13 1/2
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13 1/2

3.2 66
by Nevada Barr
     
 

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With 13 ½, Nevada Barr, New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Anna Pigeon novels, has written a taut and terrifying psychological thriller. It carries the reader from the horrifying 1970s murder spree of a child— dubbed “Butcher Boy” by a shocked public—in Rochester,

Overview

With 13 ½, Nevada Barr, New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Anna Pigeon novels, has written a taut and terrifying psychological thriller. It carries the reader from the horrifying 1970s murder spree of a child— dubbed “Butcher Boy” by a shocked public—in Rochester, Minnesota, to Polly, the abused daughter of Mississippi “trailer trash,” to post-Katrina New Orleans.

In Jackson Square in the French Quarter a tarot card reader told Polly Deschamps she would be a success. Thirty years later, Polly is a respected professor of literature with good friends and her own home—a safe life for her and her two daughters.

 

Butcher Boy, released on his seventeenth birthday, shook the snow from his boots and headed south.

New Orleans, a Mecca for runaways then and now, offers sanctuary but never forgiveness.

When Polly falls in love with Marshall Marchand, a restoration architect who is helping to rebuild her adopted city, shadows of the past rise out of the poisoned ground of New Orleans as thick and deadly as the toxic waters of the flood.

Like history, some crimes are doomed to repeat themselves. Evil stays the same, only the victims’ names change. As two broken pasts collide in an uncertain present, Polly is determined that her children’s names will never be on that list.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of Roadside Crosses
"This book is a hands-down winner! Psychological terror at its best, 13 1/2 shines with authentic voices, high-amp tension, and Barr's brilliant and unique style."

Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author
"Stunning ... spellbinding psychological suspense with twists you won't see coming ... an amazing, virtuoso piece of writing."

Library Journal
“Keep the lights on while reading this intense psychological thriller. The tension’s so tight you’ll be rethinking every motive and clue up to the finale. Much like Nancy Pickard in The Virgin of Small Plains, Barr forces us to look beyond the obvious to the hidden evils we may have overlooked.”

Delta Magazine
“...terrifying...page-turning....”

Romantic Times, 4 stars
“...a hair-raising thriller.... packs a powerful punch.”

Booklist
“Barr process adept at both pulsing horror and sweet romance.... [for] readers who like dark psychological thrillers.”

Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Barr skillfully shows her affinity for delving into her characters' souls in 13 ½. Barr keeps the psychological terror elevated in 13 ½ by realistically showing how people can be manipulated - by others and by the juvenile justice system.”

New Orleans Magazine
13 ½ is a glorified thriller that will tease and please lovers of the genre...”

Charlotte Observer
“Barr's vibrant prose keeps you reading....irresistible.”

Denver Post
“Reminiscent of novels by Thomas Harris and Minette Walters....will send shivers up the spine of even the toughest reader....Barr adds interstitial musings about well-known murders throughout history that are so stone-cold they could make Hannibal Lector blanch in fear.”

Providence Journal
“...a brilliantly harrowing effort.... 13 ½ feels better written and more richly drawn than Barr's very good Anna Pigeon efforts. Certainly a new direction and one that takes her on a genre-bending course to evil and depravity in this downright chilling tale.”

Oregonian
“Barr's smooth storytelling style keeps the tension at a heart-pounding level...”

At 15, Polly Deschamps ran away to escape the onslaughts of an alcoholic mother and abusive boyfriends. Since then, her life has been mostly dismal and lonely, a numbing succession of dull jobs and narrow streets. When she meets Marshall Marchand, all that changes. This New Orleans architect seems near perfect: attractive, bright, charming. Drawn to one another, they marry and settle into their new lives. At first, things go well, but gradually, Polly falls into worry over Marshall's increasingly bleak moods, which she associates with his frequent contact with his mysterious brother Danny. Bit by bit, details emerge that connect the Marchands in some way to a series of 30-year-old unsolved Minnesota murders. To save her marriage and perhaps her own life, Polly must ferret out the submerged truth about the man she loves.
Publishers Weekly
Reaching beyond her successful Anna Pigeon series (Borderline, etc.), bestseller Barr comes up with the brass ring: a stand-alone psychological thriller with grit, teeth and heart. At 15, Polly Farmer escapes an alcoholic mother and a trailer-park no-future, hitchhikes to New Orleans and makes a life for herself as an English professor. Polly, divorced with two daughters, romantically intersects with handsome restoration architect Marshall Marchand—who's really Dylan Raines, who was incarcerated as the 11-year-old “Butcher Boy” who axe-murdered his parents 25 years earlier in Minnesota. As Barr artfully unfolds this mystery of wickedness and pain in eerie post-Katrina New Orleans, she tackles a multitude of societal evils, from psychiatric drug abuse to the juvenile justice system, but her central conflict, Polly's fierce determination to keep her daughters safe while trying to believe in the man she loves, makes this a terrifying, utterly convincing glimpse into the abyss. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Dylan Raines slaughtered his family with an ax when he was 11 years old; trouble is, he can't remember doing it. Richard, his surviving older brother, protects Dylan, and when the chance to relocate from Minnesota to New Orleans opens up, they head south to start anew. Divorced Tulane professor Polly Deschamps survived her own sordid childhood and has made a perfect life for her two daughters in the Big Easy. But years later, as these characters' lives intersect, a tarot card reader predicts mayhem and death. Polly's new husband exhibits troubling behavior, and his brother confuses her even more. The interspersed newspaper snippets about infamous mass killers heighten our feelings of dread and inevitability. Perhaps we understand Dylan's tortuous plight—or is something more sinister going on? Barr's first stand-alone since her 1984 debut, Bittersweet, is stunning and a true break from her Anna Pigeon series (e.g., Borderline). VERDICT Keep the lights on while reading this intense psychological thriller. The tension's so tight you'll be rethinking every motive and clue up to the finale. Much like Nancy Pickard in The Virgin of Small Plains, Barr forces us to look beyond the obvious to the hidden evils we may have overlooked.—Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., Fairfield, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593155537
Publisher:
Vanguard Press
Publication date:
09/29/2009
Pages:
311
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

