Kissing the Beehive Paperback – Aug 10 2000
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From Library Journal
Popular fiction writer Sam Bayer is in a slump, without a single idea for his next book, and both his publisher and his agent are breathing down his neck. On a whim, he visits his boyhood hometown, a small place in New York, and encounters an idea for a nonfiction work?he will write about the murder of Pauline Ostrova, whose body he discovered floating in the Hudson when he was a high school boy. When he shares the idea with an intriguing woman, a fan of his, improbably named Veronica Lake, he unleashes a series of events that bring the old murder back into the open, setting off the killer again. Carroll's (Panic Hand, LJ 12/96) book is strung like a piano wire whose surprising final note only sounds on the last page. Stephen King has aptly compared Carroll to Alfred Hitchcock. This novel is sure to find a wide audience and will be in demand by Carroll's rabid fans. Recommended.?David Dodd, Santa Cruz Cty. Lib. Sys., Cal.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
A gripping and often quite amusing literary thriller from the expatriate American author of After Silence (1996), and several other exercises in often very imaginative comic surrealism. Carroll's latest is a witty take on the writing life and, just possibly, also a sly homage to his colleague Stephen King (one of several Carroll thanks in a gracious dedication). It's the wry, edgy first-person story told by successful novelist Sam Baver, who's uneasily dealing with middle age, the aftermaths of three divorces, and a severe case of writer's block. Sam's creative juices are revived, however, when an impulsive visit to his hometown of Crane's View, New York, stirs up memories of the only memorable event of his undistinguished youth: his discovery, when he was 15, of the body of a murdered teenaged girl. Sam realizes he has never believed that neighborhood beauty Pauline Ostrova was killed by her boyfriend Edward Durant (who confessed to the crime and later took his own life)--and his investigation of this long-buried story involves him with several other varyingly suspicious characters. Among them are: Frannie McCabe, Sam's old friend and fellow hell-raiser; Johnny Petangles, a slow-witted recluse who proves to have known Pauline better than anyone realized; and Edward Durant's dying father, a former federal prosecutor who has long believed Pauline's amour with a local Mafioso sealed his innocent son's fate. Things are further complicated by the unruly presence in Sam's life and affections of a gorgeous fan of his writing, improbably named Veronica Lake, who sticks troublingly close to him even after he thinks he's dumped her (shades of King's Misery). It sounds rather overheated, but Carroll blends all these elements beautifully, and brings the novel to a smashing and surprising climax. If this be Carroll's attempt to enter the commercial mainstream, more power to him. With this terrifically entertaining tale, he has improved the quality of the water. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
By Bram Eisenthal
It was 1985 when I first discovered one of the horror field's greatest latter-day writers. I asked a clerk at Ottawa's House of Speculative Fiction if he could recommend someone really unusual - I had my fill of early Stephen King at the time - and he immediately whipped out a book and thrust it at me. "Land of Laughs," he said. "It's unbelievable... really different."
I had never even heard of Jonathan Carroll before and I generally knew my horror authors, so I was perturbed. How good could he be? Published in 1980 and the New York-born resident of Vienna's first novel, The Land of Laughs lived up to the clerk's billing. Highly imaginative and very frightening, it showcased the talents of a writer who excels at setting a macabre stage by allowing the horror to creep up on you v-e-r-r-r-y slowly. His tales are happy, funny and whimsical to start with, but chapter by chapter, Carroll adds sinister elements. Before you realize it, you're staring death squarely in the face. His second, Voice of Our Shadow, is even more shocking for its sinister stealth.
Kissing the Beehive is Carroll's tenth novel; one of the more recent ones, The Panic Hand, is a Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology that I highly recommend. As with the others, Beehive begins innocently enough, with a few stragglers rather than the swarm yet to come. Author Sam Bayer is in a slump, meeting with his agent in an attempt to untangle the cobwebs responsible for his terrible writer's block. His pending divorce is really creating havoc. Later, at a book signing, he meets an incredibly gorgeous fan, a California blonde named Veronica Lake.Read more ›
The best of the lot is Veronica Lake (so perfectly named), who becomes the Sam Bayer's new girl--on his third divorce, burnt out from that and previous novels--and he mets her at a book signing. Their relationship is never easy, with mishaps along the way, and becomes one the centres to the book, as long as the old murder that Sam Bayer is setting out to solve so he can become overcome his writers block and write his new novel--of course, as with all old murders in sleepy towns, there is something still lurking around...
I will give no more away.
The prose is clean and perfect, but then that is what one expects from Carroll; the book isn't all that long, so the plot burns away; and the characters are well drawn, making them easily likable. One of the delights of the book is Sam's relationship with his daughter.
The one problem with the book, though, is that by the end of it, you don't really care who did the girl in so many years ago.
So there: Kissing the Beehive is no Outside the Dog Museum, but is on equal par to From the Teeth of Angels, Carroll's next best peice of work. That's in case anyone wanted it compared to other novels of his.
Most recent customer reviews
This book had me captivated from the first page. Great mystery. Great characters. Good story!Published on Feb. 22 2000 by D. Berdanis
This was my second Carroll book, after the fantastic Land of Laughs. It was pretty good for a while, but it got a little boring eventually and really fizzled out at the end. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 1999
As a teen-ager in upstate New York, novelist Samuel Bayer discovered the body of a murdered woman. Returning home decades later to write about the death, he finds his rakehell... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 1999
I have to say the irony of the plot is amusing. Carroll is an excellent author of literature, trying to make his way into the "mainstream" by writing about a pulp... Read morePublished on July 12 1999
I loved this book, as I love all of Carroll's books. He is my favorite author. His imagination, intelligence and wit, not to mention fabulous characters, plots, and dialogue,... Read morePublished on Jan. 21 1999
"On the level of sheer sentence-construction and his pellucid prose, Jonathan Carroll is among the most purely pleasing writers of the decade. Read morePublished on June 14 1998
Unfortunately, this is the first Carroll book I have read, so I cannot compare its literary quality with others. Read morePublished on June 11 1998
Kissing the Beehive starts well, but the storytelling deteriorates pretty quickly. It's a great premise for a book: a blocked writer goes home and finds the story of his career--a... Read morePublished on June 11 1998