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Live Flesh

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  764 ratings  ·  45 reviews
As their worlds collide, an ex-con and his victim struggle to make sense of their violent past and forge a new future

When Victor Jenner emerges from prison he finds himself inexorably drawn to the man who put him there—the policeman he’d shot a bullet through and paralyzed for life. But it seems that David Fleetwood isn’t the sort to hold a grudge, and neither is his ravis
ebook, 272 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,210)
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Krok Zero
I wasn't going to write a review of this but I feel like I want to get back into the "swing" of Goodreads.

This is my first Ruth Rendell book but I know a fair bit about her. I know that her corpus is divided into two camps--the detective mystery series starring a recurring police inspector (my mom loves these books but they sound boring to me; all whodunits are boring to me unless they were written by hard-drinking badasses in the mid-20th century), and the non-series crime novels which are more
Ben Loory
i read this because Ian Rankin included it on a list of his five favorite literary crime novels. i liked three of the other books he picked a lot (The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Bleak House, and The Name of the Rose) so i figured i'd give it a shot. but, yeah... i don't know. rendell's a good writer who stays very focused and the book is hard to put down, but the whole thing is so obvious from the start. it's like the playing out of a foregone conclusion... there's no ...more
Oct 08, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gretchen Carlson

Very much like a Patricia Highsmith psychological thriller. Victor Jenner, in his late 30s, has just been released after a ten-year stint in prison for attempted murder. He shot a police officer, David Fleetwood, paralyzing him below the waist. He is also a serial rapist, but not many people know this; apparently he admitted a few rapes to the court but was not charged for them, weirdly. Aside from the first chapter, we spend the whole novel inside Victor's mind, which is a horrible place to be,
This is a tough one, because I usually like Rendell's work. Her prose is as powerful as ever in this one, there are some really brilliant moments, and you really get inside the characters. The problem for me was that not only is the protagonist detestable, he's also incredibly boring, which makes it a long read as you spend the entire book (aside from the first chapter) inside his head.
Victor is a serial rapist who has never been convicted of any of his rapes, but has done time for shooting a d
This was an interesting read. Masterfully written indeed.

3.5 to 4 stars
Let's be honest here, the reason I bought the book was because I saw it on a bookstore. But man, it was worth it alright. This is one book that really captures the persona of an accidental criminal with so much context and depth. It shouldn't be considered much of a story but instead an insight of an emotionally-scarred man, and the reasons why he did what he did.

It may be a dull story for some, but it is a kind of different
Interesting: most readers here rate it lowest of Rendell's book. I rate it highest.

Yes, it is about a detestable character, but I came to sympathize with him. The title is a clue. Rendell has made this character, a serial rapist, one large involuntary twitch.

The psychology strikes me as trendy and not very reliable. But the story is expertly done, and remains my favorite book by this author ... when not writing under the name Barbara Vine.
This is a book about a bad man. Rendell doesn't seem to think the reader should feel sorry for him; the book is more of a pyschological study (and perhaps a comment about correctional institutions).

Couldn't put it down though.
I really enjoyed this literary crime novel that followed the basic structure of the standard thriller, yet was from the "bad guy"'s perspective. Kind of a thriller, kind of a psychological study, a fun read all around. One of my favorite crime novels I've read in some time.
Jill Hutchinson
After reading the other reviews of this book, I appear to be in the minority since I thought this psychological study of a rapist/murderer was fascinating. No, it wasn't a mystery as we usually expect from Rendell; instead it probes the mind of a very disturbed young man who has recently been released from prison after shooting a policeman, leaving him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. The young man is obsessed with his victim and decides to make contact with him. This begins a game of cat and mous ...more
John B
How does she do it? I don't think I've read a bad Ruth Rendell, and I've read a fair few! This was the third time I've read it, and it was still as engrossing as before.

