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The Grove

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,624 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
The last time farmer Dexter McCray went off his medication, someone wound up dead. So, after waking from an alcoholic blackout to discover his tractor stuck in a ditch and the body of a teenage girl in the cottonwood grove bordering his cornfield, things begin to look worryingly familiar.

With no alibi and a creeping suspicion that he might be to blame for the girl’s death,

Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published (first published May 20th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,564)
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James Thane
Aug 16, 2013 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very dark book with a deeply troubled protagonist who would not be out of place in a novel by Jim Thompson.

Dexter McCray is a farmer with a very troubled past. His family has suffered horrible tragedy; he has committed acts of great violence; he has gone off his meds, and he has a serious drinking problem which occasionally causes him to black out and later fail to remember what he might have done while under the influence.

Dexter has managed to get his tractor stuck near a grove of tre
Hilary Carter
Oct 27, 2011 Hilary Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! I'm tired of wincing while I watching this train wreck of a man spiral further and further down his personal road of hell. I dare you NOT to want to reach into the pages and force his meds down his throat! While this may sound like I didn't like it, oh no, but I did. If you like a dark ride and a bit of mystery, you'll find it here.
Jan 06, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
Dex had some severe mental issues in the past. Someone died. After a judge ordered vacation and electro-shock treatments, he is much better now. Years later his life appears back on track until it suddenly occurs to him to stop taking his crazy pills. Going off the meds is not a good idea. Neither is self medicating with large amounts of alcohol.

After another dead body shows up, Dexter, with the help of his new friend Jessica, must find out what is real and what is delusion, out in the cottonwo
Mar 03, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
4 Stars

Wow, I guess 2012 is the year for me to embrace the novella, the short story. This quick read by John Rector was the perfect afternoon getaway. A tale of a man, Dexter, who has suffered his entire life with mental illness and instability. He is a broken man with a broken marriage, who has done some very bad things in his life, and gone through even worse. As a young man, he was a high school baseball star with a touch of insanity and an overblown sense of self. He makes some bad decisions
Larry Hoffer
Despite the fact that I'm sitting here writing a book review, I don't put a lot of stock in people's opinions. What I've learned over the years is that each person brings something completely different to reading a book, seeing a movie, eating a meal, etc.—not just what they think, but how they're feeling or what's going on in their lives at that particular time. My general rule of thumb is, if everyone in the world pans something, I know to stay away from it unless I am willing to risk disappoi ...more
Jim Thomsen
A disappointment after the lean, fast thrill ride of author John Rector's debut, "The Cold Kiss." The leanness and fastness are still on display, but the thrills are fairly suffocated under the weight of an unreliable narrator and his plotless meanderings.

"The Grove" would have been far more interesting if it had been more of a psychological mystery in which the narrator, Dexter McCray, investigates the death of a teen girl on his farm to determine who might have killed her -- knowing full well
Oct 24, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, kindle, read_2011
Delve deep inside a broken man and you're sure to find madness. Haunted by demons both real and imaginary, Dexter McCray epitomises the all consuming tortured soul. Having survived life through the bottom of a liquor bottle, the isolated farmer’s rubble of a past never fails to take precedent over the present.

In discovering a murdered teen on the edge of a nearby grove, Dexter envisions his dead daughter and feels any semblance of stability stutter then slip. In the milky white lifeless open ey
Jan 04, 2011 Tuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is the 2nd amazonencore book I've read. its a pretty good "farmer noir" or country black Gothic or whatever you would call a story about a crazy mfing corn farmer who is trying to deal with his wife just leaving him, his daughter getting run over out on the dirt road on her bike (and dying in the ditch after many hours, oh moan), and having big time black outs from drinking too much whiskey, and getting his tractor stuck in the arroyo after plowing a big strip of his august-almost-ready cor ...more
Sep 18, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't give this book more than 2 stars. It was a page-turner, but not in a good way. It was 256 pages of torture. I couldn't wait for it to be over. This was a dark and tormenting story of a man that was always out of his mind drunk, and was actually OUT OF HIS MIND. I should have known better than to read another book with the main character named Dexter (3rd Dexter in the last couple of months of reading--strange?!). BUT, I paid $1.99 for it, and I didn't want to waste my money--AND I checke ...more
Mar 19, 2011 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All atmosphere and character, this neo-gothic (if I may coin a genre) starts out creepy and maintains the tone throughout. By telling the story from the point-of-view of a mentally disturbed man, Rector balances story-telling with character development.

