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Instruments of Night by Thomas H. Cook
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Instruments of Night (1998)

by Thomas H. Cook

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157None75,790 (3.73)2
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An excellent psychological thriller in the beautiful writing of Cook. ( )
  adithyajones | Dec 2, 2012 |
I liked this book so much, I went out and got another by the same author the day after finishing it.

Having read some other reviews, I agree that it IS graphically violent in parts, though that violence is a large part of why everything else happens the way it does and how the characters become the people they are.

There are (at least) two big twists in the plot. One could have been predictable if I'd put the book down long enough to really think about it, but the other is just completely out of left field. Wait... I really shouldn't use sports analogies. lol. It's completely unexpected but it doesn't seem contrived. (Although I guess everything in a novel actually *is* contrived.)

It's part mystery, part horror/thriller, and I got tears in my eyes at the end. I'm so glad I picked up this book randomly and that the author has written enough other books to keep me going for a little while. ( )
  INTPLibrarian | Jun 7, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas H. Cookprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kallio, KatjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Terror sharp as spurs.

—Paul Graves,

The Lost Child
Dedication
For my mother, Mickie Cook.

And in loving memory of my father,

Virgil Cook (1917-1996).
First words
Looking out over the city, imagining its once coal-blackened spires, he knew that he did it to keep his distance, that he set his books back in time because it was only in that vanished place, where the smell of ginger nuts hung in the air and horse-drawn water wagons sprayed the cobblestone streets, that he felt truly safe.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553578200, Mass Market Paperback)

Paul Graves is a crime writer obsessed with a single crime--the murder of his own teenaged sister on their Southern farm almost 40 years before. To work out his guilt and fear, he has created a series of mysteries set at the turn of the century, in which a dedicated detective pursues a fiendish killer called Kessler--the real name of the man who slaughtered his sister. His obsession has made Graves a sad, lonely man, "living thinly, without connections," already preparing to kill himself when he can no longer write his books.

Keeping readers interested in a dark and brooding character like Graves is no easy task, and Thomas H. Cook--who won an Edgar for his superb The Chatham School Affair--needs all his narrative skills to avoid sinking us in a sea of gloom. Invited to Riverwood, a Hudson River Valley estate turned into a writers' retreat, to help solve a 50-year-old mystery involving the death of a young woman, Graves is assisted by a shrewd and sympathetic playwright, Eleanor Stern. Together, they sift through all the clues linking the dead girl to the wealthy family who owned the estate. Old-fashioned detective work plays a large part in discovering what really happened, as well as the too-convenient appearance of files and live witnesses from the period. As for Graves and his disconcerting habit of slipping back into the past at more and more frequent intervals ("You're always imagining things, aren't you? Terrible things," one character says to him), a final revelation about his personal demons turns out to be no surprise at all. Other, more satisfying Cook books available in paperback include Evidence of Blood and Breakheart Hill. --Dick Adler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In upstate New York, an aging mother wonders why someone would murder her daughter, killed as a little girl fifty years earlier. So a friend with money hires novelist Paul Graves to write, not necessarily the truth since the crime was never solved, just something to put the mother's mind at rest. Who knows, in the process he might even discover the truth.… (more)

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