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3.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  415 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
A stunning literary thriller set in rural Vermont from the much praised author of Nightswimmer and Clara's Heart
Catherine Winslow, taking a walk during an early spring thaw, discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house in the Upper Valley of Vermont. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes it as the latest victim of a serial ki
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Minotaur Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,217)
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May 30, 2012 Jon rated it it was ok
I'm not sure where the recommendation came from to read this book, but it had a long waiting list at the library, so I expected it to be much better than it was. It all seemed flat to me--characters that didn't really gel, conversations that led nowhere, investigators improbably revealing all aspects of the case to the first person narrator, a pot-bellied pig that lived with the narrator indoors in her house in Vermont (for no particular reason except that a friend of the author apparently had o ...more
Liz Barnsley
Feb 11, 2014 Liz Barnsley rated it really liked it
Thank you Arcadia!

Catherine Winslow, taking a walk during an early spring thaw, discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house in the Upper Valley of Vermont. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes it as the latest victim of a serial killer, a woman reported missing weeks before during a January blizzard. Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, now a household hints columnist, Catherine is disturbed and galvanized by her discovery and with the help o
Mar 11, 2012 Anne rated it it was ok
Shelves: x-read-in-2012
When I read this book was described as a psychological thriller I was drawn to the story. However, I found it to be more of a traditional who-dun-it. The reader follows the investigation through the narration of Catherine Winslow who writes a household hints column and who, in the book's opening sentence, has discovered a woman's body near her home. The body is only one of a series of women who are believed to be victims of a serial killer. There were quite a few things about this novel that jus ...more
Sharon Chapter One, Page One..
Only * * stars from me unfortunately.

I just couldn't connect with this read. I didn't find it really fit in it's genre as a crime/thriller. It wasn't gritty enough, disturbing enough, or shocking enough! I found it to be a who-dunnit which is in fact the only reason I finished the book - I did want to know who done it.

I didn't connect with the characters and found the story flat and un-inspiring. I rarely give up on finishing a book but I contemplated it a few times with this one.

Sadly just didn
I have always loved thriller/mystery novels but for some reason I have been shying away from them in recent years. When I saw this book listed as a Goodreads giveaway I decided to take a chance on a thriller. I was disappointed in the story, but also enjoyed the suspense so it wasn’t a total loss.

What bothered me most is what I perceive as a lack of reality. The main character, Catherine, was previously a reporter for a major newspaper but hasn’t been in that field for some years. However, her n
Jun 28, 2012 Jay rated it it was ok
My first exposure to Joseph Olshan was his novel, The Conversion. I heard about that book through a review on NPR in 2008 that used adjectives like “spark” and “glisten.” The review concluded by noting that Olshan in The Conversion created a “world that’s quite fascinating to inhabit.” I read the book and was disappointed in neither the plotting nor the writing.

In 2012, when I saw Olshan’s name on Cloudland I didn’t hesitate to add this work to my reading list. This second work, however, didn’t
Cloudland by Joseph Olshan is a murder mystery with strong psychological twists and turns. The setting of Vermont (with wee bits of New Hampshire) highlights the rural landscape. The story opens quickly as the main character, Catherine Winslow finds a body while walking up her road. For most people this would have been the end of the story, but not for Catherine. Her neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist as well as other characters in the rural area slowly ramp up her involvement. She begins to reco ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Cheryl rated it liked it
Catherine Winslow is retired. She used to work for a major newspaper as a reporter. Catherine lives on a quiet street on Cloudland. Nothing is supposed to happen there. Well nothing like a dead body of a woman.

Catherine recognizes the woman, once she gets a good look at her. Her name is Angela Parker. She is the latest murder victim. Poor Angela, her body was dumped and not found until the snow started thawing.

Catherine didn’t plan on getting involved in the murder case but she can’t help it.
Apr 25, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-trhiller
Cloudland, a dazzling debut in crime fiction, is set in Vermont’s rural upper Connecticut River valley, a place that is normally safe for its residents. But then the peace is disturbed by a serial killer who murders young women, leaves them by a tree and is very careful to hide all traces of his identity.

Enter Catherine Winslow, CLOUDLAND’S narrator, a divorced woman, former journalist and teacher whose life is falling apart. She has lost her teaching job for having had an affair with a student
Crystal Craig
Nov 06, 2015 Crystal Craig rated it it was ok
I struggled with Cloudland. The plot described something that would be right up my alley. The cover is beautiful. Unfortunately, I was left feeling quit disappointed. The main problem was my inability to connect with any of the characters including the main character retired reporter, Catherine Winslow.

