BN.com Gift Guide

Untouchable

( 855 )

Overview

It is the autumn of 1999. A year has passed since Lucy Darby's unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. David, a trauma-site cleanup technician, spends his nights expunging the violent remains of strangers, helping their families to move on, though he is unable to do the same. Whitley--an 11-year-old social pariah known simply as The Kid--hasn't spoken since his mother's death. Instead, he communicates through a growing collection of notebooks, living in ...

See more details below
Paperback
$12.15
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (47) from $1.99   
  • New (16) from $1.99   
  • Used (31) from $1.99   
Untouchable

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • 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)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 31%)$15.95 List Price

Overview

It is the autumn of 1999. A year has passed since Lucy Darby's unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. David, a trauma-site cleanup technician, spends his nights expunging the violent remains of strangers, helping their families to move on, though he is unable to do the same. Whitley--an 11-year-old social pariah known simply as The Kid--hasn't spoken since his mother's death. Instead, he communicates through a growing collection of notebooks, living in a safer world of his own silent imagining.

As the impending arrival of Y2K casts a shadow of uncertainty around them, their own precarious reality begins to implode. Questions pertaining to the events of Lucy's death begin to haunt David, while The Kid, who still believes his mother is alive, enlists the help of his small group of misfit friends to bring her back. As David continues to lose his grip on reality and The Kid's sense of urgency grows, they begin to uncover truths that will force them to confront their deepest fears about each other and the wounded family they are trying desperately to save.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Discover Great New Writers

Trouble has been simmering in the year since David Darby’s wife died unexpectedly. Now, as Y2K approaches, it has come to a boil….

*****

"Nothing happened," David Darby murmurs every time he leaves a job. A trauma-site cleanup technician, he's learned that the trick is to acquire as little information as possible — no big picture, no whole story, — just messes to be scrubbed, disinfected, or discarded. Darby understands and knows this is the only way he can make it through the long hours he is on the clock. Murders, suicides, horrific accidents — he and his crew spend their nights cleaning up the grisly remains of strangers, leaving their bereaved families grateful yet woefully unprepared to move on. But getting on with things is not something that Darby has ever done very well himself. It's been a long, lonely year since his wife's unexpected death, and his son, Whitley — a.k.a. the Kid — has been mute, communicating mostly through scribbled notes. A strange-looking outcast at school, the Kid carries his grief wrapped around him like a tight, weighty shroud. Pathetically convinced his mother will return, he retreats further and further into the world of his imagination while his father's own instability intensifies and threatens to overwhelm them both. Sleeplessness, doubt, and unanswered questions about his wife's death, Darby into an emotional freefall that jeopardizes his safety as well as his son's. Tender, haunting exquisitely profound; O'Connor's debut novel is an eloquent celebration of familial love made all the more poignant by tragedy. Painful, yet liberating, Untouchable takes the measure of a father and son with honesty, humor, and uncommon resonance.

Booklist
"O'Connor's prose is as beautifully terse as his plot…It's an affecting mix, squeezing the reader's emotions so that when the myth of the "perfect" family begins to dissolve through flashbacks, it feels like the inevitable waking from a halcyon dream." --(Daniel Kraus)
Crimespree Magazine
"Once in a very long time, a book comes along that resonates and sings with heart. It's characters so real you want to touch them, hug them. Their peril so well told you are filled with fear as you are a mere observer of their adventure. You find yourself holding your breath as you read the last pages of the story for all could be lost or won in the confines of this bound paper. And when it is over you wish you could read it all for the first time, again. That is how good this book is."
From the Publisher

"Scott O'Connor speaks softly and somehow manages to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters...a voice so insistently stirring, you want to lean in close to catch every word." --The New York Times Book Review

"O'Connor's prose is as beautifully terse as his plot...squeezing the reader's emotions so that when the myth of the "perfect" family begins to dissolve...it feels like the inevitable waking from a halcyon dream." --Booklist

"Astonishing...Introducing an amazing new talent to the world of fiction." --Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Heartfelt...the story is involving and moves easily through material that could smother with treacle, but O'Connor's strong characters--especially the Kid, whose elementary school humiliations are especially well handled--and his ease with conveying their emotions keeps the novel afloat." -- Publishers Weekly

