The Test Paperback – Oct 5 2010
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Gussin's second novel was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards 2007
Gussin's debut, [i]Shadow of Death[/i], was a finalist for International Thriller Writers
A substantial promotional budget will allow extensive national advertising, including targeted print media ads and mainstream print outlets
A multi-tiered publicity campaign to include wide distribution of Advanced Reading Copies, a national author tour and Book Sense Programs
Author appearances at major conferences/literary events and will maintain an active website; outreach to independent bookstores, book clubs, libraries and publisher/author professional networks
About the Author
Patricia Gussin is a physician who grew up in Grand Rapids, MI, practiced in Philadelphia and now lives on Longboat Key, FL. She is also the author of Shadow of Death, Thriller Award nominee for Best First Novel, Twisted Justice, The Test, and And Then There Was One. She and her husband, Robert, are the authors of What's Next For ... You.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The family dynamics are interesting and somewhat convulted here, much like they are in any family of step children, half siblings, etc. It's interesting to watch the interplay between the sons and daughters, and the way they view themselves and each other. The author uses recent political and international events to weave throughout the story, adding an additional level of realism. The novel chronicles the next year in the family, and marks numerous ups, downs, sadness and happy events.
In some cases, there is almost too much going on, and I found myself having to backtrack once or twice, just to check out familial relationships. In a novel with this many characters, plot twists and subplots, that's to be expected. Some of the twists the book used were easy to see coming, some were not. It definitely held my interest thoughout.
If you enjoy suspense and family intrigue, you will enjoy this book. I plan to read more of this author's work in the future.
The problem with this book is not the premise itself, but the introduction of so many characters within the first two chapters. By giving us an in-depth ancestral chart Gussin tries to make the introduction of these main characters easier on the reader. What happens however is that we are left with more confusion and the inability to connect with any one person.
Throughout the story, we are made to follow the Parnell family as they each traverse their own personal "Test" that has been personally crafted by Peter before his death. Each lesson is to be administered over the course of a year to find out if his heirs are worthy of such a vast amount of money.
The story moved, however you find yourself needing to retreat back to the family tree to keep each character and where they belonged straight. By having so many main characters, each having their own personal journey, one has to relearn who the person is before you read what they are doing.
The idea of The Test was ingenious, a wealthy father, in his last hours of life realizing what is truly important; tries to pass on wisdom he never could while alive. The Test was a great idea, with a grand moral lesson and a feel good ending. But with this many characters that you never are able to fully connect with, it falls flat in the end.
Even though the book is advertised as being about "The Test" and the synopsis is mostly about the test, the book only starts out being about the test and quickly looses that thread to become a murder mystery as someone targets the family members and the year counts down. Frank is the matriarch son and as such wants control of all the money. Dan is the rebel who left the family years ago. Ashley and Carla are the youngest sisters of Paul's second wife Vivian. Rory is Vivian's daughter. And then there is Monica.
I found this to be an enjoyable easy read with a somewhat predictable story line. The book had quite a few story lines going at once that seemed a little disconnected or unnecessary, and the ending never did completely explain the outcome of the test to my satisfaction, but overall I would recommend the book.
That said, the plot did keep rolling along and the character descriptions were engaging. If the author can learn the 'show don't tell' lesson and fix some of the point-of-view issues, she'll be well worth reading in future.
This is a story that is at times a bit far-fetched and yet one that in the reading becomes a story of potential and "it could happen."
A billionaire and philanthropist has accomplished much in his life,but at a cost. As in many stories we have read and perhaps in personal reflections, this character wants to leave a personal legacy that involves more than a name on a building. In a most unusual will, he challenges his six adult children to find ways to embrace a code of moral values and to measurably contribute to society.
The six children include a wide range of personalities, with failures and successes in their own lives. Some are publicly known, while others are clearly private and almost in hiding. There is a vast fortune at stake and the heirs who meet the goals and intentions of the will after a one year period will inherit.
This is the 1st novel I have read by Patricia Gussin and I compliment her story-telling ability. Her characters have believable flaws and strengths and there are a number of unexpected twists. She provides solid insights to the strengths and weaknesses of the extended families and those looking to advance their own agendas. One could comment on the details, but it is better to read the actual story as it unfolds, rather than to try to provide too much in the introduction.
There are antagonists, "do-gooders" and nay-Sayers as in real life, but the conclusion leaves the reader with a sense of optimism in these days of increasing cynicism and self-centered greed. After reading this book, one should stop and think about values and ethics.
Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE