Strange but True

( 27 )

Overview

After a mysterious fall from his Manhattan apartment, Philip Chase has moved home with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death ofher younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much TV and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis. But everything changes one winter night when Ronnie's high school girlfriend shows up on their doorstep to deliver the news that she is pregnant ... and the father, she claims, is ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.72
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$13.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (80) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $3.48   
  • Used (69) from $1.99   
Strange but True

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

After a mysterious fall from his Manhattan apartment, Philip Chase has moved home with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death ofher younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much TV and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis. But everything changes one winter night when Ronnie's high school girlfriend shows up on their doorstep to deliver the news that she is pregnant ... and the father, she claims, is Ronnie.

So begins the startling tale as Philip and his mother confront Melissa's past and their own. Their search for answers takes them on an emotional journey, placing them in the path of murder and revenge. At once a moving story of redemption and a heart-stopping work of suspense, Strange but True brings to life a cast of characters that no reader will soon forget.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Dennis Lehane
“A fine, unsettling novel with richly etched characters and a delicious sense of menace.”
Carolyn Parkhusrt
“Imaginative and compelling....John Searles has created a novel that is sometimes eerie, sometimes thrilling, and always completely engaging.”
Augusten Burroughs
“John Searles’ novel illuminates the intricate dynamics of families with humor, heart, and truth.”
Adriana Trigiani
“Funny, mysterious and poignant....John Searles has created a novel to reread and treasure.”
Lisa Scottoline
“This is a page-turner with characters you can never forget.”
Esquire
“Wonderfully entertaining.”
New York Newsday
“Energetic and witty...the plot rocks.”
New York Times
“This tale has a light, eccentric aspect....You’ll race right through it.”
Esquire
“Wonderfully entertaining.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Exceptionally good.”
Hartford Courant
“Pitch-perfect...this novel plays out as vividly as a movie....Who wouldn’t be sucked into this story?”
BookPage
“Searles’ portrayal of a family in collective emotional agony is spellbinding.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“’You know what’s coming next, but you don’t know all of it.’ This is the reason we keep reading.”
Esquire
“Wonderfully entertaining.”
New York Times
“This tale has a light, eccentric aspect....You’ll race right through it.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“’You know what’s coming next, but you don’t know all of it.’ This is the reason we keep reading.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Exceptionally good.”
BookPage
“Searles’ portrayal of a family in collective emotional agony is spellbinding.”
New York Newsday
“Energetic and witty...the plot rocks.”
Hartford Courant
“Pitch-perfect...this novel plays out as vividly as a movie....Who wouldn’t be sucked into this story?”
Publishers Weekly
The world Searles (Boy Still Missing) presents in his second novel is exquisitely odd yet instantly recognizable, as strange but true as the hidden life of one's next-door neighbor. The novel moves in unexpected directions throughout, most notably morphing from a family drama into a kind of mystery/thriller, but its steady gravitational pull-readers should expect to stay up late for this one-testifies to the solidity of its bedrock impressions, cast by an author with extraordinary powers of observation. Searles opens on the night that Melissa Moody, girlfriend to Ronnie Chase, who died five years earlier in a car crash after their high school prom, visits the Chases to tell Ronnie's brother, Philip, and his cantankerous mother that she's pregnant-with, she's sure, Ronnie's child. That revelation spins both Philip and his mother into some sleuthing, of Melissa's situation-could she somehow have saved Ronnie's sperm?-and into their own hearts, ravaged by Ronnie's death and its bitter aftermath, which includes Philip's recent unexplained return to his hometown of Radnor, Pa., from Manhattan. The story shuttles among various point of views and between past and present as Searles peels back layers of concealment to reveal the truths behind the turns in various people's fates, and behind Melissa's claim. Yet while readers will enjoy traveling to the heart of the mystery, what they'll cherish most in this accomplished novel are its startling real characters, with even the minor players-an ambitious Polish librarian; a lonely, aging gay pet owner-all perfectly crafted. Searle's novel should find a wide and grateful readership. (July 20) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Senior books editor at Cosmopolitan, Searles crafts a second novel about a family shocked by the loss of a son-and his girlfriend's announcement years later that she is bearing the young man's child. With a seven-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This novel is reminiscent of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River (Morrow, 2001) with its sharp, realistic character portrayal on top of a somewhat flawed mystery. On prom night, Ronnie Chase is killed when his limo crashes, and his girlfriend is left disfigured. Five years later, she arrives at the Chase house to tell the surviving members of his family that she is pregnant and that the baby is his. Though skeptical, they find themselves wishing that her claims were true and attempting to figure out how this could happen. Many characters share their points of view, from the Chases to Melissa to her landlords. Through these voices, their lives over the last five years are slowly revealed, and readers learn the truth behind the pregnancy. Searles has a great sense of pacing, parceling out bread crumbs of the story that entice readers to keep going. Some of his depictions are better than others-librarians in particular will find flaws in his portrayal of a suburban library branch-but on the whole, the characterization is rich and original. The prom setting, hints of the supernatural, and the satisfying if not entirely resolved ending all have solid teen appeal.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060721794
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/14/2005
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 197,833
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

