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Red, Red Robin [Mass Market Paperback]

Stephen Gallagher
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 30 1996
"FASCINATING . . . KEEP ALL THE LIGHTS ON WHILE READING IT."
--Houston Chronicle
He's sweet, wistful, and boyishly handsome. But beneath Tim Hagan's polite veneer lies a rage as deep as the ocean. He needs a woman to save him from his gruesome past--and those who fail become part of it. . . .
"POWERFUL PROSE, WRENCHING PSYCHOLOGICAL INTENSITY, AND ICY SUSPENSE."
--Library Journal
Ruth Lasseter finds herself in a bind: to put the office gossips off the scent of her affair with a married coworker, she must attend a company function with an attractive, even enviable, male. And Tim Hagan seems just the ticket. . . .
"TRULY MENACING."
--Kirkus Reviews
The darkness torn from that single night will consume Ruth with a need for vengeance and strip her life to the bone. And as Ruth penetrates the very heart of Tim's madness, she finds herself irrevocably locked in a chilling dance to the death. . . .
"If thriller-reading were a sin, Stephen Gallagher would be responsible for my ultimate damnation. His work is fast-paced, well-written, infused with a sense of dark wonder, and altogether fresh."
-- Dean R. Koontz

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

British writer Gallagher (Nightmare, with Angel) has written a smashing serial-killer thriller that embraces all the conventions of the genre while adding several page-turning twists and subtexts of its own. When, in order to protect her married lover, Ruth Lasseter uses an escort service to employ a companion, Tim Hagan, for a company event, it comes as no surprise to the reader that the hired help turns out to be serious trouble. But Ruth isn't your standard damsel in distress. She's a resident British alien working for a Philadelphia publisher, emotionally stressed enough to discuss her plans with her imaginary child but strong enough to flaunt her too-young escort in a corporate setting. Even after the Hagan reveals his true nature and she and security guard Aidan Kincannon foil his plans for her in a struggle that leads to the madman's presumed death, Ruth continues to be haunted by the young man, and delves into his past. As she discovers, Hagan may not be dead, and may not be the man everyone assumes him to be. And, as she uncovers the macabre and unsettling story of his childhood, Ruth finds herself pushing away Aidan and anyone else who might help her regain her emotional equilibrium. The final, inevitable showdown between a killer driven by inescapable demons and a woman who seeks understanding as much as revenge proves as powerful as the promise that Gallagher has built up, page upon gripping page of this compelling, unusually sensitive chiller. Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Powerful prose, wrenching psychological intensity, and icy suspense characterize Gallagher's (Nightmare with Angel, Ballantine, 1993) newest thriller. The Briton convincingly places a female protagonist at the crux of his plot, which begins when Ruth Lasseter employs an escort service to conceal her love affair with a co-worker. Ruth and the young escort get along famously; however, when Ruth rejects Tim after one night of fantasy, he first woos her, then stalks her, and finally kidnaps her. Ruth escapes but becomes a slave to Tim's violence and can only hope to free herself by examining Tim's past. Recommended for all collections.?Rex Klett, Mitchell Community Coll., LRC, Statesville, N.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A serial killer thriller with real characters! Feb. 4 2004
Format:Hardcover
British writer Gallagher produces a serial-killer novel of intense psychological suspense in this 1995 thriller.
An Englishwoman who has adopted Philadelphia as her home, Ruth Lasseter is having an affair with the boss. When she needs a date for a company function she turns to an escort service, choosing a shockingly young and handsome date who enchants her with his perfect manners and romantic attentions.
But the young man, Tim Hagan, is not satisfied with one night. He begins a stalking campaign which escalates into a nightmare of violence. Ruth escapes, with the help of Aidan Kincannon, an ex-cop turned security guard, but loses her lover, her job and her self-assurance. A year later Ruth is living in Aidan's house. His sometime lover, she is obsessed full-time with Hagan and refuses to accept news of his death.
She embarks on a search into his past, peeling away layers, finding horrors. Aidan, who's made poor choices in his life, develops as a man of deep integrity, bravery and uncertainty. Meanwhile Ruth's ex-lover's vengeful wife, a lawyer, is determined to have Ruth deported. And the career of Tim Hagan is once again steering him on a collision course with Ruth.
Gallagher focuses on character development, making his people steer the plot. A riveting read with enough unusual quirks to make it stand out.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Thrillers I've Read Yet Oct. 2 2001
Format:Hardcover
What makes one thriller about a crazed killer so much different from another? Why do I want to advise you to rush out now and get your hands on a copy of Red, Red Robin any way you can, and encourage you to write Ballantine Books to persuade them to get this book back in print? Although the plot is good, there are other, lesser books with similar plots--casual acquaintance becomes stalker becomes deranged killer isn't exactly a novelty. Other writers write equally good characters, and an intensity of pacing has become standard in today's fiction. But Red, Red Robin does all this and more. Where Stephen Gallagher succeeds best is his focus--not on the single-minded cop who chases down the killer, nor on the maniacal lunatic himself, but on the victim. Of course, in today's high-bodycount slasherfests of fiction, any novel based on the victim's point of view is likely to become a short-short story instead, but Gallagher sidesteps this trap deftly, instead apparently killing off the killer early on. Of course this is a red herring ("Why wasn't the book called Red, Red Herring?", I hear you ask) and we all know it. Where an author like Dean Koontz would follow with an interminable and fairly mindless chase, Gallagher instead takes the opportunity to explore the consequences of the abduction and near-death upon his protagonist. And here he excels as a writer, making us truly feel the uncertainty, the worthlessness, and the constant paralyzing fear of the victim long after any threat has passed. For this, Red, Red Robin deserves a read. So don't be a victim of bad marketing decisions yourself-- get off the web now and write that letter to the good people at Ballantine Books!
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Implausible thriller. June 18 1996
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Another story about a serial killer. This one starts well
but loses its way. The central characters never really come to life
and as the author searches for twist after twist it becomes
more and more implausible.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When the Red, Red Robin goes kill kill killing along Aug. 7 2003