"There are no easy answers or safe archetypes here, nor is there a single iota of sugar-coating. The world of Scott O'Connor's debut novel is tough, worn, and thoroughly lived in, and is as vivid and painfully honest as anything I've read in a very long time. Do not sleep on Untouchable, this is the real thing." --Nathan Singer, author of A Prayer for Dawn and In the Light of You

"Once in a very long time, a book comes along that resonates and sings with heart. It's characters so real you want to touch them, hug them. Their peril so well told you are filled with fear as you are a mere observer of their adventure. You find yourself holding your breath as you read the last pages of the story for all could be lost or won in the confines of this bound paper. And when it is over you wish you could read it all for the first time, again. That is how good this book is." --Crimespree magazine

Marilyn Stasio
…O'Connor speaks softly and somehow manages to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters…[he] tells a wisp of a story, but in a voice so insistently stirring, you want to lean in close to catch every word.
—The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935562504
  • Publisher: Adams Media
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 968,498
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott O'Connor

Scott O'Connor was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and currently lives in Los Angeles. His 2004 novella Among Wolves was praised by the Los Angeles Times Book Review for its "crisp, take-no-prisoners style" and hailed the author as "one to watch."

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


They come in the abandoned hour of the night, moving through
quiet arterial streets, empty intersections, past gated storefronts
and darkened windows, homeless men curled into bus stop
shelters, prostitutes walking the desolate concrete stretches.
They come in a pair of white Ford Econolines, identical vans, flanks
unmarked, windowless and blank. They sit parallel at stoplights and the drivers
raise their eyebrows at each other and yawn, sip coffee from Styrofoam cups,
roll forward when the lights change, toward the motel, the apartment complex,
the house in the hills.
There is always someone waiting when they arrive, someone standing in
the driveway or doorway, looking more than a little shell-shocked, still not
quite able to believe what they've seen, that what has happened has actually
happened. The police have left, the coroner's people have left, but someone
slipped them a business card on the way out, passed along a company name and
phone number and told them to call and wait. Mothers, husbands, wives, motel
night clerks, apartment managers, security guards. Whoever was unfortunate
enough to be the one to open the door, to walk into the room and see
something they will never forget.


They weren't going to call the number. There was a moment after all the
noise and commotion, after the police and the coroner's people left, when the
person waiting in the doorway was alone in the new silence of the place, just
outside the room, a moment where they thought they could handle it
themselves, thought they could take care of things quickly and efficiently, that
it would be the right thing to do for their son or husband or tenant or
employer. That it would be unpleasant but possible. But then they remembered
the sight and the smell and the profane mess, the horror of the thing, and they
dialed the number on the card and spoke to a sweet-sounding old woman who
took their information and told them that help was on the way.
The white vans pull to the curb, engines cooling, ticking in the stillness.
Two men get out of the first van, stretching and yawning in the bad
light. These are not the kind of men the person in the doorway expected. The
person in the doorway is not sure what kind of men they expected, but these
are not those men. One of the men is tall, buzz cut, with full sleeves of
multicolored tattoos. The other is short and gym-built, with a thinning cap of
flaming orange hair. These are rough-looking men, truckers or sailors, heavylifters,
men who look like they're in the habit of breaking things, dropping
things, banging around in small rooms. They do not seem equipped for the