Nevada Barr is the award-winning author of thirteen previous Anna Pigeon mysteries, including the New York Times bestsellers Hard Truth and High Country. She lives in New Orleans.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Clinton, Mississippi
Date of Birth:
March 1, 1952
Place of Birth:
Yerington, Nevada
Education:
B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1974; M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1977
Website:
http://www.nevadabarr.com

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13 1/2 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1971 eleven year old Dylan Raines killed his entire family except his older brother Richard whose leg was severely sliced up. Dylan suffered from selective amnesia not recalling how he murdered his father, mother, sister and cat with an ax that put him in the international headlines as Minnesota's "Butcher Boy". Richard takes Dylan from Rochester to New Orleans with him to start over. Polly Deschamps grew up in Mississippi living in a brutal home. At fifteen she fled into the night vowing to never return. Now she is a professor at Tulane raising two kids as a single mom following a divorce. Polly remarries charming Marshall who is extremely nice to her daughters. However her new spouse acts odd at times and her brother-in-law Danny is even stranger; which begins to frighten her. With Anna Pigeon taking a breather, Nevada Barr provides a compelling psychological thriller that grips the audience from the start to the finish in a one sitting family drama. The story line is character driven as the strong casts including powerful secondary players like the tarot card reader make for a tremendous tense tale. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anna Pidgeon fans may be disappointed. A very gritty story, but even in the dark ages of the 1960's I think police investigation was more thorough than this book gave credit for. Language is much more profane than most of Nevada Barr's work and the plot becomes predictable.
Pookydoo More than 1 year ago
If you are looking to find Anna Pigeon in this book, go look somewhere else. This story is a totally different direction for Ms. Barr, one that I wasn't sure I would like. However, it was riveting and kept me thoroughly engrossed. I chose the audio version, and didn't need for a moment to worry about falling asleep on the road!
kadydid More than 1 year ago
This is really different for Nevada Barr. Was she high when she wrote this and it was her private demons spilling unto the paper? I read it, I enjoyed it (I think) but the thought that some children are just born bad leaves a bad taste (blood) in my mouth. But then I am a somewhat Pollyanna also.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first nevada barr book i heave read. Wow! I found it to be a fabulous page turner, full of suspense and completely thrilling. It was a very dark novel, so reader beware. Nevada showed phenomenal skill in her manner of writing-the way she wove the story together did force you to pay close attention, but i found i did not want to put it down! If you are up for a dark psychological thriller, you have found it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very, very good!!
tweedy-bird More than 1 year ago
I am used to reading and really enjoy her stories with Anna Pigeon and was not expecting this murder mystery. It was very good but disturbing and I would not recommend for teens and younger. If you love murder mystery stories you will give this 4 or 5 stars as it ends with an a chillingly well written ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nevada Barr is best known for her Anna Pigeon series, but now she brings us her first stand-alone novel, 13 Ôø¿, a dark psychological thriller that will surprise, and impress, her legion of fans.Polly Deschamps is making a good life for herself in New Orleans. She had a tough childhood, and now is determined to give her own daughter the love and care that she never knew. When she meets Marshall Marchand, it seems that the last piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. After a whirlwind courtship, they are married, but Polly soon starts to believe that Marshall might have secrets of us own. In Minnesota in 1968, two young boys awake to find their lives utterly changed. Their family is murdered and Dylan, the younger brother, is accused of the crime. He is dubbed "The Butcher Boy" but his older brother Richard stands beside him, even as he is sentenced for the crime. What does this long ago night have to do with Marshall and his brother Danny? And what will Polly have to do to protect herself and her daughter from the shadows of the past?Barr delves into the heart of evil and wonders - are we doomed to repeat our mistakes or is it possible for there to be hope and redemption in spite of everything that has gone before? Tautly written and perfectly paced, this one will keep you guessing until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author has great writing skills which makes the book a pleasure to read. Very suspenseful and interesting. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for Anna Pigeon or National Park settings, this is not the book for you. This is a dark, suspenseful, tension ridden story that is unlike any other Nevada Barr book I've read. 13 1/2 is a psychological thriller with twisted, complicated plot. I wasn't sure I would like the book but it kept me hooked until the end. 13 1/2 may be my favorite book by Nevada Barr.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I have read by this author. It is also my last. It was a confusing mess at times with all the name changes. The book ending was so predictable Not worth the $14.49 for 320 pages. Feeling a bit ripped off!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a complete dissappointment! The worst of hers I have ever read. Went to such a dark side and no plot . Difficult to follow her story line (such as it was) Would not reccommend rhis and am now wondering if this is going to be her line of writing I will not read her any more.
Penelope_Rabbit More than 1 year ago
I finished this book in 3 days. I just could not put it down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Unlike many books and movies, this story didn't let you figure too much out before you needed to know. A great read and I highly recommend reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Denise Melendez More than 1 year ago
This is my first Nevada Barr novel so unlike alot of the other readers I have yet to read her other series. This was a great pyschological triller. I will certainly try to read the Pigeon series but hope to find a another novel like this that keeps u on ur toes.
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