Icarus: A Thriller

Icarus: A Thriller

4.7 7
by Russell Andrews

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The bestselling author of Gideon reinvents Hitchcock's classic thriller formula in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel about an innocent man caught up in events past and present way beyond his control, and thrown into a terrifying maelstrom of deceit and murder.

As a young boy, Jack Keller witnessed a life-altering tragedy the murder of his mother.


The bestselling author of Gideon reinvents Hitchcock's classic thriller formula in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel about an innocent man caught up in events past and present way beyond his control, and thrown into a terrifying maelstrom of deceit and murder.

As a young boy, Jack Keller witnessed a life-altering tragedy the murder of his mother. Thirty years later, Jack has it all a great marriage, a successful chain of restaurants bearing his name, lifelong friends, and good health. But in one second and with one bullet it all becomes worthless when a second tragedy occurs during the opening of a new restaurant. As Jack recovers from his injuries and the resulting psychological trauma, he is nursed back to health by Kid Demeter, a mysterious young man who was once as close to Jack as any son could be. As Kid trains his mentor and father figure, he confides in Jack about the various women in his life. Each one is identified only by her nickname and each one is presented as appealing, sexy...and extremely dangerous. And then a third tragedy occurs. Kid is found sprawled on the pavement after plunging twenty stories to his death.

Jack refuses to accept the police theory of suicide. Convinced that one of Kid's women is a killer, he finds himself searching for answers in Kid's world, a world of lap dancing and after- hours clubs, of drugs and violence and overwhelming sensuality. But as Jack's suspicions arise, as he draws closer to the truth, an unknown threat lurks just ahead of him, anticipating his every move and killing whoever is in the way. As past and present merge, as Kid's world overtakes Jack's, as Jack begins to understand just how high the stakes are in the game he has elected to play, he knows only one thing for certain: he must find the killer before the killer finds him. Following up the success of Gideon, Icarus is a truly Hitchcockian thriller of an innocent man pursued by an almost unimaginable and unstoppable danger.

Editorial Reviews

If Jack Keller grows fidgety around windows, he has good cause. When he was just ten years old, his mother was murdered, flung from a skyscraper. Then decades later, just when it seems that his life has settled into happily-married prosperity, Keller must confront another death and defenestration; that of his own beloved wife. The author of Gideon has concocted a pulse-throbbing thriller that deserves comparison with Alfred Hitchcock's obsessional tales.
Publishers Weekly
From ex-Villard publisher Peter Gethers and mystery writer David Handler, the pseudonymous duo who penned Gideon (1999), comes this overwritten yarn about a restaurateur It seems incredible that flaws such as meandering POV and lapses into journalistic (omniscient) expository asides could come from such well-versed professionals. However, readers who suffer through the sluggish first 100 pages will be rewarded to find that the novel eventually takes hold and moves briskly forward. Fatherless 10-year-old Jack Keller watches a madman hurl his mother out of a Manhattan skyscraper window and is saved from the same fate by his wannabe stepfather, a successful butcher who takes him in. At 20, Jack meets Caroline, a drop-dead gorgeous Virginia belle at Columbia University. They marry and open Jack's, a trendy New York City eatery. In four years, they own branches in Chicago, L.A., Miami and Paris. Unable to have children, they adopt Kid, a charismatic youth who, on his way to athletic fame at St. John's University, suddenly vanishes. To get on with her life, Caroline goes to hometown Charlottesville to open a restaurant. On opening day, she is brutally murdered by a masked man who also wounds Jack so badly he is left in a wheelchair. Soon the chimerical Kid shows up with a degree in physical therapy and gets Jack back on his feet. But Kid doesn't last long. When his leap from his penthouse is ruled suicide, Jack knows he must get to the bottom of the chain of deaths, no matter what the cost. Spoiled by an hors d'oeuvre tray of twists, a buffet of subplots and a glut of trivia, this chiller is plagued by the same flaws as the overstuffed (but bestselling) Gideon. (July) Copyright 2001 CahnersBusiness Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Defenestration is the buzzword in this thriller about a New York restaurateur who's haunted by murder at various stages of his otherwise picture-perfect life. The story opens with a burst of uncontrollable violence: young Jack Keller witnesses his mother being tossed out a 17th-floor window of an office building by a madman, and is himself nearly thrown out. Just before the incident he had been leaning flat against the window pretending he was flying-hence, Icarus. Andrews (Gideon, 1999) slows down the pace over the next 60 or so pages as we follow Jack's life: Columbia University, marriage, and a string of extremely popular, but unpretentious restaurants called Jack's. Then madness hits again: On opening night of a new Jack's in Virginia, Jack's wife is murdered by a thief-she's shot and tossed out a window-and Jack is so badly wounded he hovers near death. His painful recovery is aided by a long-lost protege with the pugilistic-sounding name of Kid Demeter. Like the Greek Goddess who's his namesake, Kid has a few mysteries of his own; he's actually a more interesting character than Jack, and his story nearly commandeers the narrative. But when Kid also turns up dead-off the roof this time, instead of out the window-Jack is determined to uncover the mysteries. Along the way he discovers the connection between Kid's murder and his wife's, but his investigation leads to more death. The build-up here is far more gripping, predictably, than the climax: in this instance, so many people are murdered there aren't enough suspects left to stymie a successful guess. A credible-enough page-turner with enough quirky New York types to drive the plot along, though you can't helpnoticing that (with the exception of Kid and a couple peripheral gangsters in a flashback) all of the eventually dead characters are independent-minded women.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Random House
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2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Five minutes earlier he was pressed against the window, wanting to fly. Now he was crying and holding onto a madman's leg because he knew that flying was impossible. It was a fantasy, a dream, and not the dream of a little boy having fun ith his mother or of some make-believe superhero saving the earth. It was a nightmare that had no happy ending. It was not the glorious Icarus with wings melting, high above the earth on a flight that ended only with an excruciating fall. With failure. With the sadness and fear he saw on his mother's face. And with death.

