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North of Boston

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  1,345 Ratings  ·  312 Reviews
Year's Best Crime Novels: 2014, Booklist
Dennis Lehane meets Smilla’s Sense of Snow: a big discovery in the world of female suspense, about an edgy young woman with the rare ability to withstand extreme conditions

Elisabeth Elo’s debut novel introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl with an acerbic wit and a moral compass that points due north.

When the fi
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 23rd 2014 by Pamela Dorman Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Elisabeth Elo Yes, Pirio has another big challenge ahead. Through a really bizarre turn of events, she ends up in Siberia, where she becomes embroiled in a plot…moreYes, Pirio has another big challenge ahead. Through a really bizarre turn of events, she ends up in Siberia, where she becomes embroiled in a plot that involves ballet dancers, political intrigue, and diamond mines.

I went to Siberia this summer to do research for the book. I spent some time in Yakutsk, a city of approximately 300,000 in the Sakha Republic. The average winter temperature is -40 degrees F, but the summer temperatures are similar to Boston’s. I traveled from Yakutsk to a small village called Cherkeh, on the other side of the Lena River, about a five-hour drive on deeply rutted, sparsely populated roads. The meadows are very green, dotted with clear glassy lakes and tumbling streams, and the air smells sweet. Shaggy Sakha horses roam and graze where they will, without fences, and return to their homes of their own accord. The people I met in Siberia greeted me warmly and gave me a glimpse into their lives. I’m immensely grateful for their hospitality and hope to be able to bring some small portion of what I learned into this next book.

Community Reviews

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“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”

----Ellen DeGeneres

Elisabeth Elo, an American author, has penned her debut thriller, North of Boston, that unfolds a riveting mystery behind the accident of a man fishing with her friend on boat who were hit by a large freight ship that came out of nowhere and left no trail behind it's disappearance thereby k
Dec 12, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
I received a galley copy of North of Boston via's Early Reads Giveaways. It was a privilege to be among the first to read this work, and I thank the author and publisher for that.

If I had lunch with author Elisabeth Elo, I'd love to ask her about this character of hers, Pirio Kasparov. While by the end of the book I would describe Pirio as multifaceted and interesting, through much of North of Boston I struggled to get past the first adjective that came to mind in describing her:
Jan 20, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pirio Kasparov is lucky to be alive after a fishing boat she was on is rammed and sunk of the north-east US coast. The vessel that hit them had appeared to come out of nowhere with the skipper Ned losing his life. Pirio thinks the incident was no accident and is upset that not only has she lost her friend but also that her godson, Noah, no longer has his father.

With the help of local reporter Parnell, Pirio will look into Ned's past that uncovers a deadly secret that will take her far from the o
Nov 21, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it
I particularly appreciated the lack of profanity, graphic violence, and descriptive sex. This is just a great plot peopled with intelligent characters that stands on its own merit. What a vivid read! Riveting!