subtlety and reverence required for the task at hand. The grandmother on the
phone had used the term technicians, had said that she was sending a crew of
technicians, but these men do not appear to have the degree of precision that
the term implies, the level of scientific expertise.
The person in the doorway considers redialing the number on the card,
canceling the job, dealing with this themselves. But then there is the memory,
that first moment when they opened the door and came upon the scene in the
room, the unspeakable thing. So they do nothing, they hold the business card
and wait as the men move to the backs of the vans and pull out their
equipment, red plastic buckets, squeeze bottles and spray cans, wire brushes and
putty knives, roll after roll of paper towels.
Another man, the driver of the second van, steps down onto the
sidewalk. He approaches the person in the doorway, walking slowly, head
down. He is terrifically fat. He has a graying ponytail that stretches down
between his shoulder blades and a thick, bushy mustache that turns up at the
ends. There is a name for this type of mustache, an antiquated style, but the
name escapes the person waiting. Remembering it seems important, suddenly,
proving that they are still capable of simple acts, putting names to things. It
seems like this would restore a level of normalcy to the night, having a name for
it, that style of mustache. But the term is just out of reach and they are left at a
loss, again.
The two men at the vans are pulling on blue paper body suits, they are
pulling on rubber gloves. They are duct taping each other's suit sleeves closed
around the gloves. They are pulling safety goggles out of the vans, plastic-andrubber
respiration masks, a box of disposable surgical booties. More duct tape
for the pant cuffs of their suits, a man standing on one leg, balancing with a
hand against the side of a van while the other rolls the tape around his ankles.
They look like something out of an old science-fiction movie.
Moonmen. They look like moonmen.
The fat man approaches, the fat man arrives. He is even bigger up close,
towering, damp-browed, breathing heavily from the short walk. He smells of
cigarettes and coffee. He looks down at the scuffed toes of his work boots. He is
about to speak and the person in the doorway has absolutely no idea what he is
going to say, what anyone could possibly say on this night, standing outside
after the police and coroner's people have gone, after the facts have been given
and recorded, the known details. The person has no idea what's left, what
words would still have a shred of relevance, what words wouldn't fail, utterly.
The fat man nods and looks up and speaks in a low, rich rumble.

What he says is, I'm very sorry for your loss.
And maybe this is the moment when the person in the doorway cries or
screams or lets loose a fusillade of vulgarities, a seething mass of profanity and
loss. Maybe this is the moment where the person falls to their knees, dissolving
into guilt, sobbing convulsively, and has to be helped up by the fat man, held
under the elbows and lifted, gently. Maybe this is the moment when the person
hits the fat man, when they punch the fat man in the chest, just to put a
physical action to the feeling, just to strike some kind of blow. Maybe this is the
moment when they speak in tongues, when they resurrect a primal language,
finding comfort in the acceptance of extreme things, babbling in God's own
voice. Or maybe this is the moment when they say nothing, when they stand
silent, when the weight of the thing that has happened finally settles upon
them, and they sag a little, in the shoulders and knees, the smallest thing, the
way they will sag from now on, the way they will carry this night in their bodies
from this moment forward, and maybe this is their only response to what the
fat man says.
The moonmen pass inside, carrying their equipment. Their blue paper
suits crinkle and shush. The fat man stays for a few minutes, and maybe he says
something else and maybe he doesn't. Maybe he just stands and waits as the

person in the doorway gets used to the sagging weight, their new posture, the
slight adjustment in bearing. Then the fat man returns to the vans and pulls on
his own moonman suit, gathers the equipment the others have laid out for him,
passes by the person in the doorway and enters the motel or apartment or house
in the hills.
And maybe this is when it comes to them, when it arrives unexpectedly,
the lost identifier. Maybe this is when they remember. The name of the thing.
The fat man's facial hair. Maybe it comes to them then, just like that, a gift.
Handlebar mustache. The name of the thing is handlebar mustache.
David Darby hauled his gear down the narrow hallway and up the stairs
to the fourth and top floor. Jerry Roistler followed half a flight behind. They set
their buckets down outside the numbered door and waited. Bob Lewis was
downstairs speaking with the person who'd been waiting when they arrived.
The apartment manager, Darby guessed, a harried-looking man with a gold
hoop dangling from one ear. Bob would get whatever information he felt
necessary for the job, probably more than he needed, then he'd come up and
look at the room and give the manager an estimate, a timeframe for
completion.

