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The Man from Primrose Lane

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,068 ratings  ·  306 reviews
A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel

In West Akron, 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 only as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day in 2008, someone murdered him.

Four years later, David Neff is a broken man. The bestselling author of a true-crime book about
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published February 2012)
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Community Reviews

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i had no idea what i was getting into...

i came across this book at work when it first came in, and i was drawn to its cover, with its little subtle swirly bits and creepy dollface, and when i saw jonathan carroll had blurbed it, i put it on the mental to-read list. i didn't read any reviews of it, i didn't know anyone who had read it, and all i expected from it was a crime thriller involving mittens and obsession.

and so i was just reading along, doodley doodley doooo and then wait WHAT???

and aft
mark monday
open that door, open it. now step through it.

 photo tumblr_m48jttqlpH1qgbrt2o1_500_zpsa56a4f42.gif

Marion Black sings: Who knows what tomorrow will bring... maybe sunshine, maybe rain... but as for me I'll wait and see... maybe it'll bring my love to me... but several characters in this novel decide to not wait and see. what is tomorrow, what is yesterday? when it comes to love and other obsessions, "yesterday" and "tomorrow" are mere constructs to these characters, to be rearranged as they see fit. why wait for tomorrow when you can do something
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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“Are these things usually this complicated? They only appear to be. The explanation is always elegantly simple. I guarantee that when we find this man, we’ll smack ourselves for not seeing him sooner . . . Truth is always simple but it’s never that boring.”

Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way real quick. To begin with? The title. If it weren’t for my friend Trudi’s review, I would have never given this one a second glan

Holy shit snacks! What the hell did I just read? I frigging absolutely loved this book. It is such an awesome mindfuck. It's a locked Chinese box with so many secrets. It's a book that sneaks up on you with its pages and pages of normalcy and sweetness and sadness and intrigue. There's grief and loss, mystery and murder. Then -- when you are least expecting it -- KA-POW! It pounces from the left, and bites you from the right. It punches you in the face and kicks you in the kidneys.

Bruised, batt
Paquita Maria Sanchez
What an arresting, addictive little genre-tapdance, this novel. It's a matroyshka doll of a story masquerading as lit-fic murder mystery, which manages to combine the plot set-ups and Big Bads of a dozen or more X-Files episodes were they to mate with some random police procedural with more "realistic" intentions (already a stretch, I know, but you seriously have no idea the stretchy). I've maybe already said too much, but even my hint-hint shoulder-nudges won't take away from all the surprises ...more
I'm going to review this soon (mostly under a spoiler tag, cause there is no other way)......but, damn, this was one weird book! It probably had one of the most disgusting things I've ever read in it. My stomach is a flipping and a flopping.

I know EVERY place the author mentions in this book because I live in the same general area. I've eaten in the restaurants and had the same meals. I even lived in Loveland Ohio for a year-ish and I'm thankful to say I did not run across anything odd at the ti
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*

Firstly, I'll apologize for the fact that this review will be incredibly vague to ensure it is entirely spoiler free. In fact, I will not mention the plotline at all. I went into this book with no idea what I was getting into and I believe that is the best way to do it. To that end I am not even shelving it appropriately on here to avoid giving anything away.

If you want to know what it is about I'm sure there are spoiler laden reviews out there to read. This won't be one of them.

Renner's The M
Nov 26, 2011 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Adam by: James Renner
Shelves: fiction
The author of this book, James Renner, is a friend of mine.

Reading this book is like watching a freight train barrel toward you and being unable to move, while remembering a time in your past when you watched a freight train barrel toward you, only to wake up to find out there's a freight train barreling toward you.

This is the kind of novel that should appeal to anyone, and the ingredients it contains that aren't to your taste should be more than made up for by the things that are. There are thr
Because there is nothing I can say about this story without ruining it for those who haven't read it yet (and I don't trust you not to peek if I hide the spoilers -- don't deny it, you know you would), the only thing I can do is say this:

I LOVED this book.

I love it so much, I am, right now, thanking the author for writing it.

And I can assure you that I have never in my life felt compelled to do such a thing. But this book is truly that amazing and weird and wonderful. I can only think of one or
Read? Well, mostly. And I gave this book three stars, but if you read on, you will understand why I almost refused to rate it at all. I will be presenting a SPOILER, so if you intend to read this novel, then you may want to reconsider finishing this review. . .

