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The Breathtaker

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  602 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
A mammoth twister tears through the sleepy town of Promise, Oklahoma, and leaves behind three mutilated bodies in a ravaged farmhouse. Police Chief Charlie Grover believes the victims were impaled by flying debris...until gruesome evidence comes to light, proving that they were brutally murdered. How could the killer predict exactly when and where a tornado would strike an ...more
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Published March 1st 2004 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2003)
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Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a wild ride reading this book (literally) with storm chasers chasing tornados all over Oklahoma and Texas and the growing realization that a killer is using the storms to an even more terrifying purpose. I admit to a fascination with tornados -- from a large distance away. I do not understand the adrenaline rush or compulsion to get up close and personal with this kind of storm power. Alice Blanchard takes you right into the vortex of the storms and into the emotions and motivations of th ...more
Shirley Schwartz
A Surpisingly Terrifying Thriller! I'm not sure what I expected with this book, but it truly surprised me. It is very well-written, and the character development is well crafted. I usually don't expect these two components in a thriller, so this book was a pleasant surprise. The book is extremely well-plotted too and the tension builds up and builds up throughout the book. It literally left me on the edge of my seat throughout. Not only that, but I got a lot of information about storms and parti ...more
Amanda Mathis
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book literally sent chills down my was almost hard to read, yet you can't put it down. It's one of those books that terrifies you but you have to keep reading to find out what happens. It's been several years since I actually read this book, but it still stands out in my mind and I can remember very vivid details from the story. Not exactly for the faint of heart, but if you are looking for a good thrill, this one's for you.
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just got done reading this awesome novel, and what a ride. Likeable yet deeply flawed protagonist, fleshed-out secondary characters, and a serial-murder plot that kept me guessing until the end. I'm not much into tornadoes, but this book presented the world of storm-chasing in a way I'd never encountered before, almost enough to make me want to chase them myself!
Jay Keys
Jul 07, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't care about details and accuracy
Oh, the shallowness of my methods for this pick! The Breathtaker appealled to me because it has a really neat cover and I am interested in tornados. I mean, look it at, that barn on the cover is doomed!

You see, if Ms. Blanchard spent half as much time writing this book as she did commissioning and artist for the cover and hawking it on the today show, maybe it would be a worthwhile read. And if "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas. I am sad to say that Christ
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love a good murder mystery and this one fit the bill. There’s nothing like a determined small town Sheriff uncovering the truth about terrible crimes. If you're of the faint of heart kind then this one may not be for you. In this story the Sheriff not only doggedly hunts down a murderer in the Tornado Alley section of Oklahoma and Texas but finally learns the truth about his own terrible childhood and its ugly secrets.

He’s fighting several different fires at one time and each of them interesti
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I really enjoyed the premise of this murder mystery (a mash-up of a standard serial killer story and the drama of the movie Twister). Blanchard’s plot was well drawn-out with plenty of suspense and tension - and even the killer’s identity surprised me! Blanchard included some pretty intense gore and rather grotesque images, but it worked well within the framework of violence from both nature and man. I liked this melding story a lot - and I was intrigued enough to buy one of her other mysteries, ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was a good mystery story about a murderer that plans his killings along the path of a good sized tornadoe to disguise his devious deeds. A sharp Oklahoma police chief begins to attempt to solve the crimes once the killer, along with a large tornadoe, strikes his town. I like that the author came up with an original idea for this story and the final storm chase can be breathtaking along with a page turner. I qualify this one as Goodreads.
Steph Adams
Alice Blanchard's "Darkness Peering" was exceptional. I was disappointed by this one. The suspense is still there but the constant descriptions of the science of tornadoes was a real detractor.
Rita Monticelli
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Scroll down for the English version.