Darby could already smell the job on the other side of the door. The
room had sat for a while. A week, he guessed, maybe longer.
Roistler winced at the smell, pulled on his respiration mask.
"What do you think, Tattooed Lady?" Roistler said, voice muffled by the
mask. "Vectors or no vectors?"
"Not interested."
"Five bucks says vectors."
"No interest."
"With that smell, five bucks says mucho vectors." Roistler worked his
knuckles, his neck and shoulders, an irritating sequence of firecracker pops.
Darby ignored him, listened to the stairs groan as Bob lumbered up to the top.
"Apartment manager was in Reno for a week," Bob said. He pulled a
loose strand of tobacco from his mustache. "Came back to a phone full of
messages about the smell."
"Nobody called the cops?" Roistler said.
"Older people in the building, mostly. Keep to themselves. Nobody
called anybody until it was time to complain about the smell."
Bob pulled on his mask, lifted the instant camera out of his bucket,
unlocked the door with a ring of keys the manager had given him. He would

take a picture of the room before they started work, what they called the Before
photo. He stepped into the doorway, filling the frame.
"Studio apartment," Bob said. "One main room, small kitchen off one
side, smaller bathroom off the other."
He lifted the camera to his eye, snapped a picture. The light of the flash
echoed back out into the hallway. The print slid from the face of the camera,
slowly developing. Bob pulled the print, shook it with his free hand. Darby
strapped on his safety goggles, picked up his equipment and entered the room.
The trick of the job is to forget what had happened. The trick of the job
is to acquire as little information as possible about the site, the former
occupants, the current occupants, the thing that happened there, and then to
forget that information. Not to see the big picture, the whole story. There is no
big picture, there is no whole story. There are only details that need to be
sprayed, scrubbed, bagged, disposed of.
The trick of the job is to use an alternate vocabulary for these details, a
list of terms developed over the years by the technicians, sanitized for their own
protection. Once inside the room, there is no blood, or skin, or hair, or teeth,
or chunks of brain, heart, lung, stomach. There is no evidence of violent death,

self-inflicted or otherwise. There is no detritus of a human body left to
decompose for days or weeks. There is only fluid and matter; there are only
spots, stains, leakage.
The trick of the job is not to listen to the people who are waiting in the
doorway, in the driveway, in the parking lot when the vans arrive. Often they
will have a lot to say, a lot to explain. It is important to understand what those
people do not: that there is nothing to explain. There is just fluid and matter.
There are just spots and stains. There is only a mess that needs to be cleaned
up.
Remember those things, understand those things, and the job is possible.
The room can be cleaned, finished, set right. Remember those things and the
picture taken once the job is complete, the After photograph, will show
evidence that the trick is more than a trick. It will show what has been achieved
through hours of spraying and scrubbing and scraping and bagging, what future
occupants of the site will believe, safe and unsuspecting. That the trick of the
job is now the new truth of the room:
Nothing happened.
*****

The recliner would have to be disposed of. That much was immediately
clear. The recliner was a lost cause, soaked in fluids and studded with matter.
Once Bob came back up from the manager's office, they'd need to wrap it and
carry it down to the vans. After the cleanup was complete, they'd drive it to the
disposal facility with the other red biohazard bags full of all the other things
they couldn't salvage, contaminated items that were impossible to clean.
The carpeting around the recliner was dark with dried splotches, stipples
trailing out toward the wall a few feet behind. Darby pulled a spray bottle from
his bucket, squirted the liquefying enzyme across the first splotch, softening the
dried fluid, creating a low mist around the recliner. He gave it a few seconds to
burble and hiss, then pulled a fistful of paper towels from a roll and soaked up
as much as the towels would hold. He red-bagged the towels and sprayed the
next splotch.
Roistler came into the apartment carrying the fogging machine. He
closed the door behind him and shut all the windows, sealing them in. He set
the machine down in the middle of the room. The fogger would flatten all
smell in the room, years of cologne and cooking and cigarettes and a week's
worth of fluid and matter sitting in the heat. It also helped with the flies,
though it didn't do much about the vectors.