The story is deceptively simple, allowing the action to illuminate the tortured mind of Dexter, the lead character. A quick read that doesn't linger, tells its story, and quickly moves on.

The ending feels like it wraps everything up a little too e
Laura Jelenkovich
Aug 19, 2015 Laura Jelenkovich rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Robetta da quattro soldi. L'idea avrebbe anche potuto essere interessante se la storia non fosse rapidamente degradata nello splatter. Il protagonista è reso bene nella sua schizofrenia alcolica, ma lo stile è troppo semplice. 4 o 5 parole e punto. Dialoghi serrati ma cortissimi, in cui spesso Dexter parla quasi a monosillabi, senza verbo. Il vocabolario utilizzato è ricco solo nel numero di volte in cui cita johnny walkers, per il resto è scarno, essenziale, grammatica 101. E infine lo splatter ...more
Kristopher Kelly
There's potential here--the writing style itself is pretty clean and the setting is evocative enough--but unfortunately this story suffers from a character continually doing the wrong thing for moderately inexplicable reasons. The plot is simple enough: a man, who should be taking medication for some kind of schizophrenic disorder, has gone off the pills. One morning, he wakes up to find his wife gone and a dead body out in his field. He can't remember the fight with his wife, which apparently w ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Tj rated it really liked it
The Grove is a novel I found while searching out some reading material for the Kindle my lovely wife gave me for Christmas. It was released through Amazon Encore, a publishing venture which provides a second life to previously released titles which may have been overlooked by larger publishers or self-published yet still acquired a following through Amazon’s website. I can see why this book earned a following.

The Grove is a gothic tale of murder, ghosts (not necessarily the kind you might think)
Sep 27, 2011 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dexter McCray should really have kept taking his meds. After (yet another) massive night on the grog in which he fights with his wife (she leaves him), tries to plow his cornfield while hammered, and crashes his tractor in a ravine Dexter wakes and remembers none of it. Another blackout.

The problems start when Dexter tries to retrieve his tractor the next day and he discovers the body of a dead teenage girl in his cornfield. Problem is Dexter doesn’t remember a thing from the night before and do
May 29, 2009 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
John Rector’s writing style is refreshingly tight and defies genre placement. In his debut novel, the author mixes equal parts of psychological thriller, whodunit, and chiller to create a real page turner of a story.

He brings you into the life of Dexter McCray as he wakes up from a blackout, finds his wife gone, the sheriff making coffee, his tractor driven into a ditch, and a dead girl in his field that the sheriff doesn’t know about.

From Dex’s point of view, things don’t look so good. He’s gon
Nov 03, 2014 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid little spooky story that knows just what it wants to do and does it. Not too ambitious but it doesn’t need to be. Great dialogue. Gets the first-person voice just right. I bought this on a hunch for a bargain and I love it when a hunch pays off.
Benoit Lelievre
Nov 16, 2011 Benoit Lelievre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE GROVE is a really good novel about mental health. The protagonist is not this loveable train wreck, but he's rather alone, scared and alienated from the people he knew before. Of course, there's a mystery (and a damn good one on top of that), but it's all wrapped up in Dexter McCray's mental condition. It's a sad novel, but it carries an enormous strength from its fearless honesty. John Rector is an unyielding writer and I understand why THE GROVE kicked Kathryn Stockett out of the Amazon Ki ...more
Bethany Macdonald
For me this book was deeply unsettling. At many points I literally couldn't bear to turn the pages (but just had to!), and that I think is a testament to John Rector's writing abilities!

