Red Leavesby Paullina Simons
From the internationally bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman, the tale of an Ivy League campus devastated by the intractable mystery at the heart of a student’s deathFour students and their relationships lie at the core of this dazzling novel of mystery, murder and suspense, set in a snowbound Ivy League college. Their focal point is brilliant basketball star Kristina Kim – apparently happy and stable, but soon revealed to have hidden secrets.When she is found dead in the snow, it falls to local detective Spencer O’Malley, a man who had half fallen in love with her, to investigate the crime. The spotlight falls on her three closest friends… and a story as gothic and intense as a modern-day Wuthering Heights begins to unravel.
Unlike Tartt, though, Simons chooses a real setting: Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire. But despite the sharply observed locale, the story remains pretty hard to swallow, and Simons can't match her model's intellectual pretensions or in-depth explorations of character. Here, four college seniors are supposedly best friends, but they don't ever seem to like each other very much. The most charismatic is Kristina Kim (who is not Asian, but who does provide, eventually, a reason for her surname), the All-Ivy center on the women's basketball team. Conni Tobias is Kristina's blond, simpering roommate from freshman year; Jim Shaw is a budding politician and Kristina's so-called boyfriend; Albert Maplethorpe is Conni's steady of several years but, more importantly, possesses an uncertain past and a connection to Krissy (as he calls her) that no one seems to understand. When Kristina is found buried beneath a snowdrift, naked but for her black boots, the three remaining friends are immediate suspects; it is up to 30-year-old Detective Spencer Patrick O'Malleywho happened to meet Kristina just before she was killedto figure out who's telling the truth. As it turns out, nobody is; before long, Conni, who was desperately jealous of Albert's relationship with Kristina, pleads guilty and gets sent to jail; Jim drops out of school and starts working for a bank; and Albert disappears without a trace. O'Malley figures outwith some improbably fancy footwork involving fingerprintsthat Albert is not who he claims to be; when the truth is revealed, only the most diligent readers will not say, "Huh?"
Take this to the beach if you must (okay, it's campy fun), but look elsewhere for a mystery with real smarts.
"Simon's characterizations are excellent, and she quickly draws the reader deeply into the nuances of the story. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
"A wonderful mystery-suspense story with marvelous twists and turns that keep you guessingand turning pagesright to the very end." Detroit Free Press
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- HarperCollins Publishers
- NOOK Book
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- 452 KB
Meet the Author
Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she emigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Amazing! I guarantee you will not see the twist in this book coming! I couldn't put this book down. The suspense just grabs you and won't let go. Must read!
This book is so engrossing and has so may loops and turns that it is difficult to put down! I highly recommend it!
If you've read Tully and liked it, then you will definitely cherish this lovely book by Paullina Simons. I like the way she gets her readers so emotionally involved with the characters. These youngsters in Red Leaves, Kristina, Constance, Albert and Jim felt like my family, or they could have been my children for that matter. I felt especially close to Kristina, the main character as I felt her cold lonliness and her pain. With a cleverly crafted detective storyline, it has the capacity to keep you up all night long until you've turned the last page. After you've turned that last page, you can't get those characters out of your head. If you haven't bought it yet....do so for it's worth every penny. Thanks Ms. Simons.
It took awhile for the plot to get moving. It was a good read with unexpected plot twist, but left a few unanswered questions. I still love her Bronze Horseman series the most.