I appreciated the allusions to Dennis LeHane and Smilla's Sense of Snow in the promotional materials, and agreed wholeheartedly. In the same way that Smilla says, "I know snow", Pirio knows the ocean, and has the uncanny ability to survive hours in forty degree water. For both of these wome
Feb 14, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing
It's hard to believe that this book is Elisabeth Elo's debut novel. The story is quite unique, and the writing flows with an even pace. There are many aspects of this story that appeal to me, with the name of the main character, Pirio Kasparov, leading the way. Character development seems to be a particular strength with Elo, as Pirio and all the supporting cast are given a thorough treatment of background and how they have all arrived to be a part of the events that unfold. I admit that I wasn' ...more
Feb 04, 2014 Larry rated it it was amazing
Piero Kasparov is a tough rich girl (or very nearly rich), who has lived wild since high school (she's thirty). Her family owns a leading perfume company, which she will inherit, and she knows how to run it. But she's crewing on a pal's new lobster boat as a favor when it is run over by a large unidentified sea-going vessel. Her friend dies and she survives, though against all odds. The Navy and Coast Guard even test her at a research facility to see why she was able to survive when hypothermia ...more
Mar 29, 2014 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This debut novel is a surprisingly fascinating, thrilling and powerful read. Pirio Kasparov defies medicine after surviving for four hours in frigid Atlantic waters after the lobster boat she was on was run through by a large freight ship. The owner of the lobster boat isn’t as lucky. Pirio’s friend, Ned, is dead and helps his ex-lover and mother of his child (who is herself an old boarding school friend of Pirio’s) grieve. Spurred on by her successful perfume-owning father, Pirio begins to sear ...more
Mary Ahlgren
Feb 19, 2015 Mary Ahlgren rated it really liked it
An over the top book which I wanted to dislike but couldn't. I am definitely not one of those who can withstand cold temperatures. but I found that I liked the premise, the geography, and at least a couple of the characters.
Pop  Culture Nerd
Jan 18, 2014 Pop Culture Nerd rated it really liked it
This review originally appeared at Pop Culture Nerd, along with a giveaway.

In crime fiction, the protagonists can start to resemble each other after a while: tough FBI agent or military guy or cop or private eye, etc. I'm not saying books can't be good with those types of characters--it all depends on the execution--only that every once in a while, it's nice to see a different type of protagonist, and that's who Pirio Kasparov is, in Elisabeth Elo's debut, North of Boston.

One foggy night, Pirio
Luanne Ollivier
Feb 17, 2014 Luanne Ollivier rated it liked it
North of Boston is Elisabeth Elo's debut novel. She introduces us to a unique protagonist in this literary mystery - Pirio Kasparov. Pirio is the child of Russian immigrants and heir to the perfume dynasty started by her parents. She's also a bit of a rebel, taking chances and sometimes leaping without looking.

Pirio is helping Ned, the father of her best's friend's child, on his lobster boat when they are hit by a tanker and she is plunged into the freezing ocean. Against all odds, she survives
Amy Lignor
Nov 22, 2013 Amy Lignor rated it it was amazing
There are gritty, hardcore mysteries and then there are gritty, witty mysteries that bring excellent humor, in-depth storytelling, and truly descriptive scenes together in a combination that makes you wish that the novel was playing out on the big screen. This particular debut is the latter; an amazing page-turner that brings Pirio Kasparov, an extremely witty girl from Boston, onto the literary scene.

Pirio is about face a huge challenge. A fishing boat she’s on is rammed, supposedly by a huge f
Das Beste an diesem Buch ist zweifelslos die interessante Hauptperson Pirio Kasparov. Liebenswert, taff und mit einer guten Portion Sarkasmus ausgestattet. Auch die anderen Figuren wissen zu überzeugen, speziell ihr leicht geheimnisvoller Vater Milosa. Die Geschichte liest sich flüssig und ist auch nie langweilig. Nur leider kommt das Ende dann doch etwas abrupt, viele Fragen bleiben (für mich) leider unbeantwortet und bis zum Schluss konnte sich die Autorin gefühlt leider nicht ganz festlegen, ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it
North of Boston is a gripping and fast-paced novel. Constant interruptions and life in general kept me frustrated as I wanted to sit and read this book straight through, in one-sitting. Ideally, that's how it should be read.

While the plot was not as compelling as I would have liked, and some of it even predictable, the lead character Pirio more than made up for any minor defects in the story. Pirio is edgy, brainy, fearless, strong and vulnerable at the same time, and lonely enough to take risks
May 02, 2015 James rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, crime
I feel like for the first novel the author grabbed everything and chucked it up against the wall spoiler below

Spoiler leading to a troubled rich girl protecting alcoholic friends son from ex lover while solving crime dealing with ability to stay in cold water comes in handy for saving whales from billionaires

I think subsequent efforts by the author will be much more promising with a little restraint
Feb 03, 2014 gaudeo rated it it was ok
This book seems to have all the ingredients for a thriller . . . but somehow it isn't thrilling. It could be the pacing, it could be the misguided metaphors here and there, it could be the lack of emotional connection to the reader; but it's probably all of these factors and then a few more. In any case, I figure that if even someone living north of Boston isn't fully engaged, who else will be?
Jan 20, 2017 Beth rated it really liked it
I won NORTH OF BOSTON from two years before I finally read it. I didn't know what I was missing.