Roistler had been right. There were mucho vectors. Flies gathered almost
immediately at a job site, and given enough time, flies laid eggs that became
vectors and vectors multiplied at an alarming rate, squirming around in any
fluid and matter they could find. A week was more than enough time for a
complete generation of vectors, maybe two.
Roistler flipped a switch on the fogger and the machine jumped to life.
Darby could feel its low rumble in his knees, vibrating through the floor. The
machine chugged and pumped, releasing a thin white mist in a steady stream.
Roistler said something Darby couldn't hear, then laughed at his own joke.
Darby sprayed another splotch at the foot of the recliner, tore more
paper towels from the roll, scooped the softened fluid. There were sharp shards
of broken glass near the toe of his work boot, the remains of a shattered vodka
bottle. There was another empty bottle on the TV, a third lying on its side on
the bed. Darby caught himself, stopped himself from looking around the room.
He narrowed his vision, refocused on the recliner.
"Darby," Roistler said. "Look at this."
Roistler was standing at the bookshelves on the other side of the room,
inspecting picture frames and detective paperbacks, anything that could have
been hit with flying fluid or matter.

"Darby, look." Roistler raised his voice to be heard over the fogger,
through the hood of Darby's suit. He was holding something between his
thumb and forefinger, dangling it for Darby to see.
Darby didn't look. He nodded like he'd looked, nodded and grunted
loudly as a false confirmation that he'd looked, because sometimes that was
enough, sometimes that satisfied Roistler and he'd get back to work without
any further conversation.
"Darby, look. You're not looking."
Darby didn't look. He nodded and grunted and scooped the last of the
fluid from the carpeting. It wasn't going to be enough. The carpeting would
have to be disposed of. He picked a scoring razor out of his bucket and started
cutting the carpet into record album-sized squares, pulling the squares loose,
stuffing them into a red biohazard bag.
It was already hot in the room. Darby sweated in his suit, used his
forearm to lift his goggles a half inch from his face, clear the condensation.
There was a large, shrieking splash of fluid on the wall behind the
recliner. Above the fluid was a fist-sized hole that had contained the discharge
of the weapon used. The discharge would have been taken by the cops, but

there would still be other things in that hole, things that clung to the discharge
as it made its way from the recliner to the wall.
Darby pulled a plastic dustpan from his bucket, sprayed the stain on the
wall with disinfectant and held the pan underneath to catch the fluid as it ran.
The disappearing stain revealed more matter stuck to the white paint, little
wads of what could easily be mistaken for colorless chewing gum. Darby kept
the dustpan pressed to the wall with one hand, tore paper towels with the other,
picked the matter from the wall. Sprayed the entire area again, wiping it clean.
He carried a short stepladder in from the hall, climbed up to the hole,
sprayed disinfectant and shone a flashlight around inside. Tough to see what
the situation was. He grabbed a wad of paper towels and pushed his hand into
the hole. Came away with enough on his towel to repeat the process a few more
times.
Roistler stopped talking. Bob was back in the doorway. Darby tilted his
head toward the recliner and Bob nodded. They tore long sheets of black plastic
from a four-foot roll and wrapped the recliner, Bob rocking the chair one way
and then the other while Darby pulled the plastic tight. They each took an end
and carried it out of the room, down the hallway to the staircase, the gaps
under the doorways shadowed as they passed, eyeholes darkening, a few doors

cracking open along the way, braver souls, long faces peeking out, older men
and women, mostly alone, one per room, nightshirts and pajamas, woken by
the sirens and the sounds of people and equipment trampling through the
building, fearstruck now by the two moonmen. They pinched their noses when
they saw the recliner. The recliner didn't carry much of an odor, but they saw
the hoods and the masks and a chair bound in plastic and thought that it must
smell, assumed that it must stink like cellophane-wrapped meat gone bad.
Down the stairs, third floor, second floor, the recliner heavy from the
liquid weight it carried. They stopped at each landing for Bob to regain his
breath. Finally they were out the front door of the building into the early light,
the sun-gathering haze. Bob wedged a wooden block into the doorway to keep
it from shutting, locking them out. Darby covered the floor of the first van
with a large sheet of plastic and they lifted the recliner up and in.
They peeled off their gloves, pulled back their hoods, took off their
goggles and masks. Breathed deeply. Traffic was starting to thicken on the
freeway overpass a block away, headlights and taillights in the gloom. Bob
readjusted his ponytail up under his hair net, pulled the tape from his wrists,
rolled his sleeves to get some air on his skin. His moonman suits were specialordered
for his size. One of Roistler's favorite jokes was to open a new shipment