John Searles is the author of the bestsellers Boy Still Missing and Strange but True. He appears as a book critic on NBC's Today Show, and his essays have been published in the New York Times and Washington Post. He has a master's degree in creative writing from New York University and lives in New York City.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Strange but True

Chapter One

Almost five years after Ronnie Chase's death, the phone rings late one windy February evening. Ronnie's older brother, Philip, is asleep on the foldout sofa, because the family room has served as his bedroom ever since he moved home from New York City. Tangled in the sheets -- among his aluminum crutch, balled-up Kleenexes, TV Guides, three remote controls, and a dog-eared copy of an Anne Sexton biography -- is the cordless phone. Philip's hand fumbles in the dark until he dredges it up by the stubby antenna and presses the On button. "Hello."

A faint, vaguely familiar female voice says, "Philip? Is that you?"

Philip opens his mouth to ask who's calling, then stops when he realizes who it is: Melissa Moody, his brother's high school girlfriend. His mind fills with the single image of her on prom night, blood splattered on the front of her white dress. The memory is enough to make his mouth drop open farther. It is an expression all of the Chases will find themselves wearing on their faces in the coming days, beginning with this very phone call. "Missy?"

"Sorry, it's late. Did I wake you?"

Philip stares up at the antique schoolhouse clock on the wall, which has ticked and ticked and ticked in this rambling old colonial for as long as he can remember, though it never keeps the proper time. Both hands point to midnight, when it's only ten-thirty. Back in New York City, people are just finishing dinner or hailing cabs, but here in the Pennsylvania suburbs, the world goes dead after eight. "I'm wide awake," Philip lies. "It's been a long time. How are you?"

"Okay, I guess."

He hears the steady whoosh of cars speeding by in the background. There is a thinly veiled tremble in her voice that tells him she is anything but okay. "Is something the matter?"

"I need to talk to you and your parents."

If she wants to talk to his father, she'll have to track him down in Florida where he lives with his new wife, Holly -- the woman his mother refers to simply as The Slut. But Philip doesn't bother to explain all that, because there is too much to explain already. "What do you want to talk about?"

Before Missy can answer, his mother's heavy footsteps thunder down the stairs. A moment later, she is standing at the edge of the foldout bed, her worn-out white nightgown pressed obscenely against her doughy body. A few nights before, Philip had caught the second half of About Schmidt on cable. Now he thinks of the scene where Kathy Bates bares all before getting in the hot tub -- this moment easily rivals that one. He shifts his gaze to his mother's curly gray hair springing from her head in all directions like a madwoman -- which is fitting, because to Philip, she is a madwoman. "Who is it?"

"Hold on," Philip says into the phone, then to his mother, "it's Missy."

"Melissa? Ronnie's girlfriend?"

Philip nods.

And then there is that expression: her eyebrows arch upward, her mouth drops into an O, as though she too has been spooked by the horrible memory of Melissa's prom dress splattered with Ronnie's blood. "What does she want?"

