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2 in the Hat: A Novel of Suspense by Raffi…
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2 in the Hat: A Novel of Suspense

by Raffi Yessayan

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I enjoyed reading this book. I probably would have given it a 3.5 if there was that option. I was oblivious to the twist and it kept my curiosity through to the finish. ( )
  gma2lana | Aug 28, 2011 |
I wasn't impressed with this book until the ending, which was great. ( )
  david.ww1 | Sep 3, 2010 |
Angel Alves coaches the Mighty Mites football division for seven and eight year olds. Angel sends the Mites to do a quick run before ending practice. Suddenly Angel hears a scream. He goes to investigate and finds a couple dressed for the prom, tied to separate trees. They are dead. Angel has seen this before. This has the makings of the Prom Night Killer written all over it. Angel goes to the one man who is very familiar with the Prom Night Killer…Angel’s former partner, Wayne Mooney. District Attorney Conrad Darget wants in on the action and will do anything he can to help.

I had never heard of author, Raffi Yessayan, so I did not know what to expect from reading this book. What I got was a nice surprise. I found the characters to be engaging. The character I really liked was DA Conrad. He was so enthusiastic about riding around with the police, listening to the police scanner and asking questions. Conrad was like a kid in a candy shop. The story line moved quickly. There was a twist that I didn’t see coming and it threw me for a curve ball but in a good way.

My only issue I had with this book was that I thought the killer was a bit of a wall flower. I felt the killer’s presence when he was picking out his victims but when he did the killing it was subtle. Plus it is a little hard to take a guy with the name Sleeper serious as a serial killer or any killer at that. I plan to go back and read Mr. Yessayan’s prior novel, 8 in the Box. ( )
  Cherylk | Aug 21, 2010 |
In the town where I live, there aren’t many unsolved murders. In Boston, however, there are a lot. There are some that were killed in a bathtub, but their bodies were never found. There are some gang bangers, from different cliques that are getting shot by the same gun. And, of course, there are the Prom Night Murders, where couples are found dead, dressed to the nines.

In 2 in the Hat, we follow a couple of detectives who are trying to solve the Prom Night Murders, 10 years after they started. Once again, a couple turns up dead, wired to trees in formal wear. There are too many similarities to make it the work of a copy cat, but they end up needing someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about the case to lend them a hand. Turns out though, that hand may also have the answers to the other murders.

I got this book from the Kelley and Hallcompany. I was really impressed with how creative the murders were that Yessayan wrote about. I always feel so morbid when I feel like that, but it’s the kind of creative writing every author wants to be able to pull off. I imagine Yessayan’s time as an ADA probably helped with this.

There were a couple of things about this book that I had a hard time with. First, each chapter is from the standpoint of a different character. There are a lot of players in this book, including the two detectives, the ADA, two convicted felons who now try to get gang bangers off the street, the Prom Night Killer, you get the point. For the first few chapters, I had a hard time deciphering who all of these guys were. The longer I read with them, the easier it was, but it took a while.

I am always a fan of the murder mystery. It keeps my mind ticking, trying to figure out through the twists and turns who the killers are. I wish in this book, the killer would have been kept under wraps for a little longer. The ADA figures out who the Prom Night Killers is about 2/3 the way through, so the suspense is kind of gone from that portion of the plot. I mean, obviously he could be wrong, but the evidence is pretty tight. There are a couple of twists through the last 1/3, but I like waiting until the last little bit to know who my killer is going to be.

I will definitely keep my eye out for more Yessayan books in the future! I give 2 in the Hat 3 bookmarks. ( )
  kariannalysis | Jul 12, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345502639, Hardcover)

Amazon Exclusive: An Essay by Raffi Yessayan

The Challenges of Writing a Sequel

When I sold my first novel, Eight in the Box, I was excited for about five minutes before I realized I had just signed a two book deal, which meant I had to write a second novel. Between work, marriage, homeownership, and life in general, the first book had taken me eight years to write. That was before edits.

There was no pressure when I wrote Eight in the Box. I wrote chapters as they came to me and fit them into my story.

I always knew how the book would begin and how it would end, but I pretty much learned the rest of the story along the way. In essence, I moved at my own leisurely pace.

I didn’t have the same luxury of time in writing Two in the Hat. I had an agent and an editor in New York asking me for updates and looking for the finished product. A finished product they had paid me to write. As the deadline approached, I hadn’t written a single scene yet; I had notes (pages and pages of notes) written on yellow legal paper, sticky notes in my car, napkins, the back side of my business cards, whatever I had handy when I got an idea for book two. But they were just notes. Even with established characters, there was no chance of making that one year deadline.

And I was right.

If I was going to make my extended deadline (six extra months!), I needed to be more efficient in my writing. Some time earlier, I had seen Lee Child and Joseph Finder at the New England Crime Bake writers’ conference arguing the issue: to outline or not to outline. I had also heard Andrew Gross advocate for the importance of outlining in writing his novels. I was desperate, so I decided to give outlining a try.

I started writing Two in the Hat with a chapter-by-chapter outline, plotting out the whole novel. First I mapped out the beginning and the ending (which, just as for book one, I already knew). Then I started filling in the rest of the story. Within a few weeks I had more than a hundred chapters mapped out, the entire novel from beginning to end.

Yet, even with an outline, I ran into a larger problem. I learned that the biggest issue with writing a sequel is in striking the proper balance between the interests of new readers as opposed to those of loyal readers who have come back for more. I didn’t want to bore return readers by reintroducing every character (the ones who were still alive anyway) or by rehashing every event that had occurred in Eight in the Box. On the other hand, I didn’t want new readers to be confused about certain characters’ motivations that were shaped by past events.

This, I was to discover, was a recurring problem throughout the process of writing a sequel. Ultimately, I decided to write Two in the Hat as if it were a stand-alone novel. I would simply assume that the reader knew everything that had happened in Eight in the Box. Then, during the editing process, my agent, editor, and writers’ group read the book with an eye toward any place where information needed to be added to prevent confusion for new readers. It turned out that very little needed to be added. The story flowed nicely.

I learned the value of outlining and that every novel, even a sequel or a book in a series, needs to stand on its own. If the book is well-written, with strong characters and a good story, then it will hopefully entertain every reader. --Raffi Yessayan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:33 -0400)

A serial killer the cops thought was long gone. A good detective racing the clock to stop the murders. A chilling and twisty thriller that will leave readers gasping.

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