Crying Wolf Mass Market Paperback – May 1 2001
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Crying Wolf is a suspense novel--it says so right on the cover. In Stephen King's blurb of praise, Peter Abrahams is his "favorite American suspense novelist." That should mean nail-biting action--what's lurking around that corner?--eerie coincidence, disturbing glances into the depths of human evil, right? Well, yes. But Abrahams's novel is also a remarkably sensitive examination of a naive young man's emergence from an insular environment into a world more disorienting than he'd ever thought college could be.
Nat is an enormously likable protagonist. His decision to leave his small hometown in Colorado to attend Inverness College, an equally small but very prestigious liberal arts institution, will force him to question attitudes and ways of life he had always taken for granted. But such novelty can be disturbing as well as rewarding: when he meets fellow students Grace and Izzie Zorn, a pair of twins born with any number of silver spoons in their identically lovely mouths, Nat must struggle to reconcile their matter-of-fact acceptance of the omnipresence of money with his own frugal existence. Both dreamer and pragmatist, Nat immediately captures the reader's sympathy.
Abrahams frames Nat's growing awareness of the complexity of existence against the life and times of Freedy Knight, a thief, bodybuilder, and con artist for whom complexity means figuring out a method of acquiring both money and women. Freedy is Abrahams's masterpiece, and he plays with the convention of free indirect discourse to bring the reader right into Freedy's supremely self-satisfied and remarkably funny mind. After a stunning failure as a pool maintenance engineer in California--"Women liked brains, no getting around it. Brains meant sensitivity. For example, floating in the water near the filter was a little furry thing. 'Poor little fella,' you could say to some woman who happened to come by the pool. That was all it took: sensitivity. Combine that with the ripped part, the buff part, the diesel part--that bare-chested dude, wearing cut-offs and workboots, the skimmer held loose in his hands, was he himself, after all--and what did you have? The kind of dude women went crazy for, absolutely no denying that."--Freedy brings his arrogance and a powerful methamphetamine addiction back east. It's only a matter of time before his path and Nat's will cross.
When Freedy (searching for dorm room goodies to fence) and the Inverness trio both stumble upon the underground rooms of a long-gone secret society, and when his mother's unemployment means that Nat can no longer afford to stay at Inverness, greed, nonchalance, and fear unite. The three students are on a collision course with a desperately charismatic criminal; the twins' well-intentioned plan to keep Nat at Inverness by staging a kidnapping for ransom will go horribly awry. Nothing bad was supposed to happen: they were only crying wolf. Unfortunately, sometimes the wolf is real. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Edgar nominee Abrahams (Lights Out; A Perfect Crime) returns with a suspense novel built around kidnapping, extortion and youthful stupidity. Nat is the eager, sports-loving valedictorian of his small-town Colorado high school. With his $2,000 prize in an essay contest, he can just barely afford to enroll at Inverness, an elite New England college. There he meets Grace and Izzie Zorn, twins from a wealthy Manhattan family, who bring Nat home with them for the Christmas holiday and show him tall buildings, fine wines and decadent parties. Meanwhile, a steroid-pumped, speed-freak criminal named Freedy flees his job cleaning swimming pools in L.A. after a botched rape and assault. Heading home to Inverness to live off his perpetually stoned mother, he discovers his next source of income: technological appliances from the college. Freedy begins ripping them off and fencing them to a local hood, using a network of tunnels beneath the school to get in and out. Nearly stumbling into Freedy one night, Nat and the girls discover a hidden room full of old books and booze, which becomes their hideaway. When Nat's mother is fired from her job, Nat fears he'll have to drop out of Inverness, so the girls (both have slept with him by now) plot to stage their own kidnapping, earmarking the "ransom" for Nat's tuition. Mr. Zorn quickly thwarts their plan, but Freedy, who has been spying on Nat and the girls' secret meetings, hatches his own, far more dangerous, kidnapping scam. Now, when the situation is serious, Nat's vain pleas for help give the novel its name. Abrahams's plot moves too slowly to please readers looking for danger, verve and action, and his characters are too crudely drawn to succeed as examples of dissolute late-adolescent elites. With his foul language and his 'roid and meth-driven delusions of grandeur, Freedy makes for an interesting villain, but his rages can't sustain the book. Nat remains too naive for too long, his girlfriends are two-dimensional and a distracting subplot (involving Nat's philosophy professor, Mr. Zorn and Freedy's mother) is left unresolved. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Nat, male even though has a girl's name, is the pride of his small town, raised by his financially battling mother he obtains a partial scholarship to Inverness College but will have to work every spare minute of his time to be able to stay there. Not being able to afford to return home for Christmas, on route to campus security to report his dorm mate's stolen TV he witnesses two hot girls drop a fish tank. Lorenzo the Great's life is about to be cut short but Nat saves the day at the expense of some science lab brown fish. The two beautiful girls Izzie and Grace invite him to New York where he learns they are not only attractive but extremely wealthy as well.
