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3.3  ·  Rating details ·  724 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective—from a Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning author.

Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Scribner (first published February 1st 2014)
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Ash Wednesday

I have to be honest, I bumped this up my TBR shelf because of Kem Nunn. I requested this galley on the strength of its intriguing blurb (Sex! And Crazy People!) but it's the season finale of Sons of Anarchy that propelled me to read this earlier than I intended. See Kem Nunn is a part of the show's writing team and anyone who connects that blurb with what SoA has delivered for six seasons (ie. women smacking other women with skateboards? The objectification of Charlie Hunnam's ass?) h
If the bar is a psychological thriller pace, then CHANCE didn’t measure up. It moved at a slow, leisurely pace instead of an all-out race. The vocabulary and sentence structure weighed in with a bit more heft than one might expect from your typical thriller, but I still felt shortchanged in the end. I had higher hopes for this tale, but I ended up facing the firing squad of disappointment with my head lowered and my hands held high.

Jackie Black proved a bit more intriguing as a character than th
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Jim Nisbet. Pynchon's INHERENT VICE; Noir Fans; Thriller Fans
Recommended to Still by: I Collects Kem Nunn Writings
Amazon synopsis:
Nunn’s new novel is a dark book involving psychiatric mystery, sexual obsession, fractured identities, and terrifyingly realistic violence—a tale told amid the back streets of California’s Bay Area, far from the cleansing breezes of the ocean. This is a landscape where nameless persons lose their identities and find new ones after days of sex in a motel room, where homeless war veterans create neo-hippie encampments—this is California noir, this is Kem Nunn country. It’s not pret
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
a most compelling noir horror. dr chance becomes emmoiled with a patient, who is abused and practically held hostage by her homicidal homicide detective ex-husband. or is she?
so dr. chance is gonna be her knight in shining armor, his sidekick an ex-special forces killer from afghanistan wars. or is he?
so dr. chance, such a meticulous, conservative soul, starts making choices, one leading to the other, that get him and his lying, cruel, sadistic running buddies and enemies into deeper and deeper
Aug 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
The most disappointing book I've read all year. Kem Nunn has abandoned almost everything that made him great in favor of a muddled, boring, utterly aimless stroll through the Bay Area. Nunn's gift for moody, California noir scene-setting has vanished. He can't even describe San Francisco's fog in a compelling manner. Instead, his text is riddled with the lamest cliches on every page, so many that I wondered if I was being pranked. His storytelling devices are also incredibly cliched _ multiple p ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scribner!

I feel so deceived by this book, it is a classic case of false advertising. So for my review, I will go through the synopsis sentence by sentence and tell you how it was a lie.

Read the rest of this review at: Written Among the Stars
John McKenna
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mysterious Book Report No. 155
by John Dwaine McKenna
Some of the best thriller and crime fiction stories are built around the premise of an ordinary person being put into an extraordinary situation. For example . . . Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider and as a result, develops supernatural powers which totally change his life as he becomes ‘The Amazing Spiderman,’ a crusading crime fighter and doer of good deeds. Far fetched? Absolutely, you betcha. Does it make for good stories? Ditt
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thrillers
CHANCE. (2014). Kem Nunn. **.
I’m not sure what genre category to place this novel. It is a thriller whose principal protagonist is a neuropsychiatrist. He meets a patient who is suffering from multiple personality disorder, and he ultimately falls in love with one (or is it two) of the women. This might be OK if her husband wasn’t a vindictive policeman. The story takes off from there, as you might imagine. The author, Nunn, manages to spice up the story with heavy loads of psychological and neu
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The best Robert Stone novel NOT written by Robert Stone...all of the familiar Stone tropes(Nietzsche,The Bible,Shakespeare,Basic Ontology,the Grey Rat,Sentient Mud,sociopathic Zen Lunatics,drugs,alcohol,feckless and disorderly heroes,damaged women,children abandoned to their own devices,,,and that's just off the top of my head) are here in such abundance that it goes beyond homage into ventriloquism...loving Stone's work as I do it's heartening to see a good writer so influenced by and appreciat ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
5 stars
-Bookish Gal-
I have to admit, I have this morbid fascination with books about psychopaths and serial killers. The blurb on this book is really intriguing and fascinating and that's what made me request the title from Netgalley the moment I was done reading it.

Prior to this I was not aware of the author and perhaps wouldn't have requested the title based on that, had it not been for his association with SOA. Now it doesn't seem like a very prudent decision.

I have lots of grievances with this book the foremos
May 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've stayed a fan of Nunn's through his shakier works, but this new novel is a real challenge. It's as if he has literally forgotten how to write. Never a master of believable or well-structured plot, here he loses control of style and character as well, so what remains is a something like a Dean Koontz/Stephen King piece, minus the usually focused premise, but plus the occasional turn of memorable phrase.

'Chance' opens with a setting, character, and theme quite removed from Nunn's typical fare
Mark Pettit
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic psychological thriller and whodunit. I enjoyed it way more than I expected.

I bought it because my book club was reading it only I didn't finish the book in time and had a conflict so couldn't attend the book club meeting.

But I sure am glad I read it. Nice twist during the climax, and the ending was awesome.

