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Reprisal Mass Market Paperback – Apr 13 2000


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (MM); Reissue edition (April 13 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451184769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451184764
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,018,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Mitchell Smith writes deceptively quiet, outwardly civilized thrillers about people we can identify with--people whose lives are suddenly ripped apart. He's fascinated by the way his characters react to stress, by how much pressure they can absorb before they either break or change into another kind of person.

In Reprisal, Joanna Reed, a poet and professor, is sorely tested by various demons. She battles breast cancer, and then her husband Frank, an experienced sailor, drowns in the Atlantic Ocean. Joanna tries to work out her grief and pain as she has always done, by spelunking in dangerous caves. Meanwhile, her elderly father is burned to death in his cabin in the woods--another "accident."

We quickly find out that a strange young girl named Charis--the college roommate of Joanna's daughter--is connected to the deaths. Tough and endlessly resourceful, Charis wants to destroy Joanna's life as reprisal for a past grievance. It takes the equally smart but grief-slowed Joanna some time to realize what's happening, but Smith is so good at getting into her mind and soul that we can easily forgive this small lapse. He also rewards our patience with an ending that is both terrifying and sadly inevitable. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Quaint New England beaches and disorientingly vast, scary caves are among the effective settings used by Smith (Sacrifice) in this absorbing tale of memory, murder and long-postponed revenge. Smith's sixth novel offers much suspense but little mystery, since the villain is known from the outset: she's Charis Langenberg, sexually abused at age six, who has grown up to be, at 20-something, a full-time graduate student and sociopath. Charis has staged, only days apart, the "accidental" deaths on Asconsett Island of the father and grandfather of Rebecca Reed, her teenage summer-school roommate. Joanna Reed, the novel's heroine, is Rebecca's mom and also a poet. When she arrives at Asconsett Island to grieve, she has a hard time believing the deaths were accidents. How could her husband, a skilled seaman, have drowned? Could her elderly, obsessively cautious father have died accidentally in a cabin fire? After much suspicion and several flashbacks, Rebecca herself "falls" off a dormitory roof. When her death is ruled a suicide, Joanna suffers a minor breakdown and Charis returns to Asconsett to help her recover. Will Joanna figure out who is behind the deaths, and why? Smith's prose prowess and skill with psychology and landscape offset his sometimes jerky plotting. His credibly flawed, offbeat characters and vivid descriptionsAparticularly of the underground caverns that Joanna, an avid spelunker, exploresAwill keep readers deeply involved. But Joanna's incessant introspection can be wearying. Her understanding of what's really going on, when it finally arrives, seems forced and sudden, marring what would otherwise be the gripping underground climax to a novel that, while not Mitchell's best (that's probably Stone City), is a reliable page-turner.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on April 24 1999
Format: Hardcover
Joining her family at Asconsett Island, Massachusetts, Joanna Reed, a noted poet, looks forward to the vacation. However, her idyllic summer abruptly ends when her spouse dies in an apparent drowning accident. Joanna cannot accept that her husband, a professional sailor who always used a life jacket, did not have one on him when he drowned. Her father soon dies in a fire. She argues with the local sheriff that both so-called accidents seem suspicious, but he figures she is just grieving.

A summer school roommate of Joanna's daughter, Charis Langenberg enters the distraught woman's life as a compassionate friend. However, unbeknownst to Joanna (but not to readers), Charis has killed the two men. When Joanna's daughter dies next from a roof top fall ruled a suicide, a mentally collapsed Joanna knows she must uncover the malevolent spirit destroying her family one person at a time.
REPRISAL is a well-written mystery that leaves readers wondering about the connection between the killer and her ultimate victim. The audience knows from the start that Charis is the killer, but Mitchell Smith hooks his fans by getting them to realize how cool and smooth the sociopath Charis is in her endeavor to get inside Joanna's life. Mr. Smith delicately provides glimpses into the deteriorating mind of Joanna as one tragedy after another is officially written off as an accident or suicide. Though the drug scene subplot seems to never reunite with the main plot, no one will doubt that this is a worthy thriller along the lines of Hitchcock's Frenzy.

Harriet Klausner
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By A Customer on Sept. 7 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think Mitchell Smith is a fabulous writer and I've read every one of his books. This isn't his best work (I strongly recommend his others), but the story is compelling and interesting. And Smith always creates intriguing, multi-dimentional characters. I think Smith is a bit of a rara avis, and his books appeal to people who appreciate a deeper insight, a different point of view and a lot of character analysis. And his writing is rhythmical, but every book makes me gasp at least once with surprise. I think the characters in this book are less sympathetic than some of his other work, and the plot a little more obvious. Nonetheless, it's solid work by a great author - but read his other work for a real treat.
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By A Customer on May 8 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Simply one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Smith's writing style is cumbersome, him making use all too frequently of fractured sentences. Don't be fooled by the so-called suspense or mystery as to the Charis character's motives....you can see this one coming after a couple of chapters (if not sooner). I mean come now...how many motives can there be for a this Charis woman of whom we have no backround suddenly start killing Joanna's (...)? And what's with Smith's odd fascination with women peeing, both him writing it and the characters talking about it? Who cares? Skip this one and move on.
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