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The Killing Circle [Mass Market Paperback]

Andrew Pyper
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 25 2009
A New York Times Crime Novel of the Year

A spine-chilling, mind-twisting psychological thriller — Andrew Pyper’s most gripping novel yet — in which a writing circle is haunted by a serial killer.

When Patrick Rush, journalist, single father and failed novelist, decides to join a creative writing circle, it seems a fertile time for the imagination. In the city of Toronto, a murderer is striking at random, leaving his victims’ bodies mutilated and dismembered, and taunting the police with cryptic notes.

Influenced by the atmosphere of menace and fear, the group begins to read each other their own dark, unsettling tales. One, Angela, tells a mesmerizing story about a child-stealer called the Sandman. Patrick, though, finds fantasy and reality becoming blurred. Is the maniac at large in fact the Sandman? What does Angela really know? And is he himself being stalked by the killer?

It is only when his own son is snatched that Patrick understands what he must do: embark on a horrifying journey into the unknown and track down the elusive figure known as the Sandman.

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The Killing Circle + The Guardians + Wildfire Season
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this extraordinary thriller from Canadian author Pyper (The Wildfire Season), Patrick Rush, a lowly TV critic for a Toronto newspaper whose life has been slowly deteriorating since the untimely death of his wife, struggles to remain employed while trying to raise his precocious young son. When Rush decides to join a local writing circle in hopes of pursuing his lifelong dream of being an author, he becomes obsessed with a horrific work-in-progress written by a would-be writer in the group, a possibly autobiographical tale about being haunted by a terrible man who does terrible things. Rush begins finding connections among the story's supernatural villain, a shadowy serial killer with a predilection for dismemberment that has all of Toronto living in fear, and his own unraveling sanity. Powered by an ingeniously nonlinear narrative and suffused with a tone thick with dread, this is easily Pyper's most ambitious—and absorbing—work to date. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The villain leaps off the page...Pyper does an impressive job building suspense, offering enough narrative twists and turns to keep the reader nicely off balance.  Basing the experience of the novel in Rush's first-person perspective, he is able to capture not only the depths of the haunting and gradually mounting terror, but also the more routine aspects of the character's life... A strong and compelling read."
The Vancouver Sun

"A thumping good read, a real creep-fest."
Ottawa Citizen

"The Killing Circle is the best of a quartet of outstanding mystery-thriller novels by Andrew Pyper.  A riveting prologue, impossible to put down, quickens the beat and leaves you with a twist in the pit of your gut.  The twist weaves you through the story of fear, panic and resignation and it drives you onward, page by page, to the conclusion... a challenging and compulsive read that clearly demonstrates Andrew Pyper as a unique storyteller on the Canadian scene."
Hamilton Spectator

"Rising star [Pyper] doesn't disappoint in [this] fast-paced, funny thriller.  A terrific ride of a mystery...the story hurtles along.  Pyper is so good at dropping clues.  The thing is, he's also good at introducing so many twists that you'd swear his plot was inspired by a bowl of rotini."
Edmonton Journal

"Extraordinary...Powered by an ingeniously nonlinear narrative and suffused with a tone thick with dread, this is easily Pyper's most ambitious — and absorbing — work to date."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Very smart, very scary, very good: once I started I couldn't stop. Fans of dark and witty suspense will love The Killing Circle."
—Peter Abrahams, author of Oblivion and End of Story

"Few are better at conveying an omnipresent sense of dread and horror bubbling just beneath life's seemingly mundane routines. The Killing Circle will keep you up one night reading and another four checking the locks on the doors."

“If Andrew Pyper scripted our collective nightmares, we’d all be dreaming and screaming like the narrator of his gorgeously written and thoroughly unnerving suspense thriller…. This is a terrific yarn.”
—The New York Times

“This is one great read: darkly lyrical and atmospheric, it's as haunting as it is gripping. Highly recommended.”
—Harlan Coban

“Frightening and action-packed.”
Los Angeles Times

“Spookily terrific...Great suspense and a great story. ”
Winnipeg Free Press

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read Dec 14 2008
I first came across Andrew Pyper when I read his novel Lost Girls and he immediately became one of my favourite authors. However as time went on I forgot Pyper and so I was pleasantly surprised to read an article of his in the Globe and Mail and discover this great Canadian author once more.

The Killing Circle is Pyper's fourth novel. Set in Toronto, the author's hometown, the book focuses on a group of amateur writers getting together for a five week period. As the amateur authors gather and share their writing, the city of Toronto is gripped by a serial killer. Could the killer be one of the writers? How do the members of the group feel about one another? And why do the members of the group feel a though they are being followed?

Pyper does a great job of starting the novel out slowly. Characters are developed over a series of chapters and suspense continues to build in a natural fashion so that when the book does come to an end, you're left saying to yourself "wow, I never saw that coming".

In short I liked this book and I'm looking forward to reading Pyper's other novels too.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An odd combo of literary fiction and horror June 4 2014
By Mira
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Killing Circle wasn't a bad read, exactly, but I did find that I had some trouble with it. It reads as though the author was trying to combine the literary and horror genres. At times he succeeds, but at other times, the attempt just seems to slow down what's happening, nearly to the point where I had trouble reading through to when it began moving again.

Overall, though, I did like the mystery/horror aspect of the novel. The author did a good job of keeping the reader in suspense, and the ending was something that I didn't see coming.
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5.0 out of 5 stars despairing and dark June 3 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I have been lured into the world of Pyper's novels a few times now. They are well written though perhaps a little more opaque than they could be. Their real strength is drawing you down into a dark place in your own mind, messing with your fears then doubling down. You like Patrick Rush; he has his flaws but fits nicely into the tradition of the protagonist who is determined to go to his fate despite a path littered with warning signs. He is a father - an ongoing Pyper theme - and this plays a central role in his view of the world. If you enjoy pure horror wait for a rainy week, read this then follow up with The Demonlogist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Spooky Thriller Aug. 8 2009
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
In "The Killing Circle", we are plunged into the complicated world of ones inner self, facing all kinds of voices and fantasies. We are particularly invited into the mind of Patrick Rush, an aspiring novelist.

Patrick wishing to unleash his own creativity joins Conrad White's writing workshop, a dark and mysterious group that meet each week to share their secret tales. Suffering from a mental block and a lack of fertile imagination he becomes frustrated and envious of Angela's tale of the Sandman. He plagiarise her story and submits it for publication. Problems arise when an eerie similarity is discovered between the novel and multiple murders that are being investigated by Toronto's police force. Paranoia sets into the group when one by one its members disappear.

This is one dark, very complex and compelling plot with very disturbing moments. Fear and obsession is palpable, the first person narration brings out the sense of dread and horror and provides an insight into the mind of a murderer. This novel played with my mind, there were moments when I felt like abandoning it but new developments piqued my interest, I stayed riveted to every word in order to find out the killer's identity.

Even with its interesting characters and steady moving pace this spooky thriller, full of bogeymen may not be for everyone one.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't care Nov. 13 2009
Even after reading 200 pages of The Killing Circle, I still didn't care what happened next. A terribly boring work !
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