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Red Leaves

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  4,517 ratings  ·  288 reviews
On a New England college campus, the naked body of a beautiful student is found frozen in a bank of snow. Why had she not even been reported missing by her friends?

Spencer O'Malley, the police detective assigned to the case, is soon drawn into the strange world of four friends, Jim, Conni, Albert and Kristina. O'Malley finds that these children of privilege who played, stu
Paperback, 431 pages
Published May 1st 1998 by Flamingo (first published September 1st 1996)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,517 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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some books should remain out of print,left to molder and rot without curious readers tracking them down and disturbing the wisdom of nature. even ones that have saucy insets like this:

 photo DSC03690_zpsf214b487.jpg


if you had told me that this book was written by an alien from the planet glorp with no familiarity with human behavior, i would have no trouble believing it.

if you told me this was a nanowrimo book, written in one month, without proofreading or author-sleep, i would understand.

if this were the work
Lindsay Heller
I don't know what to say about this book. I even had a hard time deciding how many star to grant it. It wasn't good, not really at all. There were parts that were cringe-worthy. But, it had its moments and it was sort of a page turner.

'Red Leaves' is the story of two people at heart; Kristina Kim and Spencer O'Malley. Kristina is on the verge of twenty-one, she's a philosophy major at Dartmouth and shows plenty of promise for the future. Except, she's kind of a completely idiot (more later). Sh
Jun 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
I have never been so pissed off by the ending of a book!
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: edelweiss
I really had a difficult time getting through this book. The reason I chose it was that it was compared to Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History”. There is no comparison other than the fact that the book involves a group of college friends. There were several times when I wished I could just DNR this book but since I received a free copy from the publisher, I felt obligated to read the whole book in order to review it. Apparently, this book was published by St. Martin’s in 1996 but has been out of p ...more
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
I would not have finished this book if it wasn't for Spencer's character. He's the reason I kept on reading. The Dartmouth students were probably too young for me to appreciate.
The 1st part of the book was quite boring and slow moving... I enjoyed the 2nd part. Quite a catchy story based on a good premise and there were a few really nice twists towards the ending. However I would have liked a clearer explanation in the end. It's supposed to be a murder mystery after all. It should provide a clear explanation after all the guessing.
I couldn't get past the 50% mark with the unlikable characters, choppy narrative, and slow moving storyline. If you are expecting something similar in writing or appeal as her later series-The Bronze Horseman-you'll be disappointed.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved the book. The elegant style it was written in with minimal words made it thoroughly enjoyable. Loved the story and the suspense. To me it was a perfect story.
Luanne Ollivier
2.5 I was intrigued by the description of Red Leaves by Paullina Simons...

"In the tradition of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes a suspenseful thriller from the international bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman—an utterly captivating story about four Ivy League students whose bizarre friendship leads to a twisted maze of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder."

Sounds good right? Kristina is a star basketball player for Dartmouth. We meet her and her fo
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ANYONE who enjoys a good mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had previously read another Paullina Simon book and loved it - The Bronze Horseman. This book, however, was not at all similar to that book. It is a murder mystery set on the campus of Dartmouth College over the Thanksgiving holidays in the early 1980s. It started out quite slowly for me. In fact I was somewhat bored and thought it would have to improve to get 3 stars from me.

Well, improve it certainly did. In no way is this murder mystery predictable as so many are. Immediately you know who
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is one of the worst books I have read in a long time. The first half of the book is the 'background' of the four intertwined characters. It is a long drawn out section to establish this background and then you kill one of the main characters off? I felt I had just waisted 155 pages of descriptive, ground laying text - groan. I should have stopped there.

Things did get slightly better with the introduction of Spencer the detective investigating the murder. Though he was very unprofessional on
Aug 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
Load of incestious shit! The backwards/forwards dialogue especially at the beginning would be good enough to drive people to violence against the author. Worth recycling for toilet paper.
Megan L (Iwanttoreadallthebooks)
I always hesitate to say that a book is bad so I'll say this instead: this book was not very good. The premise sounded promising and the comparison to Donna Tartt had me intrigued. Frankly, Tartt should be insulted because the comparison is an insult to Tartt's body of work. Simons has created characters that are so unlikable and unrelatable that they become unbelievable in their actions and thoughts. If the narrative had been more fast-paced, maybe I could have gotten on board. But the narrativ ...more
In news that will surprise no-one, I bought this because I read several reviews likening it to The Secret History. Yet again I've fallen victim to lazy comparisons: the books are alike only in that they both deal with the murder of a student at an Ivy League university (and there's the - admittedly very similar - detail that the body isn't discovered until a heavy snowfall has thawed). The writing couldn't be more different. This, along with Little Face, is one of the most odd and baffling books ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Wow, what a complex mind/imagination Paullina Simons has. This is the story of 4 friends Kristina, Albert, Connie and Jim and one police officer Stanley and how there lives intertwine over some seriously mixed up and messed up relationships. The murder of one of the characters (Kristina) sets in motions the exploration as to the truth behind both the murder and the relationships – truly a tangled web that is woven and not revealed until the very end.
The first half of the book prior to the murder
Kurt Keefner
Feb 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
I give up. This novel makes no sense. We're supposed to believe this quartet of college students is tight-knit, yet two of them do despicable things to the other two. I hate them.

