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Nerve Damage

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  545 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Sometimes the dead live on in your dreams . . . at least that's true for Roy Valois. His wife, Delia, died fifteen years earlier while working for a private think tank and he has never forgotten her. Roy is a well-known sculptor in the art world. His newest piece, a magnificent creation he calls Delia, has just been finished, a sign that he's found a little closure at last ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by William Morrow & Company (first published January 1st 2007)
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Scott Bagley
Nov 11, 2011 Scott Bagley rated it it was amazing
The low overall rating of this book really surprises me. It has all the subtle creepiness of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window." Sort of a "is-there-something-weird-going-on-or-is-it-just-my-imagination," kind of a way about it. With the other references to "Oblivion," I need to pick that one up and read it too. This one is highly recommended.

I don't often re-read books, but I just re-read this one. Still really like it, some of the dialog was getting to me, but the storytelling is top-notch.
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams was the latest audiobook I listened to in my car during my commute. It is about a scupltor, Roy Valois, who learns he is dying of an inoperable, incurable cancer. On a whim, he looks up and reads the obituary that will be printed about him in the New York Times. He finds that it inaccurately states where his dead wife worked, and he makes it his mission to investigate and correct this mistake. But is it a mistake? Or are there secrets his wife never told him?

I woul
...more
Suzanne Auckerman
Jan 29, 2010 Suzanne Auckerman rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I have always been interested in reading the entire library. Many years ago, I went to the stacks in fiction and started at the beginning and got bogged down before I got out of the A's. However, I decided to try it again with books on CD at the local library. The first book there was Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams. I don't know literary genres that well, but I would classify it as mystery/thriller. It hooked you early on and in spite of its faults I had to finish it. The worst was the dialogue. ...more
Mary
Dec 07, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok
It was difficult to get through this one, but by the time I realized how much I disliked it, I really had invested too much time in it to give up.

This is the story of a metal sculptor who discovers he has an inoperable cancer...he has 4 months (or so) to live. He manages to sneak a peak at his NYT obituary, and is puzzled by the entry concerning his late wife. Investigation ensues, and conspiracy looms large. I am not particularly fond of conspiracy stories (which is the only reason I cut this b
...more
Tiffeny
Oct 16, 2012 Tiffeny rated it it was ok
For a while, I thought I was enjoying this book. Alas, it was not to be. While it did suck me in a little, it really wasn't a fun read. Too many flaws. The main character wasn't overly likeable, and seemed so dense most of the time. Maybe the things he said and did were due to his illness and the treatment he was receiving, but if so, that wasn't made clear, so it just led me to believe that he was an idiot. I did enjoy his flashbacks to his relationship with his wife, but there again wondered h ...more
Maddy
Dec 31, 2013 Maddy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
PROTAGONIST: Roy Valois, sculptor
RATING: 3.25
WHY: Roy Valois is a famed sculptor whose wife, Delia, died 15 years earlier. After a conversation with one of his friends, Roy finds a way to hack into the New York Times files to look at his own obituary to see if it mentions one of his sports achievements. He finds that the information about his wife's occupation is incorrect and tries to get the reporter to correct it. The reporter swears that it is incorrect and is killed shortly thereafter. Chas
...more
Su
Mar 07, 2014 Su rated it liked it
Disappointed.

From Publishers Weekly

In this gripping political suspense novel from Edgar-finalist Abrahams (Echo Falls), Vermont sculptor Roy Valois has never recovered from the tragic death of his beloved wife, Delia, in a helicopter accident while on a humanitarian mission to Honduras. Delia worked for the Hobbes Institute, "a think tank specializing in third-world economic problems." Roy's internal scars have kept him at a distance from others, even as the effects of asbestos exposure in his
...more
Trish
Mar 24, 2010 Trish rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Another enjoyable Abrahams thriller, devoured in a day. It doesn't quite match "Oblivion" and "End of Story," possibly because the spy shenanigans are less plausible (although maybe that's my naivete talking).

Sculptor Roy Valois is a virile 47, still playing hockey with his buddies, skiing and snowshoeing and seriously considering proposing to his 34-year-old girlfriend. But then Roy gets some very bad news--lung cancer, the kind caused by asbestos exposure (the legacy of a long-ago summer job)
...more
LJ
NERVE DAMAGE (Suspense-Roy Valois-Vermont-Cont) – G+
Abrahams, Peter – Standalone
Wm. Morrow, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780061137976
First Sentence: Sometimes the dead live on in your dreams.
*** Metal sculptor Roy Valois has just finished a masterful piece of sculpture he names for his late wife, Delia and plays an exceptional game during his local hockey night. When talking with a friend and wondering whether his goal that night would someday be mentioned in his obituary, he solicits the help of
...more
Sally
Apr 22, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it
Wow, what a good book. I do not believe I ever read a book by this author! I was hooked from the beginning! . I loved the character of Roy and Delia, not to mention his friends. Roys wife has been dead for 15 years. He is just about to ask Jen to marry him when he gets a terrible nose bleed and a cough he cannot get under control. He finds out that he has Mesothelioma and there is no cure. It comes from exposure to asphalt, which he has no memory of ever having. From there the story becomes fast ...more
Billie
Apr 07, 2010 Billie rated it liked it
I always pick up books about artists so naturally I picked up Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams.

I enjoyed the story immensely at first, a sculptor lost his wife in a tragic accident. Sealing himself off from the world he retreats to an backwoods studio to continue work on his masterpiece, a sculpture named for his wife. After receiving a hockey injury that doesn't seem to heal Roy, our sculptor, learns of his fatal illness and bad prognosis.

While in treatment Roy becomes to believe that his wife
...more
Jeannette
Feb 02, 2016 Jeannette rated it it was amazing
I was braced for the suspense, after reading The Tutor, but in this book it's a bit gentler, and while the plot feels a little stretched in places, the book holds together nonetheless. It's as much a meditation on mortality, illness, machismo, and art as it is a kickass psychological thriller.
Tracy
Apr 22, 2011 Tracy rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, abandoned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annabel
Jul 15, 2015 Annabel rated it did not like it
This book was confusing from the start. So confusing I didn't make it past page 50. I can honestly say that I expected more from Abrahams, but I guess not in this book. When you read the summary, it's straight-out and clear, not at all like the content of the book.
Rae Borman
Sep 28, 2015 Rae Borman rated it it was ok
I listened to this as an audio book and agree with a comment stated below - this narrator was not a good choice. Each sentence had the same intonation, so it ended up feeling very boring rather than exciting. That said, I stuck through it all because I wanted to know how it would end. I'm not going to go looking for more by Abrahams at this point though.
Jenny
May 23, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it
I keep running into these books where a man's wife has been working for a secret organization and the husband didn't know. Overall, this book was good and had an interesting story line. The characters were real and believable. It just wasn't my kind of book that I can get into.
Lori
Jan 03, 2008 Lori rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007december
It took me about 40 pages to figure out what in the hell the mystery was going to be. I know Abrahams genre, and I was confused about why this was a book about a dying artist.

And then it clicked.

The suspense felt forced most of the time -- turns out the mystery had started 15 years before, and the protagonist was just now getting on the ball. Plus, that whole dying thing was going on (tick tock, tick tock). It was hard to care about some covert CIA-type operation without really seeing any of it
...more
Dan Beaver
Feb 15, 2014 Dan Beaver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I had never heard of Abrahams before picking this book up for a quarter in a library sale; Very pleasantly pleased, and this will not be the last book of his that I read.
Alicia
Dec 22, 2007 Alicia rated it liked it
A well-known sculptor, still in love with the wife who died 15 years earlier, manages to get a copy of his pre-written obituary and reads that his wife, who he believed worked for a think tank, worked for the UN. As he investigates this bizarre anomaly, he gets in some pretty deep stuff. I actually thought it was going to turn out that he was imagining the whole thing--there are a few red herrings that made me think so, or else I just assumed there was more to the story than this silly mystery/a ...more
Lynn
Mar 26, 2008 Lynn rated it liked it
Roy, a Vermont sculptor is dying - and he doesn't really know why. Supposedly, he has a rare disease which one can only contract through exposure to asbestos, and he feels sure he never has been. His beloved wife, Deliah was supposedly killed in a helicopter crash 15 years earlier. But was she? Lots of intrigue and subplots which, in my opinion weren't satisfactorily resolved. Not that they weren't resolved, if taken at face value. I guess I just expected more. I didn't like the way he dealt wit ...more
Frederick Bingham
Roy Valois is a sculptor living in small town Vermont. His wife Delia had died 15 years ago. She worked for a shadowy think tank in DC and was supposed to have died in Venezuela in a humanitarian operation. Roy finds out that he has mesothelioma, a fatal form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. He hacks into the New York Times file server and finds his obituary. In it there is a small error where the author misidentifies the place where Delia worked. Roy determines to spend his last mont ...more
Brian
Jan 09, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Roy is a great character, and a lucky one. This book had me hooked the whole time.
Melanie
Aug 15, 2015 Melanie rated it liked it
I usually don't read books like this, but this character's tenacity and humanity made the mystery more real.
Sharon
Apr 23, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
Interesting how an attempt to correct an error in his own pre-written obituary can trigger such an avalanche of events. The deeper he digs, the more twists he encounters. After this, I'd like to find more by Abrahams.
Jennifer
Sep 19, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I probably would've enjoyed this better if I hadn't read Oblivion as well. It's as if P.A. had an idea - lets have a protaganist struggling to solve a mystery and its not just a race against time - its a race against his own body falling apart. Then can't decide, should the hero have brain cancer or lung cancer. Here's the solution write a book about each. This one is the lung cancer one - Oblivion is the brain cancer one. I can't decide which was better, this one was less violent the hero is an ...more
Linda
Apr 08, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
I enjoyed this mystery. I listened to it on CD in the car (one way to get more reading done). I wish the ending had been a little neater but I like things tied up in a bow, so that is a personal preference. I liked the main character's persistence in the face of serious obstacles. The reader did a terrific job and that is an absolute requirement for an audio book. That seems obvious but I have ejected the CD when I couldn't stand a reader. I wouldn't put this at the top of my to read list but it ...more
Marsha
Page turning story of a famous sculptor who upon finding he has a fatal illness, sneaks a peek at the obituary archived
for publication at the time of his death. Finding an error about his deceased wife's employment, he contacts the responsible reporter who winds up dead.

Dissatisfied and alarmed he seeks to find out the truth about his wife's past while undergoing experimental medical treatment which may or may not be adding to his confusion.
Although the ending was disappointing, it was a worthw
...more
Brett Taylor
Nov 07, 2014 Brett Taylor rated it really liked it
A thriller.
Emily
Jan 30, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
3.5
Jackie
Sep 30, 2015 Jackie rated it really liked it
Good
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Peter Abrahams is the author of numerous novels, including End of Story, Oblivion, and Lights Out, which was nominated for an Edgar best novel award. He also writes the best-selling Echo Falls series for younger readers. He lives on Cape Cod.

Peter Abrahams is also writing under the pseudonym Spencer Quinn (Chet
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