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Kissing the Beehive Paperback – Aug 10 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion mass market paperback; New edition edition (Aug. 10 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575402911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575402911
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,692,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig Larson on April 24 2000
Format: Hardcover
I've long been a fan of Jonathan Carroll's work and only recently picked up _Kissing the Beehive_. It's an excellent tale of a blocked writer (see Donald Westlake's _The Hook_) who goes back to his boyhood hometown to look into the mystery surrounding the death of a girl, whose body he discovered floating in the Hudson River. He intends to write the story of what he discovers and he ultimately discovers the secret. Along the way, we're treated to a slowly unfolding, very gripping story, including the tragic figure of a wild fan who first intrigues, then scares our protagonist. Carroll has a gift for writing some of the most poignant characters and scenes--things that really get under your skin and drag you in feet-first. I'm thinking about one memorable scene in which three of our main characters are sitting on the porch, sharing jokes and stories, and the writer-protagonist says something along the lines of "I'm very glad I have both of you in my life." I'm very glad there's an author like Jonathan Carroll in mine (too cheesy?).
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By A Customer on Aug. 15 1999
Format: Hardcover
Some who are familiar with Jonathan Carroll's books have, oddly enough,not been quite as satisfied with "Kissing the Beehive" as with his other books. They seem not to have respected or understood Carroll's desire as an artist for a direction change, which to me seems rather intolerant. For once he wanted not "only" "magic realism", but something else in "addition" - and he has the right to! After all HE is the one who writes hours and hours for us, he is the one who nourishes our senses, who creates the worlds we cannot create, the worlds we want to inhabit, the worlds we flee to. He is a artist and draws from his fantasy, HIS own unique imagination which he generously allows us to share. I was fascinated by this very book and feel honored to have been allowed access to yet another part of Carrolls vision - the ability to write a thriller which, until the end, leaves you breathless and in complete oblivion - not your typical thriller - an unearthly thriller which searches unforseeable depths and facets of human nature and human behavior. It is hard to put this book aside. Throughout, one is both intrigued and at the same time repelled by certain characters,another reason why this book is so fascinating. Beehive is a piece of Carroll's repertoire that "slightly falls out of place" (..."aus der Reihe tanzen") - One can say it is different from the others, and that is why it is so interesting. Carroll writes about what his soul longs for. I recommend this book and all of the others he has and will write. Jonathan Carroll is one of the most reliable writers around - he is always fun, smart, witty, insightful. Each of his books is rare.
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Format: Hardcover
Kissing the Beehive Carroll's latest foray into sinister stealth
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Kissing the Beehive is Jonathan Carroll's latest offering, and it's not really a fantasy book--or whatever genre you want it to be--but more of a thriller, though it does have Carroll's brilliantly quirky characters here.
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.
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