Highly recommended!
Bryan Cyr
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: noir
Soon to be a new television series starring Hugh Laurie! Read my full book review and look at the upcoming show here:
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Plot is a bit cliché. Not well written.
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: america, 2014
I initially rated this after reading an e-galley. Substantial changes were made for the final copy.
I found the story got really tangled towards the end, and the protagonist went from being a self-involved, hesitant man to a man who was so incredibly tied up in his own head that I was distanced from the story.

I picked this up because I really loved the one-season TV series, and I feel that was better than the book; the visual presentation and lack of a voiceover keeps readers from being shoved away from the story by Chance's internal monologue and philosophical ruminations.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
If I didn't have a shelf full of other books I needed to read, this book could have held my interest. However, it was too slow. I didn't care for the drama, the interactions with the main character and other characters. I was waiting for the intrigue described on the book jacket but couldn't hang to wait any longer.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Kem Nunn published his shopping list I would buy a copy. His writing is that good.
Come for the surfing, stay for the Noir.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nunn non delude. Storia interessante e personaggi ben caratterizzati.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a crazy ride. I don't know if I liked it or not, but it was definitely compelling!
Lia Valenti
Il libro più confuso,contorto e noioso che abbia mai letto!
Questo sarebbe il primo volume di una serie che non ho nessuna intenzione di leggere !!
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This is one of the rare moments where a television series outstrips its source material. The prose is filled with Nunn's usual heft and solid pacing at the beginning, but it starts to drift off halfway through the book. Nunn also either peeled away too much of his characters veneer or tried to have one too many antiheroes in the same book. It's not unreadable, and it was fun. But the suspense and the idea of playing to a psychological thriller were not carried out to the end.
Jean Oren
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Psychological thriller about a neuropsychologist, Dr. Eldon Chance. Meets a new client, Jaclyn Blackstone, who has two personalities, maybe more. He becomes enraptured by this women and tangled up in her mysterious world where people and things never turn out to be what seem. Very interesting read! I loved the book and would really like to read more work by this author. Now a series on Hulu.
Il confine dei libri
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: letti
Salve Confine,
oggi vi parlerò di un libro uscito qualche settimana fa, edito dalla Fanucci nella collana TopCrime: “Chance” di Kem Nunn. Si tratta di un thriller psicologico da cui è stata tratta la fortunata serie omonima con protagonista Hugh Laurie. Protagonista è il famoso neuropsichiatra forense Chance alle prese con l’affrontare un difficile divorzio, una complicata figlia adolescente e grane finanziarie. Come se tutto ciò non bastasse, si ritrova coinvolto nella vita della sua ultima pazi
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Perhaps I'd feel differently had i read this one rather than listen to it, but I was underwhelmed. It didn't really grab my attention from the start, which I should know better than to continue on an audio this way. Alas, I needed something for my runs and it was available.
Ryan Dejonghe
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
More than being a book about dissociative personality disorder, this book itself suffers from dissociative personality disorder. CHANCE’s disingenuous description labels it as “an intense tale of psychological suspense”, but what’s presented is humorous noir. The book’s biggest sin, though, is trying to combine intelligent narrative with fatigued cliché, both in character and in dialogue.

Believability, or rather a lack thereof, will kill any book. Kem Nunn’s deft and detailed description of San
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it

Chance is a modern take on the classic noir-crime genre of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett (especially Hammett as the story uses San Francisco and Oakland as it's setting).

Nunn waxes philosophical through out the novel, having his characters discuss Nietzsche, quote Kierkegaard (purity of heart is to will one thing), and ponder the meaning of meaning.

But make no doubt about the high-brow existential angst his main character Dr Chance endures both as an eager listener and as insufferable w
Gloria Feit
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it

The page before the first page by Ken Nunn contains a definition of the word “chance,” which concludes with the sentence “Sometimes granted agency, as in Chance governs all.” “Chance” is also the name of the protagonist, one Eldon J. Chance, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry at UCSF Medical School. He is a forensic neuropsychiatrist (a new term for this reader) whose primary source of income these days is as an expert witness at or in preparation for trials. “He rarely saw so
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dr. Eldon Chance is a forensic neuropsychiatrist working in LA, whose life, like many of his client’s lives, is slowly unraveling. First there is his divorce and the money that will cost, then his daughter’s troubles at school and finally his unhealthy attraction to a client, Jaclyn Black, who is being abused by her LA cop husband.

Chance knows that his life is unraveling, after all he is a professional who sees people in this predicament all the time, but in the moment, as it happens to him, eac
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Kem Nunn (born 1948) is an American fiction novelist, surfer, magazine and television writer from California. His novels have been described as "surf-noir" for their dark themes, political overtones and surf settings. He is the author of five novels, including his seminal surf novel Tapping the Source. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine.

He has collaborated with producer David Mi
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“It was how it had been with the madman among the tombs, that their number was legion, far in excess at any rate if the number listed on the back of the door as the room's maximum occupancy.” 2 likes
“It all took longer than expected and the truck a piece of shit with blown shocks and springs poking through vinyl seat covers and the late light drawing out the shadows in Chance’s neighborhood by the time he and D came finally bouncing up from the Great Highway in the ancient rig, one of many as the afternoon rush hour he’d been hoping to beat lurched into full swing with lines of cars at each and every intersection and jaywalking children with backpacks and cell phones and Chinese workmen unloading fish trucks at competing corner groceries and tattooed teenagers with funny hats on clattering skateboards.” 0 likes
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