The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel by James RennerThe Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel by James Renner

The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel

byJames Renner

Paperback | September 9, 2014

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In West Akron, Ohio, there lived an elderly recluse who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family, and was known only 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 broken by 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. But the closer he gets to uncovering the man's true identity, the more he begins to understand the reality-altering power of his own obsessions-and how they may be connected to the deaths of the old hermit and David's beloved wife. Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner's The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious page-turner unlike anything you've ever read.

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.
Title:The Man from Primrose Lane: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.33 × 5.47 × 1.08 inPublished:September 9, 2014Publisher:PicadorLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250024161

ISBN - 13:9781250024169

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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

Editorial Reviews

"A thriller and a detective story, plus science fiction and romance with a little near-future dystopia thrown in.A superbly crazy and imaginative story." -Associated Press"Well written.Ambitious and innovative.If you like your fiction tidy and predictable, look elsewhere." -The Washington Post"Fascinating and unpredictable, with shades of Stephen King and HP Lovecraft as well as Douglas Adams, [The Man from Primrose Lane] never loses touch with the human story of loss, guilt and fate that is at its core." -Laura Wilson, The Guardian (UK)"The Man from Primrose Lane barrels along, fueled by Renner's addictive storytelling..It's quite the interesting ride." -The Denver Post"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"Features superbly drawn characters and escalates into a genre-bending narrative (noir, sci-fi, and more) of thrills and twists. A great choice for readers who enjoyed Tana French's In the Woods or any work by Philip K. Dick." -Library Journal"Brilliantly intricate. [with] a fantastic finish [and] compelling, interesting characters. I couldn't put The Man From Primrose Lane down." -SF Signal