He gives an exaggerated shrug, then returns his attention to Melissa. "Sorry. My mom just woke up and wanted to know who was on the phone."

"That's okay. How is she anyway?"

All the possible answers to that question rattle around in his mind. There is the everyday fact of his father's absence, his mother's binge eating and ever-increasing weight, her countless pills for blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety, and depression. But all he says is, "She's fine. So what do you want to talk to us about?"

"I'd rather tell you in person. Can I come by sometime?"

"Sure."

"When would be good?"

Philip thinks of his life in New York, the way he asked perfect strangers over to his camper-size studio in the East Village at all hours. The buzzer was broken, so he had to instruct each one to yell from the street. "How about now?" he hears himself say into the phone.

"Now?" Melissa says.

He waits for her to tell him that it's too late, too dark, too cold. But she takes him by surprise.

"Actually, I've waited too long to tell you this. So now sounds good to me."

After they say good-bye, Philip presses the Off button and tosses the cordless back into the rumpled mess of the bed. The skin beneath his cast itches, and he jams two fingers into the narrow pocket of space just above his kneecap, scratching as hard as he can. His mother stares down at him as an onslaught of questions spill from her mouth like she's regurgitating something and she cannot stop: "Aren't you going to tell me what's going on? I mean, why the hell would that girl call here after all this time? What, she doesn't know how rude it is to phone someone so late? For Christ's sake, aren't you going to answer me?"

Philip quits scratching and pulls his fingers free from the cast, which looks more like an elongated ski boot with an opening for his bruised toes at the bottom, instead of the plain white casts kids used to autograph when he was in high school only a decade ago. "If you shut up for a second, I'll answer you."

His mother crosses her arms in front of her lumpy breasts, making a dramatic show of her silence. The other night he'd watched Inside the Actors Studio and one of those actresses with three names (he could never keep track of who was who) had talked about playing her part for the back row of the theater. That's how his mother has gone through life these last five years, Philip thinks, her every move broad enough for the people in the cheap seats.

Strange but True. Copyright © by John Searles. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

With the keen perception and taut tension that made Boy Still Missing an acclaimed debut, John Searles returns with a haunting tale of family, mystery and miracles.

Strange but True begins just weeks after a bitter homecoming. Injured during a mysterious fall from his New York City apartment, Philip Chase is recuperating at his mother's home in a Pennsylvania suburb. She has never come to terms with the death of her other son, Ronnie, whose memory makes every day an emotional struggle for her and those around her. One night, Ronnie's high school girlfriend, Melissa Moody, arrives on their doorstep with shocking news: she is nine months pregnant, and the father, she claims, is Ronnie. The search for the truth takes Philip and his family on a frightening but healing journey as they confront their fears, regrets, and unforeseen danger.

Charged with the narrative pace of a thriller, surprising moments of dark humor, and quiet observations about love, life and loss, Strange but True is a mesmerizing portrait of a family written by one of the most innovative voices of his generation. We hope that the following questions will enhance your discussion of this provocative novel.

Discussion Topics

  1. Philip sees tremendous distinctions between his hometown and New York City. How do these two locales form key aspects of his identity? Where is he more genuinely at home?

  2. The title phrase, Strange but True, is mentioned in the novel as one character's favorite newspaper column. How did you react when the truth was revealed regarding Melissa's pregnancy? Does society seem to prefer mysterious miracles orlogical proof, or some balance of the two? Which do you prefer?

  3. Discuss the author's use of timelines in the novel. What is the effect of storytelling through flashbacks, with historical revelations made throughout the narrative?

  4. John Searles gives us insight into many points of view, including that of Philip's stepmother. How did these merging perspectives shape your opinion of the characters? Discuss the scenes that are re-visited in the novel from another character's point of view, such as the moment when Gail slips the eviction letter under Melissa's door or when Philip calls Charlene to say that he is not coming back.

  5. What was the root cause of Philip's fall, and what are its repercussions? How does his Manhattan rescue contrast with the one at the end of the novel?

