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Playing Dead: A Novel by Julia Heaberlin
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Playing Dead: A Novel

by Julia Heaberlin

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Holy crap, this was so good. Intense, unpredictable, and just really fantastic. I loved it and I can't wait to pick up some other works by this author. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Really liked this one. ( )
  Jaydlyn | Sep 13, 2015 |
Een behoorlijk ingewikkelde detective met erg veel personen en verwikkelingen. Behoorlijk onwaarschijnlijk. Wel aardig geschreven, maar zo langzamerhand word ik ongeduldig van detectives. Dus niet zo heel veel leesplezier gehad. ( )
  elsmvst | May 27, 2015 |
Plot: 2 1/2 stars
Characters: 2 stars
Style: 3 1/2 stars
Pace: 2 stars

The best thing this story had going for it was the voice. Having spent a significant number of years in Tx, it added a lot of authentic atmosphere. If it weren't for the voice of Tommie, this would have been a DNF. The plot is transparent and rather meandering. Several pieces of action seem to add nothing to the story except to kickstart a character who would otherwise spend her entire life contemplating her belly button lint. ( )
  Jami_Leigh | Jun 22, 2014 |
This one can surely be best summed up by Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985), in his poem 'This Be The Verse'

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you."

There, that's the nub of it in four lines. The book is a lot longer. Too long actually, for the events and/or (quality of) revelations that happen, or are made.

It starts, I suppose, promisingly enough. She returns home, to a huge family ranch in Texas, after the death of her father. Basically, to put the affairs in order and to start running the place, as her mother is on her last legs as well and has been taken into a care home. She starts unravelling the family's affairs. But then her 'What's going on here?', of the start of the story (where out of the blue, she gets a letter telling her she isn't really who she thought her mum and dad had told her she was), changes to your 'did I get what's going on? Maybe I missed something', later and at the end. Well, end-ings really. Because there are several. And they go on. And on. And I'm not sure I got all of what's going on. And what's more, I'm not sure I'm that bothered.

'Playing Dead', is subtitled 'A novel of suspense'. Well, it ain't that. A novel of trying to figure out why what's going on, is going on, maybe. Both for the heroine and for us. The story is a mess, her life is a mess, her family's life is a mess and then, all her internal chat, her doubts, the flashbacks, the debates and and the day-dreaming makes her seem a ditherer, a dreamer, someone in need of a psychologist. And not one who analyses horses. Or unravel a mess. You've always got to suspect someone who still calls their mother and father 'mummy' and 'daddy' when they're in their mid-something's (I can't remember how old she is). Doesn't make you feel confident she's capable of doing anything much more than ordering breakfast. And you're not sure of that.

The story could have been a good one. But it fumbles and dithers and is stretched out and out and out. Too long. It delivers answers (I think), but it's too little, too late. ( )
  Speesh | Mar 29, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345527011, Paperback)

“A compelling family mystery that kept me turning the pages. Highly recommended.”—Margaret Maron, New York Times bestselling author of Three Day Town
 
“Dear Tommie: Have you ever wondered about who you are?”
 
The letter that turns Tommie McCloud’s world upside down arrives from a stranger only days after her father’s death. The woman who wrote it claims that Tommie is her daughter—and that she was kidnapped as a baby thirty-one years ago.
 
Tommie wants to believe it’s all a hoax, but suddenly a girl who grew up on a Texas ranch finds herself  linked to a horrific past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen, and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. Tommie races along a twisting, nightmarish path while an unseen stalker is determined to keep old secrets locked inside the dementia-battered brain of the woman who Tommie always thought was her real mother. With everything she has ever believed in question, and no one she can trust, Tommie must discover the truth about the girl who vanished—and the very real threats that still remain. 
 
“[Julia Heaberlin’s] voice is pitch perfect, and her story of one woman’s fierce struggle to reconcile her past with her present is gripping and powerful. An outstanding debut.”—Carla Buckley, author of Invisible

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:44 -0400)

"Tommie McCloud's life is alread in turmoil. Her mother has dementia and her father has just died, leaving Tommie a multi-million dollar energy business in Texas. When a letter arrives from Adriana Marchetti, it explodes a bomb in Tommie's life that she never could have anticipated. The letter claims that Adriana Marchetti's baby was kidnapped thirty-one years earlier, and that this baby grew up to become Tommie McCloud. The investigation starts when Tommie discovers that her social security number doesn't add up--it claims that she was born in Chicago. It deepens when Tommie is approached by a man who claims to be a reporter but is actually an FBI agent, and when Tommie discovers that he is there to protect her from the man whom the letter claims is her father--violent mobster Anthony Marchetti--imprisoned for thirty years and now up for parole. She cannot trust anyone. Seeking her identity will take Tommie to the edge of reason and into the murky past of the people she's called family her entire life. Getting to the bottom of her identity will uncover explosive secrets and the darkest of crimes, and Tommie's biggest challenge may be not only to discover who she really is, but to survive"--… (more)

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