of suits at the garage, rummage through the box and announce that the supplier
had refused to make Bob-sized suits any more, that the techs would have to sew
two large suits together to make new Bob-sized suits.
Bob looked at his watch. "What do you think? Three hours? Four? We're
back at the garage by ten?"
Darby nodded. He looked up at the apartment building, a gray stucco
slab, counted up, counted back, looking for the light, the closed windows of the
room.
"Which is it?" Bob said. "Three or four?"
"Three."
"Fifteen bucks on three?"
"Sure."
"Dinner on three?"
"Sure."
Bob tapped his watch, marking the time. He pulled two new pairs of
gloves from a toolbox, handed one pair to Darby. He closed up the van and
Darby kicked the wooden block loose from the front door of the building as
they went back inside.
*****

Darby stood in the center of the room, pulled off his goggles and mask,
pulled back his hood. The cleanup was complete. Roistler was hauling out the
last of the redbags and equipment; Bob was settling the paperwork with the
apartment manager downstairs.
Midmorning light through the windows, soft orange and yellow. Citrus
light. The beginning of another hot day in a string of them. Too warm for this
late into October. He tore the duct tape from his wrists, retrieved the camera
from where Bob had left it on the table by the TV.
The room had no smell, thanks to the fogger. There was a blank spot
where any smell should be.
Darby lifted the camera to his eye, stepped back toward the door, getting
as much of the room in frame as he could. There was a small, hard knot behind
the bridge of his nose, the kernel of a headache that spread quickly out toward
his temples, the back of his skull. A rushing in his ears, a loud white noise that
threatened to fill the room. This had been happening for a while now, this
feeling that came upon him when he was making his final check of a site. A
nagging disquiet. The feeling that the room was unfinished.
18
He looked for something they had missed, some detail that would be
discovered in days or weeks, after the carpeting had been replaced, after the wall
had been patched and repainted, a telltale sign that would betray the secret of
what had happened here. There was nothing. The room was clean, the job was
done.
He tried to shake the headache. He held his breath to steady his hands
and snapped the picture. The room flashed white.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 855 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(167)

4 Star

(207)

3 Star

(203)

2 Star

(140)

1 Star

(138)

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 856 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2011

    Powerful Family Issues Come to Life

    As I started reading Untouchable, I kept anticipating something to happen, anything. For me, this was a slow moving book, with just enough to happen to where it kept me reading. While Scott O'Connor doesn't put a label on any of the characters, so as the reader, you come to find out what they are experiencing and/or suffering from. Scott O'Connor does a fabulous job painting a picture of what is happening, how the characters are feeling, and the reader is left to decipher what it all means. In a way, this book left me confused, but I don't have any personal experience dealing with the issues that surround this book.

    The story is told through Darby and The Kid's point of view, as well as referring back to the past. This book deals with serious mental issues, full of drama, sadness, love, and family. Darby and The Kid must face their own journey of healing with the death of Lucy, the wife of Darby and mom to The Kid.

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A good read

    Whitley is eleven, and people simply call him "the Kid." He lives with his father and daily deals with the grief of his mother's death. But, Whitley doesn't really believe she is dead and won't speak, making any relationships difficult to keep moving forward. David Darby is a grieving father who also works cleaning up trauma sites. As he prepares to do the work, David continually reminds himself to picture it cleaned up so that he can make it through. His son needs him. He misses his wife. It has been a year and they continue to grieve separately. Can they put the family back together? What is the complete truth behind Lucy Darby's death? What is Whitley writing in his notebooks, and will it completely take his sanity? Can David save himself and Whitley the way he helps save so many other families?

    This book was an emotional ride and I continually wanted the situations to be fixed. The characters were vivid and realistic; the story seemed to be taken from any neighborhood. I recommend this book and author and think we will see much more from him. Be sure to watch the trailer as well! Thank you to Leyane Jerejian and FSB Media for the copy I read on my Nook.