  6. Among the many relics that Ronnie left behind, the Mercedes looms large. What does it say about him, and what is its role in shaping the plot?

  7. The scenes leading up to Ronnie's death depict a classic high school relationship, with fantasies of prom night tempered by parental restrictions. How does Philip's experience with love and sexual awakening compare to that of his brother? Do the brothers experience a similar loss of innocence?

  8. What are your impressions of Ronnie? Does he deserve the heroic memory his loved ones have ascribed to him? Discuss the moment when Charlene reveals the truth about why Ronnie and Chaz set out to date the Moody twins.

  9. Consider the parenting approaches illustrated by the Moodys and the Chases. Which tactics more closely resemble your own upbringing?

  10. What caused the novel's villain to bring such violent behavior so daringly close to home? What does this character's presence say about danger and suburbia?

  11. What role does financial power play in the novel? What does it take for Melissa and Philip to leave home? Are they truly experiencing independent living?

  12. Discuss Philip's unusual friendship with Donnelly. In what ways do he and his menagerie provide Philip with a new family? Is his new life enough to heal the scars of high school bullying?

  13. The poetry of Anne Sexton is woven throughout the novel, yet Charlene wants Philip to embrace Robert Frost, whose style and imagery were more traditional than Sexton's. Still, both poets wrote about feelings of despair and loneliness. What does this literary tug-of-war indicate about the Chase household? What does Philip's own poetry reveal? What is the significance of the Anne Sexton passages quoted in the story?

  14. What does Philip learn about himself while working with the restaurant's many immigrants? What bridge does this experience create for him?

  15. Discuss the many ironies in place as Melissa gives birth, such as the memories that reveal the father's identity and Charlene's transformed personality. What future do you predict for Melissa's son?

  16. Losing a loved one is a nearly universal experience. What coping strategies do the Moodys and the Chases use? How would you have endured such a tragedy?

  17. The image of birds appears consistently throughout the novel. What do they represent? Discuss the significance of the book's closing line.

About the Author

John Searles is the Deputy Editor at Cosmopolitan where he oversees all book excerpts and reviews for the magazine. His essays, articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other national newspapers and magazines. He lives in New York City.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2004

    Excellent

    Great read. Not what I expected.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 10, 2004

    Amazing but true!

    One of the few books I've read where you have no idea where it's going until you get there. First book I've read by Searles, but not the last. I honestly couldn't put it down.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 2, 2004

    GREAT!

    I am no good at this review writting. Just read the book, it is great. I bought it Friday night and was finished it the next day. I couldn't put it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 23, 2007

    Loved it!

    Simply a great story! You'll laugh & cry & pick up a few handy Spanish phrases too! Searles is my new favorite author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 14, 2007

    Promising Start

    With such a promising plotline how coule one go so wrong? Halfway through the book I knew it would just go further and further downhill, but I pressed myself to finish hoping a disaster kills the remaining characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 12, 2005

    One of the best suspence books!

    The book overall was VERY good, but some of the chapters seemed a little long. To me though, the ending was total suprise! If you like mysterys and suspence, you definatly need to read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 1, 2014

    Hi

    Should i get this book?

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

    Posted May 19, 2014

    great book

    his books are a little weird and i usually don't read these kinds but the plot of his stores are REALLY good!! As i have said in his other books ending makes u go mmmmmmm....
    buy it u won't be sorry on any of his books!

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

    Posted December 20, 2006

    Great Story - Different or maybe Strange

    Great look at sibling rivalry, parents dealing with loss of a child, holding onto the past, wow, just a great deal of 'reality' in this fiction. Beautifully written and each chapter pulls you into the next.

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

    Posted February 18, 2006

    Great Read!

    I couldnt put this book down, it held my attention. Was very easy read and very easy to follow. Sandy from NC

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

    Posted July 25, 2005

    Great book overall!! I definitely recommend it!!

    Like other readers mentioned before, some of the chapters seemed dragged out and alot of the excerpts alot longer than they need to be, but overall, a great book!! The author did a great job transferring from charachter to charachter in each chapter and presenting the same moment in time through the eyes of each different person. I really couldn't put the book down! Looking forward to his future novels!