Quando la natura toglie il respiro

Un bel thriller pescato per caso dalla mia collezione di ebook. La storia è ambientata in una cittadina dell’Oklahoma che viene periodicamente colpita dai tornado. Dopo uno di essi particolarmente forte, lo sceriffo trova un’intera famiglia morta nella sua casa, all’apparenza uccisa dai detriti lanciati della forti raffiche di vento. Ma qualcosa non quadra.
E così che inizia una storia che parla di un impavido serial killer che
Jun 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2003-reads
RATING: 3.25

There are certain parts of the central and midwestern United States that are subject to exceptionally volatile weather. Just as other areas of the country have spring, summer, winter and fall, these sections have tornado season. Watching a tornado is an exciting experience, and there is a cadre of people who track them and chase them. These storm chasers spend hours determining which storms to chase and put themselves in danger while pursuing their quest.

Charlie Grove is the police c
Diane Brown
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creepy murders take place when tornadoes are going on. Even though I figured out who the murderer was early on, I enjoyed the technology involved with storm chasing and the emotion that happens as a tornado is forming and until it ends.
Mary Shafer
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, thriller readers, storm and weather geeks
Recommended to Mary by: Amazon
Shelves: weather, fiction
I like to lead with the positive, so let me say this is a very well-written book that had just enough incredibly well-crafted sentences to bring me out of the story to say, "Nice!" but not so many that I felt the author was showing off or that dragged me out of the story against my will. The characters were all well-developed with the exception of one supporting character I'd like to have known more about, and the dialogue was great. I thought for sure I had the killer figured out from the secon ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Award-winning author Alice Blanchard delivers the must-read literary thriller of the year-a twister of a tale about a detective trying to outwit a killer-and
Mother Nature-in Tornado Alley. In the small town of Promise, Oklahoma, Chief of Police Charlie Grover has trouble on his hands. Located in the heart of
Tornado Alley, Promise has just been hit by a major twister, leaving behind 40 million dollars worth of damage- and one grisly murder scene. Though the
deaths of the Pepper family appear to be
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Breathtaker” is about a small town Police Chief in Oklahoma who suspects fowl play after examining the damage brought on by a tornado. When Police Chief Charlie Grover, finds three mutilated bodies in a ravaged farmhouse his first thought is that the victims were killed by flying debris. However upon closer examination his instincts, as an experienced cop, tells him something different. As he continues to investigate other tornado related deaths he discovers that the killer has a gruesome c ...more
Dans l’ombre de Patricia Cornwell, on trouve Alice Blanchard. Deux romans qui ont attiré l’attention des critiques et des lecteurs : Le bénéfice du doute (2000) et le récent, Le tueur des tornades (2003) confirme l’émergence d’un auteur talentueux en progression.

Le tueur des tornades présente un scénario original, un tueur en série se cache parmi les “chasseurs de tornades”, ces excentriques sans peurs qui poursuivent les colonnes de vents violents dans l’allée des tornades aux États Unis.

Ironic that I read this book during the recent outbreak of tornados across the U.S., does make you think about if something like this could happen, where a murderer plots out a killing that coincides with a natural disaster, to make it look as if the deaths were caused by the storm. The plot was OK, though I thought it got weaker as the book went on as the focus was less on the murders and more on chasing storms to try to find the killer before he or she strikes again.
The author's name rung a be
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Promise, Oklahoma is hit with a devastating tornado. Police Chief Charlie Grover finds three mutilated corpses in a farmhouse and thinks the tornado has done immeasurable damage until he looks deeper and proves they were murdered. Detailed police work uncovers that this has been going on for some time. Someone can predict the exact path a tornado will take and during the height of that storm commit an egregious act of murder.

Could the murderer be one of the storm chasers? Charlie teams up with D
Prince William Public Library System
I can't resist fiction that has to do with natural disasters, probably a holdover when I was a kid obsessed with tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes (I was a weird child). Anyway, a massive tornado appears to be the cause of three deaths...except that it might be murder, and the murderer used the giant storm as a cover up. With the aid of a local tornado expert, police chief Charlie Grover sets out to solve this swirling mystery.

