Chris Bauer's Reviews > The Man from Primrose Lane

The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner
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Jul 26, 12

Read from July 25 to 26, 2012

I suspect it will be challenging to write a review of "The Man from Primrose Lane" by James Renner without giving any of the twists away. I'll do my best.

I have to give kudos to Mr. Renner for attempting a very intricate and delicate procedure in this work. Most authors (with a few notable exceptions) attempt to stay far away from any kind of hybrid "cross-genre" novels. And to muck with it even further by introducing a chronology which doesn't actually read the way the story goes makes it even more challenging.

From a mechanics standpoint the writing was strong. There were a number of excellent narrative descriptions, intriguing characters, interesting conflicts and other "blocking and tackling" issues of the book.

There were far too many flashbacks in the first half of the novel for my taste and the fact the character explains why his flashbacks are so vivid and frequent was a cheap way out, I thought.

The first half of the work was an absolute first-rate thriller with very tight writing, plenty of intrigue and a very brisk pace. I was getting very excited and thought he was on the verge of creating a new genre "Ohio Gothic" or something.

And then the "twist" which resulted in a "holy crap - WTF?" response. From there the book became very confusing to follow, frantic in places and swirling around with tons of exposition which led to nowhere.

I was strongly reminded of King's 11/23/63" at several points.

I guess I felt it was an audacious attempt at something new, with some very solid writing and other excellent elements. But I thought the overall impact was lessened by the genre-crossing and other details.

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