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Live Flesh [Paperback]

Ruth Rendell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 11.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

June 27 2000
Why did he do it? Why should Victor Jenner, the child of happily married parents, succumb to such violent rages? Why should he have needed to make motiveless attacks on women? Victor didn’t know. But Victor did know the years he had spent in prison had been a mistake. He had never intended to harm anyone. Now, out of prison, Victor still is not free. The past holds him so he can’t go forward. So Victor goes back and begins a chain of accidents, a new string of tragic mistakes.

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Review

"Powerfully claustrophobic" Guardian "Ruth Rendell shows an unparalleled understanding of human evil." -- John Mortimer Sunday Times "Compelling, disturbing and masterfully written." The Times "Rendell knows how to make your hair stand up straight on your head" Maeve Binchy "There are quite a few Ruth Rendells: the doyenne of the traditional English detective novel; the queen of the psychological thriller; the celebrated author of the literary thriller" Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Ruth Rendell is the Queen of British crime writing. The author of over 50 novels, she has won many significant crime fiction awards. Her first novel, From Doon With Death, appeared in 1964, and since then her reputation and readership have grown steadily with each new book. She has received major awards for her work; three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America; the Crime Writers' Gold Dagger Award for 1976's best crime novel, A Demon in My View; the Arts Council National Book Award for Genre Fiction in 1981 for The Lake of Darkness; the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for 1986's best crime book for Live Flesh; in 1987 the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for A Fatal Inversion and in 1991 the same award for King Solomon's Carpet, both written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine; the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990; and in 1991 the Crime Writer's Cartier Diamond Award for outstanding contribution to the crime fiction genre. Her books are translated into 21 languages. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars menace and incipient violence Sept. 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ruth Rendell books are the scariest there are - not because of blood, gore and mutilation, but because they expose the infinitely greater menace of mental trauma. The number of Hannibal Lecter's in the general population is small - the greater threat comes from the more 'unremarkable' people, like Victor Jenner, this book's main character.
Victor has just been released from prison for shooting and crippling a young policeman. Coping with the changed world without and terrifying rages and phobias within, Victor is resentful, totally amoral, and feels he is entitled to whatever he can get - or take. Unbeknowst to the police, he is also guilty of a number of violent rapes, for which he has never been charged. The 'normal' side he can present to his social workers and employers is countered by the crashing and tortured screaming that others hear coming from his room, and he hears within his head.
Envious of the public admiration for his victim David, whose stoic acceptance of his paralysis has won him high regard and accolades, Victor can't stop himself making contact. To his surprise, David and his girlfriend Clare welcome him, assuming his motives are benign - that he, also, is trying to make sense of how the incident has affected his life. Victor manages to act normally long enough for them to become 'friends', but the tension of his scheming, David's skepticism and Clare's naive belief in Victor make you feel something awful is just around the corner. Away from his friends, all sorts of things in Victor's mind are starting to surface, and go out of control...
Ruth Rendell never writes a bad book, and this is one of her more original plots, no normal whodunnit. From the first pages Victor's incipient violence is so well portrayed, yet what happens is still a complete surprise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Jan. 12 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
Though I must admit I might not have made it through this book if I'd read it (I need constant action), listening to it was a real experience. It was slow at the beginning, but I quickly got swept into Victor's world, and felt his humiliation, cringed at his perceptions, and rooted for him . . . for awhile. And then I absolutely hated him. Which, I daresay (can you tell I've been listening to too many British books?), is just what the author intended. Or at least she won't mind.
I thought the book was well read and all the characters were convincing. My favorite was David Fleetwood. I felt I knew him very well, even though only one chapter was from his perspective.
Rendell has written many wonderful books, and this is one of the best. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars These people are nuts! Jan. 17 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I also just finished this book on tape and confess that I have a completely different view of 'poor' Victor, David and Clare. I have no sympathy at all for Victor Jenner and thought that he got exactly what he deserved. At first I thought all the characters were naive and misunderstood and then I thought they were just incredibly stupid. I don't want to give away the plot but none of the characters in this book was 'normal' and predictable. Ruth Rendell did an incredible job of writing a wacky study of human interactions that was at times a black comedy. This book kept me totally off balance and wondering what these crazy people were going to do next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Rendell's absolute best! Dec 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is absolutely one of Rendell's best. A rapist who accidentally shoots a policeman emerges from jail 10 years later to make amends. How he makes amends, and what happens because of his "remorse" is bone-chilling and remarkably suspenseful. Clue here - the motive behind the shooting has something to do with the name of a restaurant. Rendell loves to pull the rug right under you just as you thought you had sure footing.
Highly recommended. Also read Judgement in Stone, possibly her best and most brilliant!
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