OK. Still with me? I really liked the early portions of this book, which kept plopping down an array of mysteries that orbited the kidnapping/murder of three little girls, the disappearance of a twin, mysterious individuals who seemed det
If you liked Ender's Game this may be a novel for you. I cite Orson Scott Card and his self-delusions for a certain reason. The Man From Primrose Lane inspired such a foaming rage on my part, I could only think of Ender playing video games while REALLY saving the world. My bullshit immunity was breached, there was no vertigo nor fever. What a fucking hack, I screamed, well, muttered, as my wife was watching tv in the next room.

I wanted to like the book. I won't spoil such. Sweet stars above, af
Alissa Patrick
This is probably the hardest review I've had to write, mostly because I don't want to spoil the plot. So instead, I'll say a few bullet points.

1. WTF did I just read?

2. Did this author start writing a book, put it down, then a few months later start writing again but decided to write a completely different story? Because I've read some "twists" and "curveballs" in books before; this by far was the strangest and most twisty-turvy of them all

3. Is it a mystery, horror, fantasy sci fi.... answer? A
Emma Makes
The Text Publishing cover of The Man from Primrose Lane runs the line “PROMISE: You will have never read anything like this before.”

“That’s the case for every book you’ve never read,” points out my husband; and he’s right – but don’t let the marketing put you off this part crime novel, part sci-fi work that’s an incredibly enjoyable read… as long as you’re aware that it’s going to get wacko at about page 250.

The Man from Primrose Lane will hook you from the first sentence – it’s well written; de
While I understand there's a need for various sections in the bookstore and library, every once in a while a book comes along that defies you to easily shelve in one particular section or another. In the case, I find myself wishing that there was just a section of the store that was called "Good Books" or "Yes, You Really should Read This One Because It's Really Worth It."

Part mystery, part speculative fiction, The Man From Primrose Lane is one of those books that defies easy categorization.

Four-plus stars! Loved everything about this book: the writing, the characters, the plot. It started out one way and then BAM! it completely goes in another direction but then - no, WAIT! there's more! Loved every single twist and turn (figured out some, but not the others - and I was reading on high-alert the whole time looking for red flags and red herrings alike)! Had to reread the last 30 pages immediately just to make sure I understood everything that got thrown at you rapid-fire-style. If ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Erin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: karen
There is simply no way to review this book without completely spoiling it. It begins as a decent murder mystery then turns into....something completely different. And, weirdly, when that happens, you aren't even totally surprised. Suffice to say, even if you guess a small, small part of what will happen you could never imagine it all (in fact, I barely understand some of it now). Renner is inventive and talented, and though this book suffered from the loss of voice of one of its primary characte ...more
Chris Blocker
Genres are good. They narrow down the field and help us find the things we love. I support genres as an aid, not as a rule: it's good to not grow stagnant, become so enveloped in one area that we ignore the rest. But genres can be limiting. How do you classify some works which cross genres? And what the hell do you do with a book like The Man from Primrose Lane?

So my library has The Man from Primrose Lane in the Horror section. Sure, it has its grisly moments, but horror is one of the last genre
I'm liking this so far. I'm close to the end and I can sense it in my bag...beckoning me!

I just finished the book. First, this is the first book I have finished this quickly in years. I read all day at work and I just really gave up reading for pleasure, which is idiotic, but I'm glad this was the book that pulled me back in.

I gave it four stars because I loved it. But five stars is going to be saved for books that hold my heart over time. Chronicles of Narnia, books that I reread until t
When I heard that James Renner had his first novel coming out, I couldn't wait to read it. I absolutely loved his first two books so I figured that this one would be just as good. I started reading it and was hooked immediately. Part one was great! ...but then I got to the first interlude. That was when I realized there was an element of science fiction to this story. That was a huge disappointment because I am not a fan of sci-fi in any form. I kept reading, though. As it unfolded, the story ma ...more
No one really knew the Man from Primrose Lane. Tom Sackett always called him the Man with a Thousand Mittens because each time he left the house he appeared to be wearing a different pair. When he is found brutally murdered, the police try to track down his family only to find he was using a fake identity. With the investigation at a standstill, true crime writer and widower David Neff is approached by his publisher to write a book about the man and perhaps uncover the truth. But soon David beco ...more
Oh boy, where do I start with my thoughts about James Renner's The Man From Primrose Lane? I can say that this is a book that had me absolutely enthralled yet completely confused at times!