Meanwhile Freedy with the IQ of a rock is cleaning pools in California and thinks every woman he meets wants to sleep with him. He narrowly escapes a rape charge by fleeing back to his home town Inverness.
Nat and the girls discover tunnels under the university with a hidden ballroom type place with a bed. There they plot a plan to make Nat's money problems go away but someone is watching who wants to start a pool company in Florida and sleep with Izzie and Grace.
I was looking for the suspense since, on the cover, Stephen King is quoted as having said that Peter Abrahams is his "favorite American suspense novelist." I really didn't find suspense. However, I found a good plot with likeable characters. While this book takes place in college - a boarding school, if you will - I kept thinking that Inverness was NOT Hogwarts...
Nat is a young man who wins a scholarship that takes him from his working-class town to Inverness College. Freedy is a young bodybuilder thug. Their paths parallel but never quite meet until...
Nat happens upon Grace and Izzie, very rich twin sisters who attend Inverness (and very different from Patti, his hometown sweetheart). The three students hatch a kidnapping scheme to try to obtain some much-needed money from the girls' father. However, as we learned as children, if you Cry Wolf often enough, when a crisis emerges no one will believe you.
While seldom actually "suspenseful," "Crying Wolf" was nonetheless a good book and a good purchase. I do recommend it; and I will be looking for more books by Peter Abrahams
Then along comes Freedy--Friedrich--Knight. Freedy isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he considers himself a dashing, irresistable, and super intelligent sort of guy. Unfortunately, one of his more serious blunders nearly gets him shot and forces him to flee back east to hide out with his mom. Of course, Freedy and the trio cross paths, which places all of them in jeopardy.
Perhaps it is a bit misleading for this book to be labeled a suspense novel. Sure, there is some suspense, but the beauty of this book lies in the coming-of-age story of Nat. Freedy is an intriguing character, and the twins are funny, saucy, and more complicated than they first appear. Nat's observations of his surroundings are both touching and humorous, and it is interesting to see how this small town poor boy carves his niche in the world of the rich. Combine this all with the annoying Professor Leo Uzig, and the story can stand on its characters alone.Read more ›
Nat is headed for a better life...at least that's the opinion of all who know him in the tiny town of Clear Creek. A town in which Nat and his mother struggle to survive their day-to-day existence. When Nat's talents wins him a partial scholarship to the college of his choice, he is elated. He and his mother scheme to come up with the remainder of the costly tuition. Nat has settled on the New England school of Inverness, a choice that is the catalyst for all the events to follow. Once there, he is befriended by twin sisters, Izzie and Grace Zorn, affluent young women to whom wealth is merely something to which they awaken every day. His past life (and girlfriend) are soon forgotten as Nat adjusts to his new life. He grows unwillingly comfortable to his new friendships and their benevolent ways...until the day Nat recieves a letter from his mother telling him that she's been fired from her job and the lifestyle that he lives must come to a close. His mother's house is in danger of being repossessed and Nat's tuition must be sacrificed. In fact, he is told in no uncertain terms, that he must return home immediately. Rather than lose him to such banal matters as money woes, Izzie and Grace concoct a perilous plan that would afford him the means with which to stay at Inverness with no one being the wiser. Silly girls. When Mr. Zorn is presented with the ridiculous plot, he scoffs and writes the whole thing off as "kids games".Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I love it when I have no idea where a book is going, which in a case like this is only possible if you don't read the blurb on the dust jacket. Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2001 by Diane Davis
Have you ever seen a movie that felt like something was missing? Where you got the distinct feeling that something crucial was left on the cutting room floor? Read morePublished on July 17 2001 by Thomas A. Baker
This book really was not that exceptional, even from the beginning. But heck, I paid (price) for it, so I thought I would go ahead and finish it. That was a mistake. Read morePublished on June 3 2001 by T.F.H.
I'm not going to pretend to be an educated, experienced critic, but like 95% of you out there I enjoy a good book. Crying Wolf is not a good book. Read morePublished on March 24 2001 by Ideal Reader
...if they are still in high school, that is, but h.s. juniors will laugh out loud at how naive and pretentious this book is. Read morePublished on March 11 2001 by D. C. Carrad
In "Crying Wolf," Abrahams introduces to some really well-developed and interesting characters. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2000 by Michael Butts
I have read most of Peter Abrahams' books and was so excited to have this newest work to read. While he is still a good writer, this is not one his best. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2000 by V. Collins
This book is a victim of the author's previous works. Once you've read other offerings, you come to expect dynamic chacterization, a rock-'em-sock-'em pace along with a surprises... Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2000 by Affaire de Coeur