Review: 16. The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns…

I hadn’t picked up a good thriller in a while (ha!) when approached with The Burn Palace… It goes on sale February 7th, so add it to your spring reading!

the burn palacedrey’s thoughts:

I was excited to start this one – Eliza at Penguin rarely guides me wrong. After the first few chapters, though, I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into. Things were going so s.l.o.w.l.y. Sure, there’s the snake-in-the-hospital-crib thing and the requisite hullabaloo that follows. And then I was like “Ok, what now?”

“What now?” indeed. We get a lot of meet so-and-so, then so-and-so’s brief history, their “Where was I?” when the snake happened, and, for some, their “Oh crap! How do I cover this up?” after the snake happened. I was almost snoozing by the time the litany ended.

Then Stephen Dobyns pounces, with a “Ha! And you thought there wasn’t any point to this!” And I got involved in the lives of all of these people I hadn’t cared about meeting earlier. This is when I went back and re-read up to this point, so you’ll want to pay attention from the get-go and save yourself the re-read time. Just FYI.

Brewster is like any other small town, I’d imagine. It has its share of local flavor, and its share of small-town politics and problems. What it didn’t bargain for, however, is a missing baby. And when the police start investigating, they run up against rabid coyotes, stolen pets, scalped visitors, Wiccans, Satanists, ritual rapes, and one going-off-his-rocker stepfather and husband. All of which add up to hysteria in the populace, journalists looking for a scoop, and uniforms of various agencies stomping all over trying to figure out what the heck is going on…

And when you find out what’s really going on under all the craziness, you’ll pretty much be amazed by Dobyns’ genius.

Pick this one up – if you’re a fan of thrillers, you won’t be disappointed. The main characters are complex, the plot is complicated, and if you figured out whodunnit (and what’s going on) before you’re done with two-thirds of the book, you come back and let me know how. 🙂

drey’s rating: Outstanding!

Title: The Burn Palace
Author: Stephen Dobyns
ISBN-13: 9780399160875
ARC: 463 pages
Publisher: Blue Rider Press, 2013
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Penguin

Have you read The Burn Palace? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Burn Palace for you, if you live in the US. To enter, fill out the form below before February 12th. Good luck!

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  1. I adore good thrillers and mysteries. I like them to be complex enough to keep me guessing, but not so crazy that the answer/bad guy doesn’t make sense. I liked your comments about this being a small town and getting involved with these character’s lives. That always makes a good thriller!

  2. I like to try and figure out who did it, then read the rest of the book to see if I was right. Thrillers are my favorite books. Thanks for this chance to win it.

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