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The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble

The Insect Farm

by Stuart Prebble

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Review: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. This is a psychological suspense thriller that keeps the reader mystified throughout the book. I thought it was great surprising story to the end. The characters were well developed and justified the crime committed. The only flaw I thought was the writing style was so straight, low-keyed, with an even tone from the characters in the story but perhaps that’s the way the author kept his audience compelled to the subject matter and followed through with keeping all the characters in a subdued behavior. No matter the manner of the writing, as I read, I seemed to not notice anymore, it grew on me because the story was still amazing and it didn’t take anything away from the book. It was still captivating and mysterious. The story began with two brothers, Jonathan and his older brother, Roger who bonded closely as they grew older. Roger was the one that their parents worried about because he had a learning disability. Their concern was who would take care of Roger after they were gone. As the boys grew into men Jonathan was preparing to go away to college with his teenage love, Harriet who would later become a good musician. However, Roger was a real concern to their parents. He grew up interested in the life of insects so his parents let him turn the shed out back of their home into an “Insect Farm”. This kept Roger occupied growing up and continued to keep his interest even as a man. While Jonathan was away at college his parent’s home caught fire and his parents died from inhaling the smoke but they found Roger scrunched down in the back of the shed unharmed. Jonathan now has to leave college and take care of his brother like he told his parents he would do if anything happened to them. However, the love of his life, Harriet will continue college to get her degree in music. They decided to get married before she went back and she would travel once a month to stay a week-end or Holiday with Jonathan and Roger. This is a hardship they both struggled with because someone they knew from home also went to that collage who was obsessed with Harriet, which brought on a jealousy attitude from Jonathan. Meanwhile, with the insurance money from their parents death Jonathan found them another home and Roger was still obsessed with his insects that Jonathan buys him a bigger shed and places it on an allotment close to where they were living. Jonathan is truly caring and loyal to taking care of his brother. Plus, Roger is capable in his own way of caring and being loyal to Jonathan. The story goes on with Jonathan drinking a little to much, Harriet being pressured to leave her husband, Roger going to his day center and telling about his dead cockroaches, the case of the fire still left opened, and than a missing wife for years, Jonathan turning fifty-seven years old still taking care of Roger to the very end of the story that started at the beginning of the book…..great masterminding….. ( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Meh. There's not much there there. The limited plot may have been better served as a short story or novella. ( )
  BillieBook | Mar 1, 2016 |
The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble is another book that proves how important a synopsis is in finding the right audience. When a reader goes into The Insect Farm one might expect a psychological thriller or something of the sort. The description does mention two brothers who are obsessed, what I wish that I knew going in is that the dysfunctional relationships are the mainstay. The murder and suspense take a backseat and only appears towards the end.

There are a lot of pointless scenes that I kept waiting to show purpose, but they never happened. The majority of the book was spent with Jonathan and his annoying girlfriend, and there was less time spent on the equally non important scenes with Roger. There were small amounts of important insight that added to the outcome, and it was only much later in the story that it became more conducive to what I expected based on the synopsis, a thriller...But it was still none too thrilling.

The conclusion felt like an attempt at two big twists, one predictable, and one so out of left field that it wasn't believable. I don't wish to give anything away to those who haven't read it, so I will just ask those who have read the book: What was up with that letter that Jonathan received near the end? Did that seem like any kind of believable? As if!

The Insect Farm, had it been culled of all of the pointless dribble, could have had a Hitchcock feel and would have been better written as a thirty minute television screenplay. Now that would have been worth my time. ( )
  StephLaymon | Jan 26, 2016 |
Full Review at Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2015/07/28/audiobook-review-the-insect-farm-by-st...

The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble is a fascinating look into one man’s life, and his relationship with his brother. Jonathan is the younger brother of a much better looking, but also simple minded Roger. Much of this book revolves around their relationship and the impact it has on Jonathan’s life.

Jonathan is trying to live a normal life. He goes to college, falls in love and seems to be headed there. But, his insecurities can make it difficult. And then he is called back home, leaving the “typical life” behind.

As a reader I couldn’t help but theorize while reading this, trying to solve the mysteries that accrue during the story. And while I got some right, I got others wrong. There is a bit of unpredictability in this. We are seeing things from Jonathan’s perspective, so we only get the information he is aware of and finds important.

This is not a speculative fiction book and I am honestly not sure what I’d classify it as. Maybe mystery? It is more a of a introspective look at the relationship between the brothers. From the description, I expected a creepier, more suspenseful book. But, I really enjoyed the book for what it is. And it definitely has a dark edge to it, sometimes books without any sort of supernatural element can actually be much more disturbing because it is a look into what humans are capable of.

After finishing, I chatted about this book with another reader. I loved getting to do this, because it is a book that really can cause speculation and deeper observation into the motivations of characters. After you finish, you can’t help but still try to puzzle all the pieces together and look back at the entire story from the beginning and wonder about so many things that happened early on. Trying to decide if there were ulterior motives that you might have missed on the initial read.

( )
  tenaciousreader | Oct 6, 2015 |
*This book was provided to me as an advanced readers copy through Goodreads giveaways.

Character driven novel set in 70's era. You grow very attached to the characters in this book and thus when the tragedy/pain comes it hits you hard. Very fast read that you will be thinking about for days after. Never read any of Stuart Prebble's work but will check out more. ( )
  Fearshop | Aug 20, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316337366, Hardcover)

An eerie debut suspense novel that explores how little one man may know his own brother--and his own mind.

The Maguire brothers each have their own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan, it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger, it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents' garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan's pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger's immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent which are absent from his everyday life.

Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother--and if he has so completely misjudged Roger's mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family, and himself?

The Insect Farm is a dramatic psychological thriller about the secrets we keep from those we love most, and the extent to which the people closest to us are also the most unknowable. In his astounding debut, Stuart Prebble guides us through haunting twists and jolting discoveries as a startling picture emerges: One of the Maguire brothers is a killer, and the other has no idea.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:25:03 -0400)

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