The man dragged his leg over to the window now and Jack thought, What's he doing now? then he could feel the man's leg kick forward and Jack's eyes widened as he realized what was happening. He tucked his chin into his chest as his shoulder and then his back and then the side of his head slammed against the thick glass. Jack remembered hitting a baseball once, shattering a window in a first-floor apartment; that's what he felt like, that baseball, because he was being skewered by new pieces of broken glass. Jack felt sharp stings in his arms and neck, he watched more glass tumble and fall, then the man gave one more kikck. Again Jacke was flung against the glass, only now he felt wind rushing by his face and...

No, no, please, no, he thought. Please, this can't be true.

But it was true. He heard screams from down below, and the heat, he could feel it soaking into him.

He was outside the building.

He was dangling, hundreds of feet above the ground, and th eman was trying again to shake him loose. The man's leg was twisting back and forth, and up and down; it was like riding a bucking bronco, and Jack knew it was the wrong thing to do, to look down, but he couldn't help it. He saw new shards of glass tumble by. Then he saw a flash of the crowd, and even though he turned away it was too late. The street seemed to rush up at him, he felt as if he were already falling. He nearly let go, thought for a horrible moment that he had, was sure he was somersaulting from the warm sun to the cold, hard earth, but, no, he was still holding on, his body was still banging against the window and the steel casing, his arms were still wrapped tightly around the man's leg and the man was still shaking him. Staring at him and hating him and shaking him...

Meet the Author

Russell Andrews is the author of the international bestseller Gideon. He lives in New York City.

