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Dismantled: A Novel

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Overview

When Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz form the Compassionate Dismantlers in college, the first rule of their manifesto is, "To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart." But their penchant for acts of meaningful vandalism and elaborate, often dangerous pranks results in Suz's death in the woods of Vermont—a tragedy the surviving Dismantlers decide to cover up.

Nearly a decade later, Henry and Tess are desperate to forget, but their guilt isn't ready to let them go. ...

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Dismantled: A Novel

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Overview

When Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz form the Compassionate Dismantlers in college, the first rule of their manifesto is, "To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart." But their penchant for acts of meaningful vandalism and elaborate, often dangerous pranks results in Suz's death in the woods of Vermont—a tragedy the surviving Dismantlers decide to cover up.

Nearly a decade later, Henry and Tess are desperate to forget, but their guilt isn't ready to let them go. When a mysterious Dismantler-style postcard drives a past prank victim to suicide, it sets off a chain of terrifying events that threatens to tear apart their world and engulf their inquisitive nine-year-old daughter, Emma. Is there someone who wants to reveal their secrets? Or is it possible Suz has found a way to enact revenge?

Full of white-knuckle tension with deeply human characters caught in circumstances beyond their control, Jennifer McMahon's enthralling story proves that she is a master at weaving the fear of the supernatural with the stark realities of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Stewart O’Nan
“A failed marriage. A long-buried secret. A lonely child’s imaginary friend. From these simple ingredients, Jennifer McMahon has constructed a fun, twisty thriller. Expect DISMANTLED to earn comparisons to THE SECRET HISTORY.”
Los Angeles Times (online)
“One of the brightest new stars of literary suspense.”
Booklist
“In her third, elegantly spooky mystery revolving around the vulnerability of a young girl and a haunting past, McMahon fashions a fresh and entrancing ghost-in-the-woods tale replete with startling psychoses, delectable Hitchcockian motifs, and dangerous attractions.”
People
“McMahon’s gift is the deliciously twisty way she subverts all your expectations, keeping you guessing with wry wit and feverish chills.”
People
“McMahon’s gift is the deliciously twisty way she subverts all your expectations, keeping you guessing with wry wit and feverish chills.”
Stewart O’Nan
“A failed marriage. A long-buried secret. A lonely child’s imaginary friend. From these simple ingredients, Jennifer McMahon has constructed a fun, twisty thriller. Expect DISMANTLED to earn comparisons to THE SECRET HISTORY.”
Stewart O'Nan
"A failed marriage. A long-buried secret. A lonely child’s imaginary friend. From these simple ingredients, Jennifer McMahon has constructed a fun, twisty thriller. Expect DISMANTLED to earn comparisons to THE SECRET HISTORY."
People Magazine
"McMahon’s gift is the deliciously twisty way she subverts all your expectations, keeping you guessing with wry wit and feverish chills."
Booklist
"In her third, elegantly spooky mystery revolving around the vulnerability of a young girl and a haunting past, McMahon fashions a fresh and entrancing ghost-in-the-woods tale replete with startling psychoses, delectable Hitchcockian motifs, and dangerous attractions."
Los Angeles Times (online)
"One of the brightest new stars of literary suspense."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061689345
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/18/2010
  • Pages: 422
  • Sales rank: 160,676
  • Product dimensions: 8.04 (w) x 5.42 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer McMahon is the author of Dismantled, the New York Times bestseller Island of Lost Girls, and the breakout debut novel Promise Not to Tell. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 142 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(49)

4 Star

(48)

3 Star

(34)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 142 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Read

    I loved reading this wonderful book! Jennifer McMahon did an excellent job in making you entertained for hours. Can only recommend.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intense Suspense

    Four art students meet in college and soon form a group. Suz, Winnie, Tess and Henry are consumed by their art and by Suz's belief that to understand something, you must tear it down. Their group is named the Compassionate Dismantlers. They start out small, then graduate to "missions" such as shooting out transformers, burning art, and even kidnapping. They move into a cabin together. As a summer comes to an end, they start to fall apart with intra-group betrayals, secrets and alliances. The summer ends with a tragedy and the group breaks up.