We follow a disturbed young man, who after serving 10 years in prison for shooting a police officer in the back, paralysing him, he is inexorably drawn to that officer again, to attempt to befriend him. The characters are drawn with such care and detail, and the descriptions of what Jenner is going through, his ups and, in partic
I was so glad to be done with this book. It was one of the ones you can't finish because anything else you can find to read seems more interesting.
totally not what i expected, reminded me of a lifetime movie.
As much as I like Rendell's ability to capture and empathise with the perfectly logical internal thought processes of her wonderfully ordinary messed-up protagonists (they are always, on some extremely disturbing level, Everyman), she can occasionally come across as a little heavy-handed, and I think this is the case here. While doing a wonderful job of dissecting Victor-the- damaged-person, the story lacks her usual deftness and lightness of touch in places... I can understand the lack of subtl ...more
Laura Sanders
This book was not exactly what I was expecting. I was recommended Ruth Rendell by a friend, but I think I picked a poor book as my first choice to experience this author.

This book was quite creepy. The story is told through the eyes of Victor, a known rapist and attempted murderer, who in a nutshell is a narcissistic psychopath. It was quite eerie to read, and it did keep my attention for most of the book...I'd say about 3/5, then the last part dragged on until the resolution.

I understand Victo
The thing that disappoints me most about the book is the fact that it has potential for so much, yet delivers so little.

It feels like, Rendell is, sort of, all over the place with what she's writing about. There is no sense of mystery, almost everything is predictable. Noting solid about a psycho-killer's perspective. What's worse, you seem to wait forever for things to start unraveling.

Falls flat.
Nancy Behrendt
A very dark book told from the point of view of a newly released ex-convict. It is a story of ethics and naivete. Sometimes it made me cringe. Definitely worth reading to the last word.
This book was the ultimate mind-f for me. It attracted and repelled at the same time. I don't know yet if I loved it or hated it but I had to give it 5 stars just because it dealt such a tough psychological blow to my brain.
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I really liked this book. I remember seeing a spanish speaking adaptation of this book years ago and it stuck in my head. When I found the book I was very excited. Ruth Rendell has a knack for writing understated tension.
Ms. Jared
I had a hard time getting into this one, but about 90 pages in it picked up. I was really uncomfortable reading from the perspective of a rapist however, and this was one time I didn't feel like Rendell wrote with the intention of making the reader sympathize with the bad guy. That said, I didn't care for or about the main character so I wasn't drawn into this one or moved by it. Perhaps if he wasn't a rapist and an obvious misogynist, and was just a robber or kidnapper I might have felt differe ...more
Ruth Rendell cannot write a bad mystery/suspense/psychological thriller.
David Zerangue
Ruth Rendell writes from the view of the criminal and exposes the logic he uses when engaging with others and the world around him. If you think about it, it is disturbing how rational he sees himself and how affected others are. I would suggest focusing on the workings of his mind rather than simply reading her words. The effect is much more profound that way...
She is a great builder of tension - found it hard to put down... enjoyable read.
One of her best psychological thriller- type novels. Best twist is saved for the very end.....
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
A fascinating study of a very disturbed man after he was released from prison for shooting a policeman in the back, causing paralysis. Victor Jenner always blamed someone else for any of his problems. This is a very suspenseful psychological thriller, in which you are waiting for Victor to snap.

I was able to recall this story very easily, which does not happen that often with books that I had read several years before. Guess it had quite an effect on me.
This book was just kind of flat. Not Rendell's best.
Bea Alden
Ruth Rendell is generally thought of as one of the finest, if not the finest, writer of psychological mystery/suspense novels. Live Flesh is almost completely "psychological" as it follows, day by day in chilling detail, the thought processes of a twisted, yet also pathetic, rapist, thief and brutal murderer.
This is ok, I generally like Ruth Rendell but this one was quite difficult to finish, I think it was down to the fact that other people say, that the story is mainly told through the eyes of psychopath but it became a bit boring hearing all his self pitying thoughts throughout the book.
I was sick, and read this in one day. Great job. I've known people with minds like Victor's. They can blame every nasty thing they do on someone else, and believe it to be true. A well drawn portrait of a killer.
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A.K.A. Barbara Vine

Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, who also wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, was an acclaimed English crime writer, known for her many psychological thrillers and murder mysteries.
More about Ruth Rendell...
From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1) A Judgement in Stone The Babes in the Wood (Inspector Wexford, #19) A Sight for Sore Eyes Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford, #15)

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“It was useless arguing with people like her. They had stereotyped minds that ran along grooves of stock response and the commonplace.” 4 likes
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