-Tracy M.

Click here to find the book at the Prince William Count
LInda L
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book among some unread stuff I have -- apparently I picked it up at one of the library book sales. It was great -- I'm sorry I didn't find it sooner. There was a LOT about tornados, but the story was thrilling - and suspenseful - and scary - and I loved it. Have not read Blanchard's other book, but may look it up now. Someone reviewed and said it was not well written -- I disagree. I think it WAS well written and my only critique is the part about the descriptions of tornados, which ...more
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murder mystery set in tornado country where everyone either hides from or drives toward the big storms.

Someone however, is able to accurately predict the path of the storms so precisely that he has been killing for years and letting the wind and debris hide the evidence.

This is my favorite type of suspense novel - one that takes you into a world and keeps you there. Storm chasers, their equipment and mentality, are pivotal to the book along with the Chief of Police and his 16-yr old daughter.
Purple Osprey
It could have been really good, dark detective story if the author had put some more work into it.
The beginning was quite promising, but then you could tell who the killer is as soon as he was introduced to the story, and then it got boring. The detective figures out who the killer is and the book just goes on after that for no good reason with some long movie inspired chase description.
I felt that the love story was totally unnecessary.

Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tornado rages into the town of Promise, Oklahoma, and leaves behind a path of destruction. In the aftermath, a family is found dead in their home and they appear to have been murdered. The police chief sees the evidence and is determined to find the killer. He finds that the killer has struck other tornado sites before. He enlists the help of some meteorologists to find out who could know where the tornado would hit. Between the storms and chasing a killer, this novel is action packed.
May 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a "fun" read. It was a quick read even for a light murder mystery. I admit that I had higher hopes especially having heard about it on an A&E book review. It had a "novel" premise-the use of tornados to hide the work of a serial murderer, but it read as if it had been written for a TV movie.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, oklahoma
In the middle of tornado season, Promise, Oklahoma has a problem. A sadistic killer who murders his victims as the tornado strikes. Police Chief Charlie Grover uncovers a pattern--a string of murders throughout Oklahoma and Texas--made distinctive by the killer who pulls a tooth from each victims mouth and replaces it with another.
Nov 21, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because I enjoyed the author's previous book. Thhis did not disappoint me eithier. The chapters read fast and you wanted to find out what happened. The only part I did not like was at the end when the main character became like Bruce Willis in a DIE HARD movie- one man out to save the world. An easy read it would've been a good beach book too.
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned about storm chasers. I had heard of these people but thought they were all professionals. It is hard to believe that regular people do this. It becomes an obsession to some. This book is also a murder mystery. I suspected the murderer 3/4 of way through book so no surprise to ending. I did enjoy the writing.
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I'll base my rating usually on whether the time I spent reading was worth it. Honestly, if you want to nit-pick, I could find some things wrong with this story. However, suspend reality, add in a lot of information on tornadoes and the storm chasers (big severe weather nut, so of course that's a plus for me) and it's an entertaining read for a lazy afternoon.
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an awesome read - I really enjoyed reading this book - the author really drew you in to the story and made you feel as though you were in the middle of tornadoes. As far as the murder mystery goes, everyone was a suspect in this book and the ending was very surprising. I stayed up late at night reading this one. I'm giving it five stars.
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Breathtaker has me hooked. This is a 10hr audio book, and I'm about 1hr in(listen to in the car). One thing I've noticed is that the author is very detail oriented. Blanchard's description are thorough, but in some cases get a bit long. That said, I am enjoying the story so far and am looking forward to finding out what happens next...guess I better go put more gas in
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Alice Blanchard won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction for her book of stories, The Stuntman's Daughter. She has also received a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, a New Letters Library Award, and a Centrum Artists in Residence Fellowship.

Alice Blanchard lives in California with her husband

~~from the book jacket of The Breathtaker.
More about Alice Blanchard...