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3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  186 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Punky Lucia Moberg turns sixteen in a week. She steals CDs from stores, argues with Mom, pines for the rebel boy next door. But adolescence ends fast in a mall parking lot when Luc's professor father is shot dead in an apparent botched stickup. The killer flees, and so ignites an inferno that will engulf all the women it touches: a mother whose domestic life is shrouded in ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published December 9th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published October 16th 2007)
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Jan 14, 2010 Viccy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shortlisted for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, Pyres is an extraordinary coming of age novel. Lucia Moberg is in the car when her college professor father is gunned down in the parking lot of the local mall. She is almost 16, born on St. Lucia Day, and her Swedish father has made sure she knows all about her Swedish ancestry and folklore. Life at home is not going well; her mother is growing ever more distant; her crush on the boy next door is not producing ...more
A very impressive debut novel. The action was tense, the characters (especially the females) were well drawn and memorable, and the small sprinkling of Swedish folklore throughout the plot was well integrated and never overdone. A worthy Edgar nominee for best novel of 2008.
Feb 11, 2016 Zoé rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: policiers, thriller
Histoire cruelle et malsaine que celle de Lou Moberg. Après avoir terminé ce roman, un grand vide s’est emparé de moi. Que devais-je penser? Devais-je aimer ou détester? Il ne semble pas pouvoir y avoir de juste milieu. Derek Nikitas a fait de son lecteur un témoin, invisible, mais un témoin. La narration commence par « il était une fois » mais que le prochain lecteur n’y prenne garde, il ne s’agit pas d’un conte ordinaire. Cruel, sanguinaire et froid. Page après page, l’univers est de plus en m ...more
n* Dalal
Mar 19, 2008 n* Dalal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery/thriller readers, people looking from a break from intricate literature, folks on vacation.
Derek is a PhD candidate in creative writing at GSU, and he's published his first novel already, and he's been nominated for a freaking Edgar award. I interviewed him for WRAS, and learned all kinds of interesting things about mystery writing from him, especially because I'm not much of a mystery reader.

His book is a really entertaining mystery/thriller. It centers on a 16-year-old girl who witnesses her father get murdered, and then her whole life falls apart. Her mother tries to kill herself,
Jan 09, 2014 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Far from being the literary thriller proclaimed by the numerous blurbs, Pyres is merely another below average piece of genre fiction that trades almost solely on grim, harrowing details in order to create a sense of dread instead of a sense of mystery (I saw nearly every revelation coming anywhere from 2 to 25 pages before the big reveals). In short, it's somewhat cliched.

Nikitas has ambition, but he rarely has the chops to back it up. The book it littered with useless or poetically rendered det
Jan 06, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was extremely difficult to finish, not because of poor writing, but because the brutality and violence was so unrelenting. But it was also difficult to put down. This reader found himself having to step away from time to time and then eagerly returning to it to find out where it would go next. The central character is a fifteen year-old girl, Luc (short for Lucia, and pronounced as Luke) who sees her father murdered and her mother attempt suicide and winds up the unwilling captive of some r ...more
May 24, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans, police procedural, family relationships
Sometimes you find a new novel and it's like discovering a new flavor of ice cream that you truly enjoy. You just want to go on and on and hope it doesn't end.
Such is the case with "Pyres" by Derek Nikitas.
The story centers on "Luc" Lucia, just turning 16 when she persuades her father to take her to the mall. Tragedy strikes and her father is killed at the mall in an attempted robbery.
Tanya is the pregnant girlfriend of Mason, a gang wannabe who seeks to impress his meth selling friends by killi
Ryan Mishap
I discovered this through Library Journal magazine and thought I was getting a novel--but I was getting a crime thriller hoping to be placed in the literary category. The main character is a "rebellious", sad young woman who's father--a professor fond of Norse myths--is murdered. This sends her mother off the deep end, and the bad boy next door suddenly takes an interest.
Meanwhile, the perpetrator of the crime tries to get in better with the gang while dealing with his pregnant girlfriend. Poi
May 12, 2011 JulesQ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JulesQ by: Ken Jennings
Shelves: 2011
I feel like I'm awarding too many high scores for books lately, but I've just been on a good streak I guess. This book loses a star for being a little bit more gruesome than I would have liked and because Nikitas killed the character I was rooting for the most. Lame.