The book begins after Pirio is in a boating accident. She, alone, survives after floating for four hours in water temperatures that would have killed most people . She learns that a much larger boat collided with the one she was on and then left the scene – – it was a hit-and-run accident. Even worse, she later realizes that this was a case of murder; someone was trying to get rid o
Feb 03, 2017 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the description of this book, I thought I would enjoy reading it. There were parts that were interesting, but overall I think that the author tried to encompass too many elements. Or maybe it should have been two books. The part I got most involved in was how Pirio was able to survive in extreme cold water and the U.S. Navy's interest in that. I also liked Pirio's interest and support in Noah, her godson. But when The author went into Pirio's involvement in the perfume industry and her Russ ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Jacqie rated it really liked it
This book was billed as a match to Dennis Lehane. In some ways, I'll agree. The book's characters are fascinating and by far the strongest part of the book .Pirio, the main character, and her friend Thomasina are interesting, flawed, multi-faceted and real. Noah, Thomasina's son, is a heartbreaking little boy. I'm not often a fan of child characters who are put in as motivation but I felt that Noah had a purpose beyond that and was interesting in his own right. The relationship between these thr ...more
In the book world, thrillers are usually lacking in the kickass female lead department. They are commonly relegated to sidekick or annoying, but resourceful, friend who just happens to be beautiful as well. The book world needs strong, intelligent, interesting female leads and North of Boston introduces us to Pirio Kasparov, a woman of many talents, an unusual background, and is quite possibly beautiful, but the author does not dwell on this aspect. Instead, she gives the enterprising Pirio styl ...more
"Pass auf dich auf, Pirio, hörst du? Ein paar von uns lieben dich, wie du weißt." (Seite 323).

Inhalt: Pirio überlebt einen Unfall, den normalerweise Menschen nicht überleben. Sie war mit einem Freund Ned auf dessen Schiff auf Hummerfang, bis sie von einem riesen Schiff gerammt werden. Ned stirbt bei diesem Unfall, Pirio kann wie ein Wunder lang genug im eiskaltem Wasser überleben, bis sie gerettet werden kann. Pirio ist nun auf der Suche nach Antworten. Wie konnte sie so lange im eiskaltem Wasse
Kaitlyn King
Jan 31, 2014 Kaitlyn King rated it really liked it
Ksteenbookreview calls it "exciting, mysterious, and thrilling!"

Hey everyone, so I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of North of Boston from the lovely author and Goodreads, and I thought I should give you my thoughts on the book. Now, it is not what I would normally read, as it is a bit above my age group, but I really have to say that I enjoyed it!
It was packed with mystery and suspense, murder, love, and all the things that a teen would love. The only difference was that instead of
Mar 07, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
Pirio Kasparov has miraculously survived a boating accident and was rescued by the Coast Guard after four hours in freezing cold water. The owner of the boat and Pirio’s friend, Ned, did not survive. She clearly saw the boat that struck them and does not believe it was an accident.

Pirio is not the type to take no for an answer and wants to find out who is responsible for Ned’s death. She begins asking questions and conducting research on her own, eventually uncovering a complex and devious plot.
Viviane Crystal
Jan 29, 2014 Viviane Crystal rated it really liked it
A terrible boating accident leaves one dead man and one woman who barely survived beyond human comprehension! Working in a lobster boat with a friend, Ned Rizzo, Pirio Kasparov spends four hours in frigid waters, a feat that not even the renowned Navy Seals can accomplish without special equipment. At first Pirio and Ned’s friends show the expected comfort; but when Pirio realizes she’s not getting any answers about how a very, large ship came careening out of the dark and fog to totally wipe ou ...more
Dec 10, 2013 Bruce rated it it was amazing
North of Boston is not only well researched and well plotted, it is skillfully written. Locations spring to life in the mind's eye with ease, and characters are made vivid, but with an economy of exposition.

