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The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr
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The Cutting Room Floor

by Dawn Klehr

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Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 4 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: Blog Tour
Reviewer: Me


The Cutting Room Floor is absolutely insane. I’m still not sure if this novel is good or bad, however I couldn’t put the book down and found myself glued to the pages until I devoured every last sentence. From the very beginning when we are introduced to the CRAZY Dez, I became hooked on his words and his twisted love affair with his best friend Riley. Told from alternating point-of-view’s, readers are given the chance to glimpse into the lives of two very different characters. One with messed up, almost psycho, control issues and the other is in the middle of an identity crisis. But both are trying to find love, connections, and themselves.

Enter Stage Left – Desmond: The borderline psychotic best friend who has been crushing on his best friend since they first met and always acts like his life is one big movie. A guy who is always in control, and when he’s not, he manipulates everyone around him to make sure all the pawns on the chess board are perfectly positioned so he can win the game. Whatever his goals are, whatever thing he currently wants, he will find a way to get. No matter how devious his actions may be. I found myself liking him. A lot. And it wasn’t because I empathized with his character nor because I understood his reasoning for doing what he did, I was simply drawn to him by his thought process. His almost criminal like behavior, and ability to get people to do his bidding. He thinks like the possessive person from the Lifetime Movie. The one who will do anything to get the girl, even if it means killing her sanity, making her doubt herself, and chasing away all the people she cares about. I loved him because he was crazy.

Enter Stage Right – Riley: The girl with the major identity crisis. Poor Riley. I enjoyed reading her character and watching her confusion play out throughout the novel. She longed to find herself in the small community and high school that was on the brink of an identity crisis itself. Riley is one character who I really just wanted to give a million hugs. Klehr did a wonderful job of showing the cruelty of high school. There were several times where I had flashbacks to those days when I would get picked on because of my race. And when teachers and the community does nothing about the ongoing humiliating situations, it makes it worse. I truly felt for Riley. Because I understand that you can’t be who you are when you are constantly being judged and told that your differences, the things that make you who you are, are wrong. Even though she went back and forth with her “am I truly gay” stance, I thought her reactions and thought process were pretty accurate. But most of all, heart breaking. And the constant manipulation by her supposedly “best friend” make it all the more cringe worthy.

Overall, I think The Cutting Room Floor is unique and very different from a lot of the stories already on your bookshelf. The overall plot is not a shabby one. The mystery surrounding the teachers death is pretty well hidden and not an easy one to decipher. I can appreciate the author adding this bit of a “whodunit” to a story that already had so much obsession and betrayal. I recommend it to any fan of mystery/thrillers who loves a good obsessive character with stalker and borderline psychotic tenancies. Oh and did I mention, Dez’s POV reads like a movie script? Truly genius!

( )
  momgamerwriter | Feb 6, 2014 |
“If I knew then what I know now, I never would’ve sent that text. I wouldn’t have done a lot of things. Yeah, if my life were a movie, I’d go back and edit out all the bad stuff. Leave it all on the cutting room floor.

But I can’t. And now I will have to pay.

Big time.”

~Dez, p. 7 of The Cutting Room Floor

Dez and Riley grew up as next door neighbors in the Heights, and they’ve always been close friends. But Dez secretly loves Riley. In fact, it’s more like an obsession. Dez goes to great lengths to interfere with Riley’s love life behind the scenes in the hopes that they end up together. But the problem is that Riley only sees him as a friend. She still has feelings for her ex, Emma, even though Emma outed her to the school and sent her to “social death row”. Tori, mean girl and mayor’s daughter, makes Riley’s life miserable as much as possible and teachers ingore the verbal abuse she endures.

The only teacher that Riley has ever trusted and truly connected with, Mrs. Dunn, was brutally murdered inside the school. Riley starts investigating the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Dunn’s death and makes some shocking discoveries that make her start questioning who she can really trust. She also discovers how Mrs. Dunn was connected to the mayor, which causes her to dig even further for clues and attempt to be friendly with Tori in order to gather more evidence.

The Cutting Room Floor was an intriguing, suspenseful read that kept me entertained as the clues unraveled and multiple characters became suspects. I really enjoyed the interesting use of the filmmaking theme--many scenes were written as if you’re seeing through the eyes of a film director. Flashback sequences were included frequently to reveal characters’ backstories. Also, the point of view switched back and forth between Dez and Riley, which kept things interesting and moved the plot along. There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of, but Stella really stood out as someone who was a great friend to Riley and who accepted her for who she was. While some of the characters seemed a bit over the top, Stella seemed pretty normal and believable.

As a librarian, I think it has high teen appeal with its themes of bullying, self-discovery, and pursuing your passion. But older readers looking for a suspenseful thriller will also find something to enjoy. ( )
  SuperLibBlog | Dec 27, 2013 |
This story was a combination of thriller and romance taking place in a high school outside the Twin Cities. It is told in the first person by two narrators. Desmond Brandt wants to be a film director and sees everything as though it were a movie. Riley Frost is an actress who is going through some issues with her sexuality. She has just had a very public break-up with her girlfriend which has made her a pariah in her high school. She is also still reeling from the death of her favorite teacher who was murdered at the school.

Desmond and Riley grew up next door to each other and have been best friends since they were pre-schoolers. Desmond wants to change the relationship because he has fallen in love with her. Riley doesn't see this because of the other relationship turmoil in her life.

Between working on their final film project, Riley trying to find out who killed her favorite teacher, and problems with the mayor's daughter who is harassing her in the name of Christianity, this story is filled with action and tension.

THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR was a compelling page turner. Because of the writing style, I was watching the story unfold as the characters did which really built the tension and kept me reading late into the evening. It was filled with all sorts of drama, even beyond the film that was being made.

I recommend this one to thriller lovers and those who like relationship stories. ( )
  kmartin802 | Oct 4, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0738738042, Paperback)

Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley

Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she's publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.

Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn't know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez's web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:28 -0400)

"When seventeen-year-old Riley Frost swears off romance and starts investigating a murder, she confides in her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, who may not have Riley's best interests at heart"--

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