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Icarus: A Thriller 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
Terrific, top-notch, original, suspenseful, unpredictable ending - a great thriller!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not a bad read. Action packed and suspenseful. However, considering that the writers were two seasoned veterans, I was putoff by the lack of attention to facts. Danville, Va is 80 miles southeast of Roanoke. How is a donut shop just south of Danville only 17 miles from Roanoke? Charlottesville, Va is 340 miles from NY city, yet Jack Keller drives it in 3.5 hours? Such inaccuracies only serve to be a destraction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed 'Gideon' two years ago and wondered why it didn't get more attention. It had a fast pace, many surprises, lots of action, etc. I was delighted when 'Russell Andrews' finally reappeared, this time with 'Icarus.' It went immediately to the top of my Emergency Reading pile, and for good reason. I did feel there was one flaw -- the women in the book were all too perfect in every way -- but I let it go. The suspense built in 'Icarus' is a lot of fun to experience. I honestly did not figure out the end until the end. Okay, 'Russell,' I hope you're working on your next offering! Keep up the good work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While some reviewers felt that the first 90-100 pages were slow moving, I found that I did not want to put this book down from the very first page. Icarus is one of those rare books that the less you know about before starting it, the more exciting, surprising and suspenseful it will be to you. While I know it's hard to spend money on a book without knowing what it's about, this is definitely a book that should be the exception to the rule. The style of writing is very easy to read, the plot is very fast-paced, the action is non-stop (particularly in the second half of the book, and the characters are very credible. If this isn't enough to motivate you to put Icarus at the top of your 'To Be Read' list, than maybe this will do it for you -- you won't guess who the killer is. Even if you do, it won't be until towards the very end of the book, and by that point you'll have probably gone through a list of characters who you thought 'did it.' Icarus is the most enjoyable thriller I've read in quite a while. Do yourself two favors -- 1)don't read any reviews that describe the plot, and 2) Go right out and get a copy of Icarus (and don't be tempted to read the inside flap. It will take away from some of the suspense!). Also, if you have a little more money to spend, get a copy of Russell Andrews' first book, Gideon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a child, Jack Keller witnessed the horrifying tragedy of his mother being murdered. Thirty years later, Jack has come along way - with a great marriage, a chain of successful restaurants, and good health - he feels he has it all¿that is about to change. At the grand opening of a new restaurant, Jack witnesses his second tragedy, and all it took was one bullet. Recovering from his injuries, Jack is nursed back to health by Kid Demeter. Jack looks at Kid as his own son, and Kid looks up to Jack as the father he is missing. During the healing process, Kid will tell Jack stories of his reckless life, and the many women he entertains. In each of the stories, Kid describes the women as sexy, and dangerous, and will only refer to them by nicknames. Before long, another tragedy strikes¿Kid plunges twenty stories to his death. Refusing to believe the official ruling of suicide, Jack believes one of Kid¿s women is responsible, and in his quest for answers, he will enter into the dark world of strip clubs, sex clubs, drugs, and extreme violence. The closer Jack gets to the truth, a killer is closing in on him. Someone watching his every move. Someone killing anyone that gets in the way. And, one wrong move could cost Jack his life. `Icarus¿ is an excellent thriller, and a wonderful follow-up to the heart racing bestseller, `Gideon¿. In `Icarus¿ Russell Andrews has crafted a complex, spellbinding plot, worthy of anything Hitchcock created. The reader is kept guessing the entire time, while pieces of the puzzle fall into place. And, when the climax brings to light the final piece of the puzzle, we are left in awe, wanting more. Russell Andrews have written another blockbuster bestseller, that all thriller fans should run out and buy. UN-PUTDOWNABLE, and utterly suspenseful, `Icarus¿ is what good thriller writing is all about. After reading this novel I was left with one thought¿'If only ALL thrillers were this good.' A MUST read! Nick Gonnella
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1969, ten-year old Jack Keller watched the crazy Reggie Ivers toss his mother Joan out the window. Only the reaction of family friend Dom Bertolini kept Jack from following his mother out the seventh story Manhattan window.

Several decades later, Jack and his beloved wife Caroline run a chain of restaurants around the world. The couple is in Charlottesville, Virginia for the newest opening of Jack¿s when disaster strikes. During the opening a brawl breaks out. At the same time an unknown assailant kills Caroline and severely injures Jack. As the restaurateur slowly heals, he realizes that the killer is not finished with him because the culprit finished his wife¿s murder by tossing her out the window. Jack knows the killer will be back to terminate him this time.

ICARUS is an exciting thriller that touches the reader¿s soul, a rarity for this genre. Russell Andrews slowly simmers the plot so that the audience comes to care for Caroline and Jack. This leads to readers mourning Caroline¿s death and rooting for Jack to recover in order to take out the killer. Mr. Andrews provides quite a good tale even if the female death count seems high.

Harriet Klausner