I would normally give up on a book that didn’t interest me after one-hundred or so pages, but I stuck with this one because I was at work and didn’t have a back-up book (I know how shameful of me
Douglas Lord
Aug 25, 2015 Douglas Lord rated it it was ok
Ah, spring (almost summer!)! Put away your cat sweaters, hike, bike‚ and let the bodies be revealed by snowmelt: And to think that each time I went for a walk I had passed within fifteen yards of this mother of two lying in a vault of snow that would entomb her for the rest of January and February and most of March. Awfuler: the murderer staged the victim to appear gradually like a budding flower. Unfortunately, this great, gruesome start leads nowhere. Readers get all the superfluous details of ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Samantha rated it liked it
Cloudland is a thriller/mystery novel set in rural Vermont which centres on Catherine Winslow previously a reporter for major newspaper now living in a remote location and who writes a household hints column for a magazine. Out walking one morning during an early spring thaw she discovers a body of a woman leaning against an apple tree. The woman appears to be the latest victim of a serial killer who was reported missing some weeks earlier during a blizzard. Catherine discovers the killer appear ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Mkb rated it liked it
Some of the enjoyable things about this book were the details about Vermont landscape and architecture. Also the "shout out" to Wilkie Collins.

I enjoyed it as a whodoneit, but usually in the genre when there are a number of characters who could be the guilty party swirling around, there is a reason why the list of candidates is limited. For example, they all might be at an isolated country house, or on an island or a boat or something. There were lots of tantalizing possibilities for who the ki
Apr 02, 2012 Carol rated it it was ok
Meh. Not literary, not a thriller, not very suspenseful. Wooden characters, stilted dialogue, too many plot lines and backstories, dopey deus ex machina events to move the plot along, and a half-ass ending.
Oct 25, 2014 Claire rated it did not like it
Oh man, this book just irritated me beyond a doubt. Some of the narratives were delightful, but the characters...I just hated Matthew and Catherine, and I felt absolutely no sympathy for them. In the end, I just wanted her untimely death; the only one I felt bad for was Breck, having to live with such a cretin. I was so frustrated that I had to read a bit of a book I cherished, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I can't see why so many people rated this so highly, just no.
Mar 10, 2015 Mary rated it liked it
Cloudland was really nice! It was a different and refreshing book, written not from a policeman's POV, nor a victim's, nor a detective's, but from an external witness. This was a novel about a character who stumbled on a corpse and got caught amidst the chaos of a crime, PDs, and investigations so the personal ups and downs, life, work and current reality is done in really good doses just as it would be in real life. It was really interesting to see how the involvement in a crime changes the lif ...more
Jun 06, 2014 Fictionophile rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Cloudland. Think snow instead of clouds. Think murky… unclear.
After an arduous Vermont winter, Catherine Winslow decides to get some fresh air and goes for a walk along her rural Cloudland road. She finds an incongruous spot of colour amidst the white snow patches and dark areas of spring melt. When she investigates she realizes that she has just discovered the body of a woman who has been missing for months. It was assumed that the woman was the victim of a serial killer - as other woman had m
Sue Wargo
Jun 29, 2012 Sue Wargo rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I chose this book to add to my reviews for my blog. In our blog ( we are reviewing mysteries where the setting or place is crucial to the telling of the story. Set in Vermont, one of my favorite places in the world, I was thrilled to find a new author. Olshan is a skilled writer and his lead character Catherine Winslow is a former noted reporter who is now reporting in a small town area in southern Vermont and writing about household tips. Catherine finds the ...more
Jul 17, 2012 Hallie rated it really liked it
"Cloudland" is both the evocative title of Joseph Olshan's new novel and the remote, sparsely populated area of rural Vermont where it is set. Against the backdrop of a Vermont spring, with roads "clotted" with mud and ponds that "caved in with a bellow,"<6> a missing nurse turns up sitting under an apple tree in a pink parka in the late March sun and looking for all the world as if she's "tanning in a crater of melting snow." <3> It turns out she was "stabbed and dumped" there befor ...more
This is a free book from goodreads-first-reads.

"A stunning literary thriller set in rural Vermont from the much praised author of Nightswimmer and Clara's Heart
Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, Catherine Winslow has retreated to the Upper Valley of Vermont to write a household hints column. While out walking during an early spring thaw, Catherine discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes her as the l
Oct 04, 2014 Megan rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I barely made it through this book. The writing was absolutely terrible. The prose was clumsy, wooden, and inefficient. The dialogue served very little purpose in about 60 percent of the conversations other than as information dumps or as needless small talk. I cringed at least once a page.