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

    Posted July 15, 2005

    STRANGE BUT TRUE

    A BOOK I COULD NOT PUT DOWN. HAD ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT.

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

    Posted February 11, 2005

    A GOOD strange storyteller

    Great book. Skimmed through chapters 5-8, b'cause those were the only chapters i felt stalled a little. Kept me on my toes, till the end.

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

    Posted January 21, 2005

    wonderfully strange

    this book was so hard to put down, i was sad when i read the last page! a totaly awesome book, i recommend that everyone read it, truely worth its weight in gold!

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

    Posted September 19, 2004

    An excellent read

    This is a great book. I couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved the twists and turns of the story. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A poignant family melodrama

    While Phillip Chase recuperates at his mother¿s Philadelphia house after falling from the fire escape in his fourth floor New York apartment, Melissa calls because she wants to come over to tell him and his mother something. When she arrives, she tells them that she is pregnant with Ronnie Chase¿s child, a situation they find impossible to believe. Ronnie died five years ago in an automobile accident coming home from the prom..................... The only time Melissa had sex was on prom night and she believes this child is her dead lover¿s since she never even dated another man. Phillip¿s mother Charlene is hoping that Ronnie deposited his sperm at a sperm bank and she goes to Melissa¿s house to see if it is true. She never arrives but Phillip talks to Ronnie who he feels sorry for. Before he can return home he discovers something that could put him and the wife of Melissa¿s landlord in danger..................... John Searles has written an unusual but enthralling work of psychological suspense that keep fans wondering who the father of Melissa¿s child is since she insists she has been celibate for five years and readers believe her. It is STRANGE BUT TRUE that the protagonist has no idea how she got pregnant and readers will empathize with her need to believe it is Ronnie¿s child. A surprise twist at the climax of this novel brings everything into focus so that the audience will feel they have read a poignant family melodrama.......................... Harriet Klausner

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

    Posted June 28, 2004

    Strange but True

    John Searles has created a second successful novel. STRANGE BUT TRUE is anything but 'strange', it is mesmerizing! It is a story of lives affected by events at and following a high school graduation Prom. Ronnie Chase, girlfriend Melissa, her twin sister Tracy, and date Chaz hire a limousine to deliver them to and from the Inn where the celebration is held. Philip Chase is living with his mother Charlene in the Pennsylvania suburbs, while recuperating from a fall off a balcony of his New York City apartment. Melissa phones Philip and Charlene then pays them a visit, first since five years past. The news she has to deliver stuns Philip and receives a venomous reaction from Charlene. Melissa is nine months pregnant. Through visitations to a psychic and in answer to her prayers, Melissa believes the conception is Ronnie's baby. She has only had sexual intercourse one time with one person and that is Ronnie Chase on the night of the Prom. However, Ronnie died almost five years ago. He was killed in a tragic accident when the limousine crashed into a thick oak tree on the return trip taking the foursome home. The limo driver had a high level of alcohol in his system. Full of loneliness and sadness, Melissa is estranged from her parents, living in a cottage, and has received a notice to vacate because of unpaid rent. Landlords Gail and Bill Erwin appear to be happily married, even though Gail has been disappointed in a few previous marriages and Bill is an ex-policeman who was asked to leave his job. Richard Chase, Ronnie's father, and second wife Holly live in Florida. Richard harbors a secret from the past. Charlene is an embittered ex-wife and mother grieving for her dead son. Along with Ronnie's 1979 Mercedes in the garage, Charlene keeps Ronnie's bedroom locked enshrined like a museum. Formerly a librarian, Charlene visits the town library. As she steps into the lobby, 'she is overcome by one simple thing: the smell of books.' Philip loves reading and writing poetry. He has always known that his brother was the favored son. He overheard a conversation in which Charlene said '¿ the wrong son died'. Searles delivers poetic essence in STRANGE BUT TRUE. In one instance he writes, 'The wind¿ has died off, leaving the woods around the three small houses in a perfect hush.' With intended humor, the author also writes of Charlene speaking to Philip, '¿watching too much TV will make your brain rot'. Searles's style of storytelling encourages readers to linger from beginning to end uniquely blending chapters with the past and the present . The author gives credence to main and sideline characters assigning each a burden of trials, tribulations, and disappointments. STRANGE BUT TRUE is an avid reader's treasure full of astounding surprises. Personification of the cast members is uniquely filled with happiness and sadness, anger and forgiveness, loss and gain, hatred and love, good and evil, but most of all - survival. A story that poetically embraces the emotions - puts a lump in the throat, a tug to the heart, and gives hope for the soul. Every book has a message -- STRANGE BUT TRUE speaks volumes!

