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Live Flesh Hardcover – 1986


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Hardcover, 1986
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Pantheon (1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394555449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394555447
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.4 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,069,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

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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By Anna Klein on 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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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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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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