Further, to give away one detail from very close to the beginning, the future murder victim, is married to the Korean family lawyer, who promised her dying parent he'd take care of her. Take care of her by marrying her when she was, what, 16?! Credulity strains, creaks and finally, snaps.

I did like the cop a bit, but a
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Did I really love this book, or is it just because I love Paullina Simons so much that I decide I love her books before I've even read them?

No - I loved this book! What a great story! I loved it because usually with these kinds of books I find I can predict the outcome very easily, but I found myself to be wrong everytime I predicted something and the ending was so different from what I expected! But no less amazing.

You just kind of get thrown into the lives of these four college kids, wonderin
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the greatest offering from Paullina Simons, but I still really enjoyed it. Spencer really didn't do much for me - I just remember him as a pervy old man, and his interest in Kristina was a bit off. On the whole it felt like it needed a bit of work, but I still got caught up in the story and read it fairly fast. The characters were a bit iffy and the mystery was more unintentionally mysterious than clever, but it was never going to live up to the standards I had after reading Tully. Not Simon ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Overall, this is an okay book with a good plot but it has a very slow start and you have to wait till page 150 for something to actually happen... The middle section is pretty good but the end is pretty much unrealistic. As far as the characters are concerned, I didn't find them likeable at all but that was probably intentional on the author's part.
Anam Ali
Whatever anyone says, this book will always be one of my favorites because I associate it with a very special period of time in my life.
Bev Taylor
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
some friends r not what they seem

kristina is 21, recently divorced and studying in a new england college campus. she has a steady trio of friends but t say she is disturbed or just not there would be putting it mildly. she loves to go out in the snow naked and always pushes herself to the limit of suffering. but there r certain things she is afraid of - the dark for one

then her naked body is found buried under snow where she has been for over a week.

an autopsy reveals that she has in fact bee
AK Mama Reads
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With gems like this, it's easy to see why readers love Simons so much:

"College was the great suppressor, the warm blanket that covered them all and made them safe. How could you not fall in love in college?"

As soon as I thought I had everything figured out, she pulled the rug out from under me. I love a book that keeps me guessing, thus reading, til the end or close to it! I haven't read her other work, but judging by the subject alone I'd say this is rather different from some of her previous n
Danielle Stacey
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So friggin fantastic! Kept me intrigued the entire way through. I’m going to feel lost reading just about spencer now 😭
Jul 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When a female college student is found dead, why wasn't she reported missing by her closest friends?

Hmmmmm, I'm having a difficult time rating this book. I absolutely LOVED the Tatiana series by this author, and they are on my all-time favorites list. As for this book, I'm just not sure what I think of it. I am left feeling confused, sad and even a bit angry. As for the rating, should I give it 4 stars because I enjoyed the suspenseful story (although something did seem a bit "off" about it) ...
Victoria Colotta
OK. I feel like I have to have an honest moment here. When I first started this book, I didn’t love it. I even almost put it down. However, I kept reading and was rewarded by the second half of the book. This is where the characters and story came alive for me. Reading about the way these “friends” reacted to Kristina’s death was both infuriating and a bit addictive. The web of lies and questions that Detective Spencer O’Malley has to weed through can be overwhelming at times, but with each reve ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Read this as a book club read. Definitely a fluff read. I don't mind a really good murder mystery fluff, so I was actually sort of looking forward to it, but I hated it. It wasn't as page-turn-y as most murder mysteries, but enough that I at least wanted to finish it. (Although, I may have stopped reading if it hadn't been for the book club.)

The character development was abysmal. The characters were just not at all believable - not because the story itself was unbelievable, but I just constantly
Chantelle Roberts
Oct 22, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Four friends at an Ivy League college – one is found dead, frozen in the snow, having lain there for nine days – her disappearance is somehow overlooked by her bosom buddies. Spencer O’Malley, local police detective, is assigned to the case and is soon drawn into the web of deceit and secrets which ties the four students together. Further complications arise when it turns out that Spencer knew the victim.

In this, Simons’ second novel, she creates a tight and suspenseful thriller peopled with mos
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Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad, USSR, in 1963. At the age of ten her family immigrated to the United States. Growing up in Russia Paullina dreamt of someday becoming a writer. Her dream was put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of a new culture.

After graduating from university and after various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as a translator Paullin

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“Though outwardly Kristina maintained that a clean room was a symptom of a diseased mind (for how could she, while studying the world's greatest thinkers, be bothered with such mundane earthly issues as cleaning?), inwardly she hated untidyness and made a point of spending as little time in the room as possible.” 7 likes
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