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

    Posted June 29, 2004

    Strange but True

    John Searles has created a second successful novel. STRANGE BUT TRUE is anything but 'strange', it is mesmerizing! It is a story of lives affected by events at and following a high school graduation Prom. Ronnie Chase, girlfriend Melissa, her twin sister Tracy, and date Chaz hire a limousine to deliver them to and from the Inn where the celebration is held. Philip Chase is living with his mother Charlene in the Pennsylvania suburbs, while recuperating from a fall off a balcony of his New York City apartment. Melissa phones Philip and Charlene then pays them a visit, first since five years past. The news she has to deliver stuns Philip and receives a venomous reaction from Charlene. Melissa is nine months pregnant. Through visitations to a psychic and in answer to her prayers, Melissa believes the conception is Ronnie's baby. She has only had sexual intercourse one time with one person and that is Ronnie Chase on the night of the Prom. However, Ronnie died almost five years ago. He was killed in a tragic accident when the limousine crashed into a thick oak tree on the return trip taking the foursome home. The limo driver had a high level of alcohol in his system. Full of loneliness and sadness, Melissa is estranged from her parents, living in a cottage, and has received a notice to vacate because of unpaid rent. Landlords Gail and Bill Erwin appear to be happily married, even though Gail has been disappointed in a few previous marriages and Bill is an ex-policeman who was asked to leave his job. Richard Chase, Ronnie's father, and second wife Holly live in Florida. Richard harbors a secret from the past. Charlene is an embittered ex-wife and mother grieving for her dead son. Along with Ronnie's 1979 Mercedes in the garage, Charlene keeps Ronnie's bedroom locked enshrined like a museum. Formerly a librarian, Charlene visits the town library. As she steps into the lobby, 'she is overcome by one simple thing: the smell of books.' Philip loves reading and writing poetry. He has always known that his brother was the favored son. He overheard a conversation in which Charlene said '¿ the wrong son died'. Searles delivers poetic essence in STRANGE BUT TRUE. In one instance he writes, 'The wind¿ has died off, leaving the woods around the three small houses in a perfect hush.' With intended humor, the author also writes of Charlene speaking to Philip, '¿watching too much TV will make your brain rot'. Searles's style of storytelling encourages readers to linger from beginning to end uniquely blending chapters with the past and the present . The author gives credence to main and sideline characters assigning each a burden of trials, tribulations, and disappointments. STRANGE BUT TRUE is an avid reader's treasure full of astounding surprises. Personification of the cast members is uniquely filled with happiness and sadness, anger and forgiveness, loss and gain, hatred and love, good and evil, but most of all - survival. A story that poetically embraces the emotions - puts a lump in the throat, a tug to the heart, and gives hope for the soul. Every book has a message -- STRANGE BUT TRUE speaks volumes!

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

    Posted August 10, 2004

    Truly Gripping Story

    this was such a good book that i could not put it down for 2 days. the characters each have such important roles in the storyline and they are wonderfully outlined by Mr. Searles. The character of Phillip Chase was brilliantly written. this book truly leaves you wanting more. Good job Searles, you hit it on the nose.

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

    Posted August 1, 2004

    The Best Ever

    I really didnt read much of the story.But just reading the first chapter of it.It really puts you into the store.I think the writer did a very good job.I cant wait to read the rest.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)