By Andrew McCaffrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'll state right off the bat that the reason I bought and read this book was because the author had penned one of my favorite Doctor Who serials and I wanted to see if he was as apt at novel-writing as he was at script-writing (I should note that he also wrote a rather mediocre Doctor Who serial, but we won't talk about that now). I was quite impressed by this book, and it fulfilled my expectations. I'm not a regular reader of this genre, but I found this particular example to be amazingly captivating.
While reading the opening chapters of RED, RED ROBIN, my mind quickly went over the possible outcomes for the story, and I quickly began to predict how the book would unfold. It turns out that my initial prediction was correct in all but one aspect. The scenario that I had envisioned for the whole book ended at about page 75, and from there the plot kept making clever leaps and turns, defying my ability to guess which direction it would go. Eventually, I stopped making predictions and just enjoyed the thrill ride that it offered.
"Psychological thriller" is, I believe the term they use to describe this sort of book, and it's a genre that I'll admit to some inexperience with. But if they're all as good as this one is, I should have some great reading ahead of me. I went into this book having not read so much as a single plot summary of the novel, so I was taken completely by surprise at every twist and turn. Therefore, I will not describe more than the very initial setup. All you should know is that this book starts off with two people: a woman, and a man she hires from an (legitimate) escort service. What this scenario turns into should not be hard to guess, but how it happens, and what happens beyond that are utterly surprising, and completely mesmerizing.
A book of this kind lives or dies depending on how interesting the protagonists are to the reader. The audience doesn't necessarily have to like or dislike them; they just have to want to keep reading about them. The characters of RED, RED ROBIN are fascinating creations. They're given huge amounts of background detail. Their actions are always understandable and consistent. And one of them even gets childhood flashback sequences that are quite creepy and impressive. Gallagher does all this without sacrificing the breakneck speed of his plot.
One thing that I quite enjoyed was the way that the British author included many different forms of American life. I can almost imagine him over here doing research and being inspired by all the different types of locations that are available. The story begins in the bustling city of Philadelphia, but it moves around quite a bit, taking in big cities and small towns, open countryside, and boggy swampland. He brings forward a very interesting outsider's view of America.
I'm glad I let Stephen Gallagher's television work lure me into his mainstream novels. I now have a second book of his waiting for me in my too-read pile. If this book is anything to go by, then I'll have a great story awaiting me filled with memorable characters, and genuinely unsettling thrills and imagery. I'm looking forward to my next Gallagher novel.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A serial killer thriller with real characters! Feb. 4 2004
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
British writer Gallagher produces a serial-killer novel of intense psychological suspense in this 1995 thriller.
An Englishwoman who has adopted Philadelphia as her home, Ruth Lasseter is having an affair with the boss. When she needs a date for a company function she turns to an escort service, choosing a shockingly young and handsome date who enchants her with his perfect manners and romantic attentions.
But the young man, Tim Hagan, is not satisfied with one night. He begins a stalking campaign which escalates into a nightmare of violence. Ruth escapes, with the help of Aidan Kincannon, an ex-cop turned security guard, but loses her lover, her job and her self-assurance. A year later Ruth is living in Aidan's house. His sometime lover, she is obsessed full-time with Hagan and refuses to accept news of his death.
She embarks on a search into his past, peeling away layers, finding horrors. Aidan, who's made poor choices in his life, develops as a man of deep integrity, bravery and uncertainty. Meanwhile Ruth's ex-lover's vengeful wife, a lawyer, is determined to have Ruth deported. And the career of Tim Hagan is once again steering him on a collision course with Ruth.
Gallagher focuses on character development, making his people steer the plot. A riveting read with enough unusual quirks to make it stand out.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Thrillers I've Read Yet Oct. 2 2001
By Dr. Christopher Coleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What makes one thriller about a crazed killer so much different from another? Why do I want to advise you to rush out now and get your hands on a copy of Red, Red Robin any way you can, and encourage you to write Ballantine Books to persuade them to get this book back in print? Although the plot is good, there are other, lesser books with similar plots--casual acquaintance becomes stalker becomes deranged killer isn't exactly a novelty. Other writers write equally good characters, and an intensity of pacing has become standard in today's fiction. But Red, Red Robin does all this and more. Where Stephen Gallagher succeeds best is his focus--not on the single-minded cop who chases down the killer, nor on the maniacal lunatic himself, but on the victim. Of course, in today's high-bodycount slasherfests of fiction, any novel based on the victim's point of view is likely to become a short-short story instead, but Gallagher sidesteps this trap deftly, instead apparently killing off the killer early on. Of course this is a red herring ("Why wasn't the book called Red, Red Herring?", I hear you ask) and we all know it. Where an author like Dean Koontz would follow with an interminable and fairly mindless chase, Gallagher instead takes the opportunity to explore the consequences of the abduction and near-death upon his protagonist. And here he excels as a writer, making us truly feel the uncertainty, the worthlessness, and the constant paralyzing fear of the victim long after any threat has passed. For this, Red, Red Robin deserves a read. So don't be a victim of bad marketing decisions yourself-- get off the web now and write that letter to the good people at Ballantine Books!
1.0 out of 5 stars Gallagher not at his best in robin July 1 2014
By Teddy123 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Just didn't grab me through the first 50 pages or so. I gave up and went to something else. No go
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Implausible thriller. June 18 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Another story about a serial killer. This one starts well
but loses its way. The central characters never really come to life
and as the author searches for twist after twist it becomes
more and more implausible.
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