Although the story didn't unfold as I had predicted it would, I thought that the scenes between Dexter and Jessica revealed a great deal about Dexter's mental state and that John Rector did a brilliant job in creating a fully realised character struggling with mental illness. Although other reviewers have remark
Burçak Kılıç
O kadar reklamlarını gördük güzel bişey sandık aldık.. Kesinlikle polisiye değil psikolojik gerilim diyeceğim ama gerilim kısımları çok az :(( Paranoyak bi adamın takıntılarını okuyoruz :PP Tarlasında ölü bi kız bulan adam, katili kendi bulmaya çalışıyor, polise söyleyemiyor çünkü adam ilaçlarını içmeyince kendinden geçiyor hiçbir şey hatırlamıyor dolayısıyla kendisini suçlu olarak yargılayabilirler ama adam, ölü kızı hayali arkadaş gibi görmeye başlıyor falan sevmedim kısaca :PP
Apr 09, 2015 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a painful read. Not from a literary standpoint - Rector's writing is strong and compelling. And the book is short, so it's also a quick read. But it was difficult for me to keep reading on an emotional level - Dexter is a very troubled man, and it's hard to be inside of his head, watching his rationalizations for things that he says and does. But it's also kind of like looking at an accident on the side of the road - terrifying to look at, but impossible to look away from.

The book
May 27, 2009 Erik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Grove is a real page turner and Rector has created an unforgettable character in Dexter McCray. The story is a little bit Twin Peaks, a little bit whodunnit and a whole lot of wait, no, yes I see it now. A quick read that grabs the reader in a strangle hold and refuses to let go until the final page has been flipped.
Jul 17, 2011 Shayna rated it did not like it
Maybe my moral compass led me to enjoy this book less than I expected I would, but I find it hard to connect to a character who essentially develops feelings for hallucinations of a corpse. Was entertaining I suppose, but I probably would never recommend it...
Jan 17, 2013 Mum rated it did not like it
A prime example of why unreliable narrators writing in the first person make for grossly inadequate story telling. Best I can tell a lot of people died, the narrator had hallucinations. That is not even enough for a novella.
Feb 24, 2015 Chad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rector is underappreciated. Part Cormac McCarthy and part Dan Simmons, this guy can write and entertain. Read him!
Dec 30, 2012 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it...chilling, thrilling, eerie, creepy, and fast paced!
Oct 23, 2011 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
GREAT horror book! Stayed up all night reading it
Dec 23, 2013 Kip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personally I think this is one of the best stories ever Told. I literally could not put this book down. It's a short, easy read that I think everyone should read. It's depressing, yes. But it's funny, scary, dramatic, and above all, a giant mystery right up until the end.

Dexter is a depressed drunk who lives on a large area of farm. Especially depressed one night, he decides to get blackout drunk. But when he wakes up in the grove behind his property, things get seriously real.

First he notices t
Jul 21, 2014 Derrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be catchy, well-written, and a very engaging book. The narrator is unsure what has happened and I was unsure of what would be happening. This is one of those books that kept me up late into the night because I kept promising myself I would read just one more chapter, only to find myself sucked into reading the following chapter until I was finished with the book. Rector did a great job with The Cold Kiss and this book follows up on the promise of that book (although written ...more
May 21, 2014 Snem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark, weird, and gripping so yeah I enjoyed this one. It was very much in my wheelhouse. I wanted to shake the protagonist and I would have done the complete opposite of everything he did. I really didn't like any of the other characters either, yet I still rooted for everybody go figure. I was a little disappointed by the ending and I wanted the murder mystery to take center stage, but it all got kinda muddled, still kept my interest though. This was a quick read and I recommend this to anyone ...more
There are some books where the main character is purposely tough to identify with, which is very much the case with The Grove. Dexter is a difficult character to understand, to love and even sympathize with. He has of mental illness that is never outright identified, but he is supposed to take medication otherwise he hallucinates and has blackouts during times of extreme emotion. And after one of these blackouts Dexter finds the body of a teenage girl in the grove behind his house. Since he can' ...more
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mystery, suspense 1 12 Jul 12, 2011 08:52AM  
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John Rector is the bestselling author of The Grove, The Cold Kiss, Already Gone, and Out of the Black. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and has won several awards, including the International Thriller Award for his novella, Lost Things.

He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
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