The strength of Elo's writing is most evident in the distinctiveness of Pirio's 1st person narrative voice. It is consistent, often quirky, but always recognizable as a character, not just an observer reporting the action. I never forgot I was living in Pirio's head. Because of that, a reader
Jan 18, 2014 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
In a newsworthy story that shocks Boston, Pirio Kasparov miraculously survives for four hours in frigid North Atlantic waters after the fishing boat she is on is destroyed by another vessel. After coming to, Pirio is heartbroken to learn that Ned, her fisherman friend and the father of her friend Thomasina’s son, was killed in the accident. Sensing the collision was no accident, Pirio sets out to find the boat that caused the damage and begins to unravel a tangled web of connections that go much ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Nadine rated it it was amazing
This thriller has a strong female lead and a page turning intensity. The plot has many twists and turns and the characters have a little flesh to them to make them sympathetic to the reader.

Pirio and her friend Thomasina are the daughters of wealthy families who bonded at school as the resident bad girls. Pirio has been able to curb her impulses and join her family's perfume business, but Thomasina is declining into a chaos of alcoholism and bad men. She has a ten year old son Noah who is as att
Jan 05, 2014 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
After receiving this as part of the goodreads first reads program, I quickly was enthralled in the storyline. Although, for some reason the character descriptions and what I pictured in my mind never coalesced. When I began the book, I thought of Pirio and Thomasina as more lower class trash than the damaged upper crust women they were supposed to be. The relationship between Pirio and her a ten-year old boy was heartfelt, but the actual mystery and circumstances surrounding Thomasina's husband' ...more
Book Review & Giveaway: I love book covers that cause me to wonder what’s going on, like the one for North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo. Why is this woman standing peering into the fog at the end of a dock? Very mysterious and I knew I had to find out – I’m like a curious cat that way. Reading the publisher’s description clinched the deal; I knew I had to read this book. If you like mysteries or thrillers with strong, persistent but caring women protagonists who won’t stop until they learn the ...more
Kevin Tiemeyer
Feb 02, 2014 Kevin Tiemeyer rated it it was amazing
It took about 30 pages to get into the book but once you do it is a great ride. This is one of those tough as nails female protagonist books that you will want to know how she is going to get through these adventures or how will she even solve it. The story was very engaging and if not for wanting to sleep would have finished sooner Pirio is a character that will stay with you after you finish. There was enough loose ends at the end that screams this needs to continue. I wouldn't mind waiting a ...more
Feb 28, 2015 AdiTurbo rated it it was ok
DNF. Everything seems to be working in favor of this book - the writing, the characters, the setting, but still, nothing does. It is emotionally-flat - the tragedies aren't sad, the mystery plot not suspenseful, the funny parts unfunny. It didn't touch me at all, and I didn't care what happens to the characters or what the solution to the mystery was. Also, some of the character adn plot elements were simply implausible and even ridiculous. Shame, it could have made a wonderful book with a littl ...more
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I grew up in Boston and worked in a variety of part-time jobs as a high school and college student. Places I worked include a dry cleaner, an aquarium, the Boston Public Library, college cafeteria (in charge of the blueberry pancake station), a research laboratory, and a number of Boston restaurants. After college, I went on to work as a magazine editor, an advertising copywriter, a high-tech proj ...more
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“But a bond is a bond. And when you’re young and haven’t yet learned to live in your own solitude, even a destructive bond can seem better than none.” 0 likes
“All across the world, people are loyal to their tribe. --- (Pirio)” 0 likes
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