love. An incredible achievement—beautifully written and dazzlingly plotted, full of well-drawn characters and unexpected twists.” —Harry Dolan, author of Bad Things Happen and Very Bad Men   “ The Man from Primrose Lane is a haunting, wickedly clever book. Part Dennis Lehane and part Murakami, the twist of H. P. Lovecraft mixed in gives it a taste like no other. James Renner starts off his fiction career with a bang.” —Jonathan Carroll, author of The Ghost in Love “Set in the near future, this ambitious, genre-bending debut novel from investigative reporter Renner ( Amy: My Search for Her Killer ) opens with the brutal torture and killing of an e
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