    Fast forward ten years. Henry and Tess have married and have a daughter, Emma, who was conceived that summer. They are separated although still living in the same house and getting more and more distant from each other. Emma, desparate to find a way to get her parents back together, searches their studios and finds evidence of The Dismantlers. She sends a postcard to each member whose address she can find, writing only their motto: "DISMANTLEMENT = FREEDOM. To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart."

    As the postcards are delivered, strange things start happening. Some of the members come back to town, and perhaps others have also secretly returned. Is the tragedy, hidden for a decade, about to be discovered? Have some members return to get revenge? McMahon rachets up the tension from page to page until the reader can't determine reality from fantasy.

    Wow, this book is amazing. The suspense level is intense with multiple plot twists and turns. The reader is sure they know what is happening and then a page turns and everything is different from what was perceived. The characters are realistic, and the group leader, Suz, is so vivid that the reader expects to look up and see her striding into their room. This book is recommended for mystery/suspense fans.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Suspense Filled Book of Twists and Turns

    This novel jumps right into action in the first couple of pages. The way the book is written is that every chapter there is a different character speaking. This way you can get to know the character better and you can establish a relationship with them. Throughout this book the Deforge parents, members of the former college group, "the Dismantlers", encounter strange mishaps. The only answer to these problems that seem reasonable to them would be that one of the group members who was murdered by others in the group, Suz, came back to life to haunt them. During this book the author takes you through flashbacks of past events, showing you exactly what this college group did. Back in present day life you see how this family is trying to cope with all these problems along with conjugal ones as well. When Winnie, another ex-member of the group, mysteriously shows up in town and visits Tess and Henry Deforge more problems start to happen. And at the end when things take a wrong turn and you find out Tess is inside a burning moose in a lake instead of a Suz doll, pieces come together and you soon realize all the lies and diabolical schemes that went behind all the characters back. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in somewhat confusing, backstabbing, suspenseful novels. It was a great read!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Creepy and Captivating

    I loved this book so much I could hardly put it down and then when I was done, I passed it on to anyone who would listen to me rave on and on. This was the most creepy, eerie, dark and captivating book i have ever read. And then never ending ending!?! it will leave you with a gasp and your jaw wide open!!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    WOW!

    The originality of the story was great and the characters just made it better. If you like to be shocked you will like this book.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Great suspense story!

    Loved the twists and turns this book takes. Kept me guessing up to the very end. (Also kept me up reading late into the night).

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing story but long

    The story is about a group of college students who form a contravercial group called "The Compassionate Dismantlers". Under the direction of the groups capricious leader "Suz" the members create havoc and spread social disroder believing people will be more appreciative of a thing when it's taken apart or destroyed. Things become complicated when emotions run high and members start to turn on eachother ending in the death of their leader. Although this story was intriguing I found it a bit longwinded at times and could have been shortened. I will say that it was a page turner with an interesting ending. You will definitely enjoy it and the authors writing style. I look forward to reading more work from Jennifer McMahon.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2012

    Boring!

    This book was a serious waste of time and money!

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It was good but,

    a little overwhelming. For the first hundred and fifty pages I really felt like she was playing with too many different ways to develop the plot. It felt like she wanted you to think it was a ghost story, but then, NO! it's a psychological thriller about guilt and stuff, NO! it's about going crazy.She pulled to together very well, but by that point I felt all stretched out.
    Also she was very repetitive in describing her characters. This character says babycakes and this other chews on the inside of his cheek, but that was it. Every time he was nervous, it was cheek chewing. Every time she addressed someone it was babycakes. They didn't have any other ticks. Not to say that the characters were one-dimensional, but it felt overdone which made the whole experience a little weak for me.
    But over I liked it. I didn't love it. It was good, not great. Worth a read from the library but I wouldn't buy it if I had it all to do over again.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    Very entertaining

    Quite predictable but thoroughly entertaining and enjoyably odd.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Thrilling

    An extremely talented writer. A book to keep you guessing but does not let you down. Perfect for a day when there is nothing on the agenda, as you will not want to set this one down. Her writing flows smoothand is full of emotion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    amazing read

    If you like plots with twists and turns then this is the story for you!!! absolutely entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Great read!

