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Boy in the Water by Stephen Dobyns

Boy in the Water (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Stephen Dobyns

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321252,107 (3.3)11
Title:Boy in the Water
Authors:Stephen Dobyns
Info:Metropolitan Books (1999), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 406 pages
Collections:Your library

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Boy in the Water by Stephen Dobyns (1999)



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I continue to be impressed at Dobyns's combination of astute psychological realism and 90s thriller movie endings. It's a little disorienting there at the end sometimes, but it makes for an overall compelling read. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Jun 15, 2017 |
Quel disappointment! This books started off really well but ended as a mess. I loved, loved, *loved* Dobyns' The Church of Dead Girls and had high hopes for this one. But despite some flashes of the brilliance evident in "Church," this novel suffered from useless detail and clunky writing. There was a lot of potential in the story of a boarding school for troubled teens and the efforts to drive away the new headmaster, but the characterizations were very weak and some of the dialogue was just laugh-out-loud funny. My disappointment was keener because of the unrealized potential. Rather than harp on all the things wrong with this one, I'll just encourage you to seek out The Church of Dead Girls which remains one of the best suspense novels I've ever read. ( )
  katiekrug | Feb 20, 2015 |
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Everything that happens is as normal and expected as the spring rose or summer fruit; this is true of sickness, death, slander, intrigue, and all the other things that entertain or trouble impudent men. -- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
For Michael Fischer and Suellen Mayfield
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Like a black island on a turquoise sea, the dark shape floated on the surface of the water, lit from beneath by a string of underwater spotlights evenly spaced along the twenty-five yards of the swimming pool.
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Alles wat gebeurt is even gewoon en voorspelbaar als de voorjaarsroos of de zomervrucht: dit geldt voor ziekten, dood, laster, gekonkel en al die andere zaken die onbezonnen lieden amuseren of kwellen - Marcus Aurelius, Persoonlijke notities
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805060200, Hardcover)

Although not as complex or as haunting as his 1997 novel Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns has produced a first-rate psychological thriller with Boy in the Water.

Bishop's Hill Academy in rural New Hampshire is a school in crisis. Once a highly regarded preparatory school for the rich and elite, it is now a dumping ground for troubled teens. The teachers are unqualified, unenthusiastic, and spend more time hitting the students than educating them. A new headmaster, Jim Hawthorne, enters the chaotic scene, but is immediately outcast from the tight-knit faculty. Hawthorne is obsessed with the idea of turning the school around--and we soon find out why. His family died in a fire purportedly set by a disturbed teenager back in San Diego. Mentally and physically scarred, Hawthorne sees Bishop's Hill as an opportunity to get back to "physical reality," and save some adolescent psyches. But it is his own mental state that is soon put to the test as he becomes the nucleus of a hate campaign and is forced to relive the terrible memories of the fire.

It seems that everyone in the school has a secret to hide--from the cook Frank LeBrun who enjoys placing sharp tacks in his recipes to Chip Campbell, a history teacher who has taken one too many liberties with the school's funds.

Dobyns paints a foreboding landscape of dilapidated buildings and neglected children--a place where a 15-year-old girl plots to kill her father, a place where teachers abuse students, a place where a young boy is found dead in a swimming pool. As a snowstorm cuts off the isolated community, the exiled headmaster is forced into a final showdown with the school's omnipotent evil.

Boy in the Water is an entertaining but ultimately disturbing read. --Naomi Gesinger

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After his wife and daughter die in a fire, set by a jealous student, Jim Hawthorne takes a job as headmaster of a New England prep school. But escaping his past is not easy and here too murder comes his way.

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