As to the story itself, it reads almost like a YA novel--the first person narrator spends a good amount of time thinking about her ex-boyfriend and a whole lot of tension is built up about what he did to her o
Apr 03, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Joseph Olshan

My Speedy Summary...

Women are found stabbed and strangled and left dead in various spots. They all have religious literature stuffed in their pockets. No one has a clue who the killer might be.

My Thoughts After Reading...

Whew...this book is complicated but in a very good and intense way. There are lots of characters and lots of reasons to suspect quite a few of them. This novel is beautifully written...takes place in a lovely part of the country and the main character i
Kathleen Hagen
Cloudland, by Joseph Olsham, b-plus, Narrated by Eliza Foss, Produced by Audible Inc., downloaded from

Catherine Winslow lives in rural Vermont and writes a household hints column. She takes her dogs out for a walk one morning and finds the body of a woman leaning against a tree with Seventh Day Adventist literature in her coat. It has been a cold snowy winter, and the woman, who went missing a few weeks earlier, is very well preserved. Catherine’s neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist,
Apr 22, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
I received this book in an Advanced Read Copy giveaway at Goodreads.

There seems to be a trend in book descriptions. The word thriller is frequently used, especially in conjunction with mysteries. This book is beautiful and elegant, but definitely not what I consider a thriller. In my opinion, it's more about relationships than it is about murder and mystery. There are more words devoted to relationships than actual murders and solving of murders. The inclusion of a character who is a psychiatris
Jul 21, 2012 Angela rated it it was ok
I received this as a First Readers giveaway from Goodreads, and was very jazzed about it because I never win anything! I do wish that I could give this a better review though, but quite honestly, I didn't enjoy it at all, though I did manage to finish it.

The main problem with this novel is the narrator, Catherine. I don't know if the author intended for her to be so... thoroughly unlikable, snippy, narcissistic and cold? - but that's how she came across to me from the first few pages on, and I
Reed Raab
Dec 25, 2014 Reed Raab rated it liked it
Recommended to Reed by: Goodreads Giveaways
Shelves: giveaways, reviewed
Catherine Winslow goes out for a stroll by her house one morning only to stumble across the body of a strangled and stabbed woman frozen in the snow. It’s one of many of a serial killer still at large but something feels off about it. Catherine and her fellow neighbors start piecing this investigation together while wondering if one of their own is somehow involved in the case.

The story keeps me engaged throughout with wonderful imagery of Vermont’s changing seasons and a literary vocabulary not

I’d Recommend to: The fella’s sister (a current Vermont resident), my freshman year American lit professors

My Review:
In 2012, I discovered I love mysteries/thrillers – anything that’s designed to build suspense. As part of that love, sometimes I find a few bad apples in the mix. Cloudland was, unfortunately, one of those bad apples.

I guess that’s not completely fair – it’s not bad in the sense that it’s terrible. In fact, it was an okay book. I doubt
Apr 13, 2012 Debbie rated it it was ok
I'm not normally a huge fan of mysteries or thrillers. Occasionally one will come along that I really enjoy so I give them a try every now and then. This one sounded interesting on Goodreads, I entered to win it and......I did! When it arrived I settled down to read it.

Within the first few pages I began to wonder if this was going to be a book I had to force myself to read. There was something about the writing style which was putting me off. Luckily whatever it was either resolved itself soon a
Nov 29, 2013 Tripfiction rated it really liked it
VERMONT - when the snows recede......

Cloudland is a 'crime' novel – and that is probably its least satisfactory contribution. The plot seems contrived as detective Marco Prozzo turns from one suspect to another throughout the book, and the denouement is truly unexpected and unforeseen – largely I suspect because Olshan wants to shock us with an unpredictable conclusion. I prefer a book where the reader has the opportunity to work out the ending from implanted clues as the story goes along. Cloud
Susan Ashcraft
Apr 01, 2012 Susan Ashcraft rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
We enter the life of former investigative reporter Catherine Winslow when she makes the gruesome discovery of a very dead body in a bright pink parka sitting in the orchard, under an apple tree, just a short walk up road from her old farmhouse on Cloudland Road.

The latest in a string of murders committed in and around the northern Vermont area, this one raises some very serious questions about the possibility of there being more than one killer.

Still reeling from a failed love affair, loss of
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Joseph Olshan is an award-winning American novelist. His first novel, Clara's Heart, won the Times/Jonathan Cape Young Writers' Competition and went on to be made into a feature film starring Whoopi Goldberg. He is the author of eight novels, the most recent of which, The Conversion, will be published in 2008.

In addition to his novels, he has written extensively for newspapers and magazines, incl
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