    This book is a must if you are into mysteries with a ghostly aspect. I jumped right in & enjoyed it right away. I liked the back & forth between time periods, how things got explained & the unexpected ending. I honestly wasn't expecting the twist. Loving this author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Well Written - Freaky

    Dismantled is Pulp Fiction meets Tell-Tale Heart, a group of young people on a path of destrution that "Dismantles" everything from art to construction to people's lives. Eventually leads to the survivor's undoing, a sort of day of reckoning for all who are involved. Takes the reader on a shair raising journey with a suspenseful ending and a twist that is unforeseeable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    *sigh*

    It took me forever to read this book - maybe that's why I didn't really like it? I really don't remember much of anything about it even after reading about it on the book's page. Three stars was stretching it for me.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2009

    Hitchcock Would Love to Direct!

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jennifer McMahon has the most disturbing covers in the book business.....real pictures of creepy children staring out at you. It's like a whole shelf of "Children of the Corn" and "Village of the Damned" at the bookstore. I told you before that I read "Island of Lost Girls" on vacation and did not want to do anything else but read. I was so anxious to read "Dismantled", McMahon's latest. Wow! It did not disappoint!

    One of McMahon's strong points is going between time periods throughout her stories. With a less-talented author, this can be extremely jarring. In "Dismantled", the effect is seamless, alternating between the summer when four people formed the Dismantlers and a decade later, when two of them are unhappily married with child. This child, Emma, is desperate to get her parents back together. One seemingly innocent act sets off a chilling chain of events that will answer the questions about the summer of the Dismantlers.

    Part murder mystery, part character study, part ghost story, I can easily see this turned into a movie directed by Hitchcock, if he was alive. The spine-tingling ending will make your heart beat out of your chest.

    MY RATING - 5

    To see my rating scale and more reviews, please check out my blog:
    http://www.1776books.blogspot.com

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An intelligent fascinating character-driven thriller

    While attending Sexton College in Vermont the four students became best friends; forming the Compassionate Dismantlers. Now graduated, they live together in a remote cabin where they go forth committing bodacious harmful acts that increasingly are out of control. However, when their leader Suz Pierce dies during a stunt, the three survivors dismantle their group.

    A decade later, two of the members Henry DeForge and Tess Kahle remain married but separated while raising their nine-year-old daughter, Emma. The suicide of a friend from college leaves Henry and Tess fearful that their motto Dismantlement Equals Freedom" will destroy them especially since a private investigator digs into the past. Emma tries to bring her parents back together, but that leads instead to the revival of the Compassionate Dismantlers.

    DISMANTLED is an intelligent fascinating character-driven thriller that rotates between the present and ten years ago. The cast in both decades are strong though unlikable so that the reader sees what motivated the Compassionate Dismantlers and what drives Henry, Tess and Emma; the melancholy child steals the show with her sad outlook of a bleak future. Filled with eerie but plausible twists and spins, fans of something different will relish this wild roller coaster ride.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    Good book

    This book was a little hard to get into for the first few chapter. After that though I didn't want to put it down. Great ending. Just when you think you know what was going on there was a twist. Good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    One of the best books I've read. The author keeps you interested

    One of the best books I've read. The author keeps you interested throughout the book. I would recommend this book for anyone. Best reads of 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    6 out of 10, not great work from a great author

    Being a huge fan of Jennifer McMahon I devoured "Don't Breathe a Word" it was the first book I read by her and it haunted me for weeks after finishing it in a single evening. I realize this might have set the bar very high for "Dismantled". I wasn't 'disappointed' per se with the book but it wasn't anything really special either. It was a fun read, an enjoyable read. I like McMahon's style of writing and the boldness of her characters Suz was by far my favorite. However what I didn't like about "Dismantled" was the main characters. I felt like we as readers didn't get to know them very well, it was difficult to connect to them. There was so much emotion, tension, feeling in "Don't Breathe a Word" all of that was largely lacking from "Dismantled". If I could do it over again I would read the book, I would probably borrow it from my library however, not purchase it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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