The Waking: A Novel Of Suspense Hardcover – Jul 4 2002
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
One night when Sandy is late getting home Will has a premonition that something is drastically wrong. He calls the police and later discovers that Sandy deliberately drove her car off a cliff. She was thrown from the car and because of the intensive brain damage lapsed into a deep coma that the doctors think she will survive. Her suicide attempt sets off a chain reaction of events that will lead to the arrest and conviction of an innocent woman, Sandy's client and friend Billi Stradi. As a result of this murder conviction, Will never be able to look at his closest friends the same way again.
From the very first page of this story, readers know that the events that transpire in this book are not as straight forward as they appear. What keeps readers eagerly turning the pages is that they don't know who actually perpetrated these events and what part Will played in the days following his learning of his wife's infidelity. THE WAKING is an inspired and thought provoking thriller written by an author who has a unique perspective on the human race.
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on July 29 2002
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... Read morePublished on July 22 2002
The Waking is simply the best book I have ever read. It is a flawless novel filled with intriguing characters and heart-stoppin plot twists!Published on July 22 2002 by kevin donahue
I deliberately waited until I went on vacation to read this book so I could truly savor the experience. Read morePublished on July 15 2002 by James S. Bain