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The Waking: A Novel Of Suspense [Hardcover]

Mike Nichols
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 4 2002
To all who have met them, Will and Sandy are the golden couple, and their lives in a small midwestern town couldn't be better. Sandy is a beautiful, wealthy, and caring lawyer who works with the underprivileged. Will is a laid-back newspaper reporter, madly in love with his wife.

But when a terrible automobile crash leaves Sandy in a coma, Will is devastated. Or is he? Suddenly, nothing is as it seems. In reality, the couple wasn't nearly as happy as everyone believed. They'd recently patched up their marriage after Sandy's brief infidelity. Then, as Will is struggling to come to terms with Sandy's condition, the body of her ex-lover is found. He'd been murdered. Events begin to spin out of control, and all eyes are on Will. Is he involved? Or are these tragic events just coincidence? To their shock, the people who think they know the facts are about to discover the truth.

The Waking is a twisty debut thriller in which an apparent accident unleashes a chain of catastrophic events.


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From Publishers Weekly

"That is what I want to tell you. That, here, now, with what follows, is what I need you to know." Readers tantalized by those sentences may come away from this debut suspenser by a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel feeling somewhat let down. In Droughton, Minn., lawyer Sandy Cross, "a woman of uncommon gifts" and uncommon family wealth marries, beneath her station, newspaper reporter Will Dunby. When Sandy fails to return home one March night, Will discovers that her car has gone over a cliff outside of town. "It looks like a suicide attempt," says the local police chief. Was it, or was it something more sinister? While Sandy is kept alive on a respirator, a multitude of Droughton folk act out the surrounding drama. There's Dr. Moylan, whose affair with Sandy leads to his death, and Haley, a law colleague of Sandy's and ex-paramour of Will's who has an 11th-hour secret up her sleeve. And what about Billi Stroud, a 20-something female cop who's busted for a police department infraction and who may have something to do with the town "bad boy," who's gone missing? Unfortunately, Nichols's writing, despite a fair amount of dialogue, is for the most part almost reportorial in style, making it difficult for the reader to care about these characters or connect with the plot's twists and turns. He's more successful with the humanistic elements found in scenes concerning Stone Soup, a women's shelter for which Sandy provided legal counsel, as well as in the ongoing discussions between Will and Sandy's mother about euthanasia, which demonstrate a nice ear for human foibles. There's just not enough of a payoff, however, to justify this story's many disparate elements too much plotting for too little effect.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

When newspaper reporter Will Dunby comes home one evening, he's surprised to find that his lawyer wife, Sandy, isn't there. A few hours tick by, and Will calls his old pal Deiter, a cop in their small Minnesota town, who doesn't have good news. Sandy's car careened off a bridge and caught fire; fortunately, Sandy was thrown from the vehicle prior to impact and was found, alive but seriously injured, in the snowy banks of the river. Having detected no skid marks or other telling signs, Deiter suspects that Sandy attempted suicide. Will is astonished. Sure, as a couple they had their problems--namely Will's detachment and Sandy's brief affair--but nothing that would lead to suicide. As Sandy lies in a coma, Will uses his reporter's skills to uncover the full story as suspicion mounts about his involvement, especially after Sandy's ex-lover is found dead. With a likable hero surrounded by believable characters and compelling courtroom scenes, Nichols delivers an accomplished first novel. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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It was ten degrees outside, and I wore nothing on my feet but socks and an old pair of loafers that had a small hole in them. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the year's best first mysteries March 4 2004
By Larry
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Will Dunby is a reporter for the local Droughton, Minnesota newspaper, THE COURIER. His wife, Sandy is in a coma after she apparently tried to commit suicide by driving her car over a cliff. Will and Sandy had a troubled marriage which prompted Sandy to have had an affair with a local physician, Tommy Moylan. When Moylan's body is found with two bullet wounds shortly after Sandy's car wreck, Will becomes a possible suspect for the murder. He must try to prove his innocence.
There is much to be admired in this debut novel from Mike Nichols, a reporter for the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Characters are well fleshed out and their dialogue highly realistic. Especially impressive was not only the compelling plot, but the multiple twists and turns it takes to the surprising ending. Not only should this book be considered a murder mystery, but, it is also a suspense thriller and a legal thriller in that courtroom scenes truly make the book unable to be put down. Mike Nichols paces his novel well and certainly doesn't wear out his welcome by keeping it a perfect length-- not too long. This is another entry onto the short list of the year's best first mysteries.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid First Effort July 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mike Nichols's The Waking is a mystery novel with a soul and a lot of heart. It is not so much concerned with the hows and whos as much as it is concerned with the whys. This is a mystery about characters and about their lives, not so much about the things they have done.
After a bad car accident that many believe to be a suicide attempt, Will's wife is in a coma she simply won't live through. This is where the mystery begins. Because Sandy was working for a woman named Billi who is now in prison for drug trafficking and who might also have been involved in the muder of a man with whom Sandy had an affair.
The trial soon begins, but the things that are unveiled are about to destroy Will's life and his image of Sandy forever. So many secrets are unearthed that everyone involved will be left bared and wounded.
Nichols has a knack for writing human emotions on the page. He knows how to create situations that are involving and intriguing. He also knows how to be sentimental without going overboard, which is exactly why this novel was so successful. This is the kind of plot that could be the basis for an award winning film; the suspense and the characters are that good. But the thing that pulled me away from completely enjoying this book was the writer himself. The book is in dire need of editing. Told in the first person, Nichols's narrator is ingaging and very eloquent. Maybe too eloquent. Nichols often breaks the pacing to bring his readers into long self-analyses that bring very little to the plot and that just seem to make the book drag a little in its down times.
And somehow, the writing also came off as a bit repetitive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent thriller by a talented new author. Aug. 9 2002
Format:Hardcover
"The Waking," by newcomer Mike Nichols, is an extremely accomplished work. Nichols is adept at handling the many twists and turns of the psychological suspense thriller. "The Waking" is reminiscent of "Presumed Innocent," by Turow, in that Nichols handles courtroom scenes well and also toys expertly with the reader until the very end of the book. I do not mind being manipulated if the book is exciting and entertaining, which "The Waking" assuredly is.
Will Dunby is a newspaper reporter who is married to a beautiful, wealthy and intelligent lawyer named Sandy Cross. Sandy's family is very wealthy, while Will has had to struggle financially all of his life. On the surface, Will and Sandy appear to be a golden couple. However, their marriage, when examined more closely, is far from perfect. Sandy is brokenhearted over her inability to carry a baby to term, and her bitterness spills over into her relationship with Will. After a series of ever escalating quarrels, the Dunby marriage appears to be headed for trouble.
To make things worse, a series of catastrophic events occur which throw Will's life into turmoil, and the rest of "The Waking" is a thrilling roller coaster ride. Not only has Nichols written a genuinely suspenseful and engrossing mystery, but he also raises fascinating moral questions about the rationalizations that people make in order to justify their questionable behavior. The character development and dialogue are first rate and the mystery is intricate yet satisfying. I recommend "The Waking" highly. Mike Nichols is a talented new author whose future work I await with eager anticipation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful whodunnit July 30 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I read this book in one sitting. The pace, tone and plotting are right on the mark. The book keeps reeling you in. The illusion is never broken and the mind is always engaged. The trappings of a conventional whodunnit - courtroom scenes, murders and cops - are all present, but also thoughtful meditations on end-of-life issues and euthanasia enthrall as well. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Waking July 23 2002
Format:Hardcover
What a book! The author wrote this for the reader who does not want anything handed to them. There are twists and turns every chapter and the outcome hits you like a brick from nowhere. Have fun reading this book; I did.
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