But otherwise, I loved Nikitas's style, I though the plot was completely engrossing, and that the book found the right balance between catharsis and whatever the opposite of catharsis is. (Is there a word for that? I can't remember)
Emily H.
Aug 31, 2013 Emily H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm of Scandinavian descent: my great grandmother was Swedish and my great grandfather was Norwegian and they met in the US, in Minnesota of course. And so I liked all the Scandinavian folklore in this mystery. I don't often read mysteries, but liked the true grit of it all. There are some really nasty parts to it--things that happen in movies that are so much more vivid when you slowly read through the scenes. Overall, I thought it could have been about 200 pages shorter and still be really gre ...more
Nov 15, 2009 Wyma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a page turner, showing us realistic characters, particularly the teenager who is with her father when he is murdered, but that is only the beginning of the weirdness of Luc's family. She learns more about her mother from other family members as she realizes that her mother has left reality behind after the murder of her husband. Had the book had left off the horrors of the cutthroat biker gangs, I would have found it more credible. Certainly Luc is believable and we ache for her coming o ...more
Nov 10, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who reads
Recommended to Nancy by: just picked it up at the library
Who would have thought that the point of view of teenagers would be so intriguing? The book is basically about a teenage girl and the horrors she is exposed to, after an extremely toxic incident in her life. The would- be bad guys in the novel, are the lamest and most incompetent criminals I have ever encountered in the written word. One horrendous act of stupidity leads to infinitum. This may sound like a dumb premise to a mystery-thriller novel, but the author is such a genius...I ...more
Christy Sibila
Dec 28, 2011 Christy Sibila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I've gobbled up a book as quickly as Pyres. An excellent mix of mystery, Swedish mythology, and redemption through fire. I literally could not put it down, and cried at the last redemptive story twist on the final page. Be warned, this book is not for the faint-of-heart. Out and out carnage and mayhem rule this book, right from the initial act of violence; the seemingly random murder of a professor, and the impossible web of deceit, murder, and hell his death unwinds.
Feb 19, 2009 Kandice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book held my attention to the very end. It is a mix of mystery, suspense and even has hints of fantasy. Three women share the third-person view of this story, and I found it wonderful how each held it's own. Usually when there are several storylines, one grabs my attention and the others are read simply to make sure I miss nothing. With this, I was equally ready to read each section. A great read for those who love mystery.
Jan 28, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stunning first novel. The female characters, 15 year old Luc, her discontented mother Blair, the police detective Greta Hurd and the trailer trash biker girl/mother-to-be are all vividly drawn. The plot has twists and turns that keep the reader guessing - and engaged. The dystopian world of Rochester bikers is a little too well done - it's extremely creepy.
Feb 03, 2008 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
this book has blurbs on the back calling it a "coming of age" novel, which it IS NOT. the main character is 16 and some really horrific things happen, but it's a psychological thriller and mystery book, which happens to have a 16-year-old main character. not a bad read. but not a coming of age story, at all.
Aug 09, 2009 Garryvivianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty good book with very interesting characters & the story line was very good. A 15 year old girl is out with her father when he gets killed & that starts her whole crazy story which involves her mother, her hoodlum neighbor, a motorcycle thug & his pregnant girlfriend and a homicide investigator. I thought this was well written.
Apr 02, 2012 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was simply amazing, ESPECIALLY for a debut novel! But it was incredible for any book, and I don't have any critique for it. I've never read a murder mystery in my life and apparently I've really been missing out. It was rather sad at times, but intense and real and so well-written. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Lucia Moberg's father is killed while Lucia is in the back seat. This is the beginning of a series of incredibly terrible things that happen to Lucia. It is a terribly violent novel that eventually goes over the top. Derek Nikitas must be a fan of movies like Die Hard because in his novels have similarity in that some of the bad guys and of course the movie or book's hear just won't die.
Feb 11, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing but compelling book. Well developed characters with various intersecting plotlines. While there are teen characters, fairly graphic sex scenes and violence make this appropriate for older teens.
Jul 20, 2009 Sherri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an ok book - Not the best I've read this year, and not the worst - Just average. On the cover, there is a statement that this is a coming-of-age story, which it is definitely NOT. However, the storyline was intriguing enough to keep me reading.
Nov 25, 2009 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murder mystery unravels as a young girl finds out that life is really ugly underneath it all. A classic example of situations that appear so normal on the surface, are really quite the horrible mess in reality. Good characterization and descriptions.
Oct 31, 2013 Stan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could not finish.
Sep 21, 2011 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
like reading a well-written version of a horrible kidnapping story
lots of to-different-degrees unappealing characters caught up in a bad situation
Mar 13, 2008 Pam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
03/12/08 rec via bookmooch
Feb 21, 2016 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the best thrillers i've read in years...not for the faint of heart, a lot of pretty bad things happen in the book, but wow, what a ride.
Jul 15, 2014 Fwdecker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
7. Really should be a 3.5 on stars
Adrienne Furness
Really well-written, and it surprised me over and over. It's set in Rochester, too, and so it was fun reading about places I know well.
Feb 20, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
honored to have met this author, was a professor at brockport college when i was student.

this book is truly unique and rewarding read.
Feb 05, 2009 Julianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
for noir crime fans
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Derek Nikitas is the Edgar-award nominated author of the crime/mystery novels *Pyres* and *The Long Division* (a Washington Post Best Book of 2009 selection).

He has also written a science fiction adventure novel for Young Adults called *Extra Life* and has co-written several "Bookshots" books with bestselling novelist James Patterson, including *Diary of a Succubus* and *You've Been Warned--Again.
More about Derek Nikitas...

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