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Hell's Kitchen: A Novel of Berlin 1936 Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reissue edition (Feb. 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671047515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671047511
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 10.7 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #430,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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He climbed the stairs, his boots falling heavily on burgundy floral carpet and, where it was threadbare, on the scarred oak beneath. Read the first page
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cat on July 12 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Pellam, former stuntman and location scout, is now taking some time off to work on a documentary about the New York City neighborhood called Hell's Kitchen. Located on the west side of Manhattan, it is a rather run down and rough neighborhood. The focus of his documentary is an elderly black woman, Ettie Washington, who has lived in Kitchen all of her life and has been telling Pellam numerous stories about life in that neighborhood.
When Pellam goes to visit Ettie one night, the building is set on fire where both he and Ettie barely manage to survive. After the investigation but the NYFD, the fire is ruled an arson and Ettie is immediately arrested as the one who hired the arson. Pellam is conviced of Ettie's innocence and seeks out to find the truth behind the fire. In the process, he captures the attention of the twisted arsonist who begins to focus his hate and passion on Pellam and wants to see him dead.
Honestly, I was not too thrilled with this book. It is my first book written by Deaver and he had gotten so many positive reviews that I figured I would give him a shot. The writing style wasn't too bad, but he seems to throw in twists and turns that make no sense and the progression of the story gets jagged at times. Also, I had a problem with the description of the Kitchen. He described the neighborhood to be this nasty hole in the wall that probably should be burnt to the ground. I worked near the Kitchen for four years and I will admit it isn't the nicest of neighborhoods, but it isn't nearly as bad as he described it. Especially since the city has taken a keen interest in rebuilding a lot of it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The cover art doesn't do this book justice. Jeffery Deaver creates a rich archectural landscape for his mystery rather than putting it in some vague cliched archetypal buildings or rooms. The blury red building with yellow lit window does not capture this richness of set and scene!
All through the book not one character nor one scene is wasted. It's an extremely tight and satisfying mystery. The last thread that is tied up as a coda is perhaps one that doesn't need to be addressed. One loose end would have giving the piece complete plausability but to explain the protagonist's motivation for being such a good samaritan is unnecessary and overwritten.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jeffrey Deaver is a bestselling author of detective thrillers. His most famous creation is Lincoln Rhyme the quadraplegic detective. He is highly acclaimed and very well established. Therefore, it is a bit of a surprise to find him nominated in the best paperback original category. This category usually consists of either authors just establishing themselves or those that cannot get a hardback contract for whatever reason. Jeffrey Deaver comes out with at least one bestseller a year. His work is, typically, a high octane thriller in which the action doesn't let up. This work is quite different from what he usually writes. In some ways it is superior.
John Pelham is a filmmaker who has decided to film a documentary on the residents of Hell's Kitchen, a tough neighborhood in Manhattan. He chooses Ettie Washington, an elderly black woman living in a tenement, as being his eyes and ears. He interviews her and invests hours of taping. AS he goes to interview her one last time, an explosive fire rages from the basement of the tenement. Both Pelham and Ettie barely escape with their lives. Ettie, incredibly, becomes a suspect on hiring a professional to set the fire for insurance purposes. However, it soon becomes apparent to both the police and Pelham that a serial pyromaniac is on the loose with the stakes going up with each successive fire.
Jeffrey Deaver has changed his writing style from his other books. This is a much more introspective work. The plot moves along at a much more lugubrious fashion. Characters are more well rounded than a typical Deaver novel. However, the style of writing remains superior and the plot is certainly compelling enough to keep the pages turning but not compelling enough to keep the reader turning the pages late at night in lieu of sleep. A solid nomination.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Pellam is a former stuntman and location scout filming an oral history of New York's Hell's Kitchen. While working on the documentary he meets Ettie Washington, a septuagenarian who lived in that New York City area for most of her life. They get together for several days a week where Pellam records Ettie's memories of life in Hell's Kitchen. One day on his way to see Ettie, John witnesses her building being engulfed by flames. Ettie manages to escape but gets arrested shortly thereafter on suspicion of arson and insurance fraud. The police have strong circumstantial evidence against Ms. Washington and they plan to indict her for the death of one of the building's tenants. Pellam is not convinced of her guilt and he will do everything in his power to prove her innocence.
During the course of his investigation he meets several characters that show life in Hell's Kitchen. Carol Wyandotte is a pessimistic social worker that does not have any hope for the youth living in that area. Roger McKennah is a real estate developer who wants to replace the tenements with new buildings. Sonny is a pyromaniac who is burning buildings all over Ettie's neighborhood for some mysterious motive that will be made clear later in the novel. There are other secondary characters that help bring the book to life, everything from Irish gangs to male prostitutes. Everyone has a story to tell and they make sure John hears all about it.
Jeffery Deaver (or William Jefferies) gives a bleak portrait of this infamous New York area. There is a sense of hopelessness and despair shown throughout the book. It has an interesting plot and it was just recently nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Paperback Mystery Novel. The author's work had certain twists and turns that surprised me as a reader. I strongly recommend this book but be warned, it is a downer. Hopefully the next book I read will lift my spirits.
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