Published in January this year by Corsair, Constable & Robinson, this story really does stretch the mind and requires so much concentration that at times my head hurt. Despite this, I was utterly and truly hooked. I'm not going to go into the details of the story, to be honest, I'm still trying to work it a
Yep, this was definitely a genre bending read. I had the "big twist" figured out after reading about 1/4 of the book but still enjoyed seeing how everything unfolded.
I would warn anyone who decides to read this that they need to tackle the last section of the book with a well rested and open mind. A lot of "huh?" moments happen and even though they are intriguing and interesting you might need to take notes to follow all the twists and turns.
Leah Lucci
This book is DEFINITELY not what you think it is when you first start reading it. You're like "ah, a nice straightforward mystery novel about a guy who wears mittens and gets killed."

But shit starts getting super-weird pretty fast. Inexplicable events start happening that make you think either the author isn't good at his job or something is up.

Turns out something is up.

And if you're reading carefully, you can figure out what that something is at least 50 pages before the twist is revealed.

The enthusiastic blurb on the back cover from the amazingly under-appreciated Jonathan Carroll is all you really need to know. I want to give Renner's novel three and a half stars, because I was engaged from start to finish and it is very clever (especially the last twenty-five pages or so). The narrative did remind me of Carroll's work in so many ways (the tricky yet pleasurable combination of fantasy, science-fiction, literary realism, and, in this case, a nasty little criminal procedural whic ...more
I thought this was going to be a crime/mystery book. Nowhere in the description does it say anything about time-travel, so this book surprised me. The time travel also doesn't reveal itself until halfway through the book, so I was often left in the dark trying to figure out WHAT was going on ... The first half of the book I was literally confused with every passing page, I found myself struggling to read it, there was so much and nothing happening at the same time. It was all over the place. But ...more
I really enjoyed this and found it hard to put down. When I got to the WTF moment, I was thoroughly confused for about a chapter. But I will admit that "those" concepts (I am avoiding spoilers here) really baffle me. I think the author did a great job of tying all the plots together and I felt completely vested in the life of David Neff. I will be thinking of this one for a long time.
WHOA. I'm still not sure what I just read, but I loved every freaking word of it. I have never read anything like The Man from Primrose Lane before. You're just reading along, comfortable in the narrative and the genre, and then you're hit with twist that is completely out of left field and all the more awesome for it. In short, this novel BLEW MY MIND.
holy mother of lavender !!!!! this book is awesome as hell, the plot, the setting, the characters. The author is a very smart man, i mean who ever get this idea and make it into a book with good explanation without make the reader confuse? surly not him.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book for those who seek mystery, thriller, a good laugh, and also who those who love a little of sci-fi. I cannot believe that this book does not have a lot of reviews, and not so much ratings !!!

This book is basic
Now this a book that warrants serious attention from readers and critics alike. James Renner’s debut ‘The Man From Primrose Lane’ is marked by it’s refusal to conform to the normal boundaries of the crime fiction writing genre, and instead plays with the conventions of a linear story, imaginatively taking the reader in a whole new direction. Over the last few years it has not been unusual for renowned fantasy writers such as China Mieville and Tad Williams to circumvent the constraints of their ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

The Man from Primrose Lane. Man With a Thousand Mittens. No matter what you call him, he’s dead. In fact, he’s sitting in his living room in a pool of blood, one gunshot to the chest and missing all of his fingers. Those are in the blender, by the way, only so much mush now. When a young patrolman Tom Sackett responds to a call from the man’s delivery boy, he immediately senses something is wrong. He never could have imagi
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Man From Primrose Lane 1 13 Jan 21, 2015 12:13PM  
Some of The Girls: Semi-Recommend 1 10 Sep 11, 2012 09:04AM  
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Renner spends his spare time hunting serial killers and writing about his adventures. One of his true crime stories was published in the Best American Crime Reporting anthology. It was the first nonfiction true crime article to use a dream sequence as a narrative device.

Renner's debut novel, The Man from Primrose Lane, was published by Sarah Crichton Books, in 2012. His next book, The Great Forget
More about James Renner...
Amy: My Search for Her Killer: Secrets & Suspects in the Unsolved Murder of Amy Mihaljevic The Serial Killer's Apprentice: And 12 Other True Stories of Cleveland's Most Intriguing Unsolved Crimes It Came from Ohio Keepsakes Googleplex

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“The universe is absurd. People want to make sense of it because we’re hardwired to find reason in the randomness. We look for patterns in the chaos. See omens in coincidence. We look at the random distribution of stars in the sky and pretend they look like animals, call them constellations. For some reason, we want to give meaning to the meaningless. If you go looking for the number eighty-eight, you’ll see it everywhere—the number of keys on a piano, the number of counties in Ohio—but it doesn’t mean anything.” 3 likes
“And the process, the ritual, quieted the hum of his mind so he could write.” 1 likes
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