Adams Fall

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With the fall of his senior year at the College upon him, the nameless protagonist of Adams Fall finds himself under the great strain of senior year with a thesis to write, a Marshall to apply for, and a girlfriend to elude. It is a full, but manageable plate for one of "the country's best and brightest."

A resident of Adams house's reportedly haunted B-entry, he is familiar with tales of phantom footsteps, vanished laundry, lurking shadows. But when he begins to find himself ...

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Overview

With the fall of his senior year at the College upon him, the nameless protagonist of Adams Fall finds himself under the great strain of senior year with a thesis to write, a Marshall to apply for, and a girlfriend to elude. It is a full, but manageable plate for one of "the country's best and brightest."

A resident of Adams house's reportedly haunted B-entry, he is familiar with tales of phantom footsteps, vanished laundry, lurking shadows. But when he begins to find himself the object of the house's cruel attentions his world quickly begins to unravel. As the protagonist's grades slip, so slips his mind.

Into his privileged ivy-league world enters a charming and vindictive playboy from the College's past who relishes reminding the protagonist of the circumstances surrounding the suicide of his first year roommate. When the protagonist is faced with the mutilated body of a woman he had been sneaking around with, he resolves to discover the identity of the ghost in order to put an end to its raging and to maintain his sanity.

Adams Fall is an elegant blend of ghost story and psychological thriller, with a tip of its hat to Henry James.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Restless ghosts roam the august halls of Harvard in this debut psychothriller, a younger sibling to The Shining. In his senior year at Harvard, the unnamed narrator's life is falling apart. Having faithfully toiled in his classes for three years with good results, he is now burnt out as he goes through the motions of composing his senior thesis, and completes his application for study abroad with all the animation of a zombie. He is bored with his girlfriend, Rosie, and haunted by memories of her ex, Billy, the narrator's freshman roommate and former best friend, who hanged himself in their room. The protagonist copes by frantic boozing, drug taking and clandestine sex with his glamorous classmate, Maeve. But he begins to suffer headaches and spells of d j vu while restlessly pacing the dorm's old underground tunnels and its roof. He can't figure out why his grades slip perilously and his health declines, until he meets a spectral visitor from the past who appears to be enjoying himself at the narrator's expense and hints at sexual secrets. Things go terribly wrong on Halloween, when the narrator, in a mushroom-induced paranoia, wakes up with a fearsome image of Maeve dead in the underground tunnels. To his horror, he finds that the ghost, a former Adams resident, is merrily reconstructing two deadly scenes from the past, using the narrator and his circle as stand-ins. Newcomer Desmond shows a flair for character development and wry observations about Ivy League life. Even if his plotting is unoriginal and the dialogue a bit flat, this is an entertaining debut and a suitable Halloween release. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Final exams and thesis deadlines prove even more horrific than expected in this overheated debut by a recent Harvard grad and set within that College's traditionbound and intimidating environs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312262549
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2000
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Adam Fell (short of my expectations)

    Adams Fall by Sean Desmond has a great concept, but the execution of it falls by the waistside. I wasn't impressed by this new author's writing style or story development. I didn't care about any of the characters, and the story seemed pretty rudimentary, like back in Creative Writing 101. And the story -- supposedly scary -- didn't send any chills down my spine. Sorry...

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great psychological history

    The occupant of apartment B-46 in the B-entry of Adam's House, a classic Gothic style of architecture with its dark corners and numerous shadows, is a typical Harvard senior. The occupant is full of himself yet sure of his place in society. He is an English honors major working on his thesis and plans to obtain a fellowship that will allow him to continue his studies in England. His girlfriend Rosie was once the steady of his deceased roommate Billy, who committed suicide after seeing the two together. <P> The occupant starts to hear strange noises, but sees no one who could be causing them. While watching the fog roll in, he sees a shadow, but the individual vanishes before the occupant can accost him. When the man returns looking like a B-movie gangster, he talks to the occupant. Other weird events happen leading to the occupant wondering if he might be going mad, especially when harm besets the people he cares about. He wonders if it is he who is losing his mind or a phantom stranger causing the trouble, a person no one that no one else has seen. <P> Readers never learn the protagonist's name yet intimately know his deepest darkest desires. Truth is relative, but in the end, whether it is defined by the occupant or by the police, the results remain the same. That is the frightening undercurrent to the mesmerizing plot that debut author Sean Desmond provides to horror and psychological suspense fans. Mr. Desmond's opening gambit is a chiller that rivals the Kings of the genre. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2000

    Fast-paced, sinister storytelling.

    I haven't been this chilled and thrilled by a book in ages. Reading Adams Fall reminded me of the first Stephen King novels I read--impossible to put down, terrifying, fun. Desmond's fast-paced, sinister storytelling left me hungry for more. Pick up this exciting new author and you may lose some sleep, but you won't be sorry!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2000

    Too Scared to Sleep So I Read It in 2 Days

    This book really spooked me out. The author does a great job of describing all the gothic nooks and crannies of Harvard College, and you really sucked into the dark deranged thinking of the protagonist. It's a fast-paced, chilling read that I flew through in two sittings. I recommend ADAMS FALL to anyone who likes horror writing or has had the normal doubts and delirium about surviving college.

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