Books Stephen King Recommends discussion

Mar-Apr 2016 Night Thousand Eyes > Night Has a Thousand Eyes Overall Impressions (SPOILERS)

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message 1: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
Write your overall impressions here.

message 2: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
This was a totally unique book which lead me in many different directions. Not a typically noir crime novel. I could hardly put it down. Definitely a 5-star read.

message 3: by Randolph (new)

Randolph (us227381) Woolrich's meditation on predestination and determinism disguised as a suspense novel, are a bit too melodramatic and drawn out for my taste. Both the plot, the usual Woolrich tangle of unlikely coincidences, and the behavior of the characters need too strong a dose of unbelief to hold water. In my opinion this would have been better as a shorter work.

Woolrich is still the master of character and metaphor but his characters are just too extreme in type to hold our attention. The ending is almost predictable being one of about four possible set out by the author. I think the one chosen was planted too early to really keep holding our suspense. In addition Reid has become such a pathetic and empty character by this time that we don't really care how he goes, just that he goes, the alternative being too anticlimactic. The fact that after all the trouble the protagonists go to in other avenues to prevent Reid's early demise, the other obvious ones that haven't already been removed stretches the reader's credulity.

The apparently clairvoyant Thompkins, even given his short stage time, remains the most enigmatic and interesting character in the novel. He is played by the outstanding and superbly cast Edward G. Robinson in the film adaptation. This novel did have a very cinematic feel and I highly recommend the movie based on it.

Not characteristic of Woolrich's better work which is usually as weird but not so drawn out, these being more akin to more tightly plotted short shocks.

message 4: by Ann (last edited Mar 23, 2016 11:18PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 466 comments Thanks for recommending the movie Randolph. I also thought the second half of the book was overlong, I wonder if that was partly due to the police leads all falling short.
On the audio I had a hard time focusing on the changes in pov, there was too much "he said" or "he did" with unidentified characters introducing different lines of investigation.
I really enjoyed the first part with Jean's introduction. That may have led to some of my disappointment with the rest of the book which had a much different tone. The police investigation semed a bit far fetched that they would go to such lengths.

message 5: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 2574 comments Mod
True, the police being willing to get involved in the whole thing wasn't believable. It's expensive to man a team like that when so many other crimes are so much more important to solve. And since Tomkins wasn't taking any money, it wasn't like they could get him for fraud. Perplexing, and I can see how that would be unsatisfying.

message 6: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 801 comments I finished last night and gave it two stars. I disliked the melodrama so much and the inexplicable events that just didn't make sense (Eileen's suicide, the servants abandoning the household, etc.) really detracted from what could have been a great story.

I think Tomkins was the real deal. The police trying to wrap it up all nice and neat as a fraud was an attempt to twist things around. If better written, one could have ended up with a "what the heck just happened" reaction.

The story attempts to address the question around predestination and whether or not it can be cheated. But, it fell short of it's mark. Maybe if the author had peeled away the histrionics, and tightened up the story by eliminating the irrelevant bits, it may have appealed to me more.

message 7: by Larissa (new)

Larissa | 270 comments The beginning section with Shawn and Jean intrigued me. I also really liked Woolrich's description in several places: especially when Shawn, Jean, and Reid race to watch his last sun go down and Jean's description of her "snapshot" of her father in the car. Reid completely falling apart, while necessary for the climax to happen, irked me to no end. It was interesting to see the different lines of investigation come to naught.

I'm glad I got to read a true noir. Not as thrilling as I'd hoped but I see how it birthed an entire genre.

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