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Cold Heaven [Paperback]

Brian Moore
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 1985 Panther Books
When an appalling boating accident off the coast of Nice allegedly kills Dr. Alex Davenport, his attractive young wife Marie finds herself in the ironic position of widow of a husband she had been planning to leave for another man. But Alex's body suddenly disappears from the morgue, and his plane ticket and passport are missing. So begins a mystery of hypnotic fascination, involving elements of the bizarre and the supernatural.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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About the Author

Brian Moore was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1921. He served with the Ministry of War in North Africa, Italy, and France during the Second World War. He emigrated to Canada in 1948 and worked as a newspaper reporter for the Montreal Gazette from 1948 until 1952.

While living in Canada, Moore wrote his first three novels, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Feast of Lupercal, and The Luck of Ginger Coffey, the first two set in Belfast, the third in Montreal. In 1959 he moved to the United States, but Canada continued to play a role in his later novels, including I Am Mary Dunne, The Great Victorian Collection, and Black Robe. His many honours included two Governor General’s Awards for Fiction.

Brian Moore died in Malibu, California, in 1999. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Having read many recently published books and not found many that I would give a rave review, I asked myself what book WOULD I rave about and thought about "Cold Heaven", which I read several years ago yet remember as vividly as if it were yesterday. The novel pulled me in with its unique, "Twilight Zone" plot, then deftly introduced other themes on the nature of love, sanity, spirituality and Catholicism. It is truly a gripping, haunting book, and a good introduction to Moore, who has written several other superb novels--although none, in my opinion, as memorable as this. One final note: avoid at all costs the film based on the book, a botched job if there ever was one
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4.0 out of 5 stars Belief Is In the Eye of the Beholder April 15 2002
This is a failed novel, but a pretty good book. It doesn't really have a plot, but is instead a story designed to illustrate how perceptions shape individual realities.
A woman and her husband vacationing in the south of France have their trip cut short by his fatal accident - well, sort of. Seems he just won't stay put in the morgue. She thinks it has something to do with a vision of the Virgin Mary she once had - even though she long ago renounced her Catholicism. He implies (though never outright states) that he understands why he isn't dead, and doesn't want to be discovered until he has "recovered" from his rigor mortis-ish condition, for fear that he will be regarded as a freak. A nearby convent gets involved in the wife's reluctant vision quest, which she avoids because she doesn't want to attract publicity to her hiding husband or her own affair with another man.
The story is almost a black comedy as written by Dean Koontz. (In fact, Koontz has used variations of these plotlines in his books, namely Strangers, Shadowfires, and Mr. Murder, to name a few.) Nothing is clearly answered or resolved by the end of the story, though there are strong implications made in a number of different directions as to why the bizarre phenomena are occurring. In essence, the reader fills in his own blanks and virtually writes the story of his choice according to whose perceptions he agrees with. It's almost a Rorschach blot for belief systems.
It's also quite a good read. It will definitely not be to everyone's tastes. If you're looking for a comprehensive, standard novel, you'll be horribly disappointed. If you simply want to spend a while walking the line of Faith, examining it from every different angle and psychologically exploring the different human mechanisms of belief, you'll be endlessly fascinated.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Succeeds July 14 2001
This is the second Brian Moore novel I've read and if there is a pattern emerging it is that his books are intensely readable. I defy you to read the first ten pages of this book and try to set it down. It isn't going to happen. That said, though, the book does not completely succeed from an artistic standpoint.
The story starts off as a simple mystery. An American woman is vacationing in France with her husband. She wants to separate from him and is indeed planning to announce this to him when he is involved in a boating accident and killed. The following day, she returns to the hospital to which he was taken, and is told that his body has disappeared.
Pretty gripping, admittedly, and sure enough, the reader finds himself happily engaged in discovering what this mystery is all about. But very quickly, we sense something unusual about this woman. Her thoughts and actions do not seem normal; in fact, they become somewhat bizarre. It is then that we learn that there is something else going on here; something much larger than the mystery at hand. We realize that the husband's disappearance is only a minor element of this other aspect.
I cannot reveal what it is; it would ruin the experience of the earlier mystery. Let me just say that there is a supernatural element which leads to a thought-provoking theme: what is it that we want from this life? Salvation? Freedom? Privacy? It would appear that not all of us are involved in a lifelong, soul-searching quest for enlightenment, even when it is handed to us on a silver platter. And that this is not necessarily a bad thing.
My complaint with the novel lies in the fact that not all the pieces fit together.
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I can't understand what all the fuss is about Brian Moore. Am I reading the wrong novels? The book jacket says he was Graham Greene's favorite living author. Graham Greene is my favorite author, but I don't care for Brian Moore. The story idea is so interesting, as was The Magician's Wife. Vactioning in Europe, a woman's husband is fatally injured in a boating accident, but his body is missing from the morgue. She returns to find his things missing from their hotel. I don't won't to spoil any mystery, so I won't say what happens from there, only that she is struggling with visions she doesn't want to believe are from God. Such an interesting idea. However, so much is repetitive. She goes through the same struggles over and over again, never learning any lesson or benefiting from her experiences. She complains--a lot. I didn't find the ending satisfactory at all. I kept reading, dying to find out if she would have some miraculous discovery, but in the end it was as empty as The Magician's Wife. If you want suspense and moral inquiry (as this book jacket promises) read Graham Greene instead: The End of the Affair, The Heart of the Matter, or A Burnt-out Case.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Cold Heaven not even lukewarm
I've never been more disappointed in a book. I actually thought I had missing pages because the ending was practically nonexistent! There were so many missed connections. Read more
Published on June 11 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The most interesting book about Catholicism I've ever read
Moore asks, how we would we react, today, to a religious vision? I'd run like hell, and so does the heroine. All of Moore's books are fascinating, but I think this is his best. Read more
Published on April 21 2000 by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
Brian Moore was Graham Greene's favorite living novelist and this book gives a reader several reasons why Greene was a fan of Moore. Read more
Published on April 8 2000 by Joseph Ritz
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremelly Suspencefull
I do not read on occation. However I needed to read a book for an independant study. I found this book increadible. I found it enjoyable, and worth reading again. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing, eerie thriller, with depth and feeling.
Reading this book is like being caught in a nightmare. The tale is intensely gripping - an emotional roller coaster. Moore is a storyteller without peer. Read more
Published on May 7 1999 by Margaret Fiore
4.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing, marvelously peculiar....
This is the first of Moore's books I've read, although I'm certainly familiar with Black Robe. The book's ambiguities may be off-putting for some but I simply accepted them along... Read more
Published on July 30 1998
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