    19 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a profound insightful tale of grief

    One year ago, Lucy Darby suddenly died. Her husband David who is used to working with death as crime cleanup technician cannot understand what happened to his healthy wife. Their school aged "Kid" Whitney also cannot comprehend what occurred to his mother.

    Twelve months since the tragedy happened both still grieve. As he cannot move on, David has no idea how to help his son as he cannot help himself; thus the Kid remains mute since he lost his mother. Whitney only communicates through his notebooks. Meanwhile while David struggles with cleaning away violence, he is on the brink of a break down and perhaps insanity. The Kid, the target of bullies at school, believes when Y2K arrives, he will bring his still alive (in his mind) mother home soon.

    Untouchable is a profound insightful tale of grief that asks what happens when a person fails to move through the Five Stages of Grief as defined by the Kubler-Ross Model but instead becomes locked deeper into one of the first steps. David seems Bipolar as he fluctuates between phases 2 Anger and 4 Depression but never moves into 5 Acceptance and for the most part skips 3 Bargaining. The Kid remains locked inside phase 1 Denial. Both are rapidly mentally and emotionally deteriorating. Not for everyone Scott O'Connor provides a powerful character study of a father and son failing to move on following the death of the loved one who was the family focus as grief is customized.

    Harriet Klausner

    16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Don't bother

    The worse book I have ever tried to read. I usually read at least 100 pages before I decide whether I like a book or not and truth be told I haven't come across but two books that I can remember not finishing. I am on page 73 of this book and it is so boring and very depressing. Nothing is happening in the lives of the main characters. A year has pasted and the father and son are continuing to suffer from the unexpected death of the wife/mother. The son can't believe his mother is really dead and has made a pack with God that he will not speak until the mother returns. He writes in a notebook even at school and is picked on, spitt on etc. at school by a couple of bullies. His father works as a "trama" clean-up technician. Ugh! Again this book is very depressing. I have read plenty of other free ebooks which I have enjoyed. Don't know if I can bring myself to finish it - feel like I am just wasting time with this one.

    14 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Beautiful and haunting

    Excellent book...I would have paid full price. Free Fridays ROCK!!

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2012

    Intense Read

    DESCRIPTION
    The months leading up to the 1-year anniversary of Lucy's death find her husband Darby and son "The Kid" struggling to come to terms with their loss. Both father and son have unwittingly abandoned each other as they travel down isolated paths of grief. As the 1-year mark approaches, Darby finds his life unraveling and his son slipping further away. Both must face the truth if they have any hope of finding each other again.

    CONCEPT/PLOT - 5 stars
    This was a truly sad but uplifting story. It pulls no punches, it doesn't sugarcoat things. It is real people dealing with real life, real situations that hopefully the majority of us never have to experience. But for those of us who have undergone such experiences, we know the stigma of being a social outcast, a pariah, an Untouchable. The burden that isolates us is also the burden that needs to be shared the most and this theme was a constant throughout the book. O'Connor shares that burden with his readers and asks that we the reader, share it with him. It is an intense read and expertly executed.

    WRITING STYLE/EXECUTION - 5 stars
    There was a lot of detail and back-story in the beginning that I had to have faith would come together somehow in the end, which, for the most part, it did. I was concerned though, that at a third of the way through, I was finding the pace slow, I was still not sure what I was reading, what the story was, and I hadn't connected to any of the characters. Then ALL of that changed. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but suddenly I felt like I was reading a different book. Not that the writing style had changed, but it took a while for things to gel. Once they did, the story really picked up, and I found myself rooting for the characters, feeling angry, sad, and outraged at times. If you like symbolism, this story has it in spades and it was fun to spot all those nice touches. I liked the ending, too. I do tend to gravitate towards realistic fiction, so it worked for me.

    FORMATTING/EDITING - 5 stars
    The formatting and editing was a non-issue for the most part. I read this book on my Kindle and the only complaint I have is that sometimes it seemed to be missing breaks between some character POV shifts and flash-back shifts. I stumbled a couple times on this. I don't know if other versions are like this or not, but if you're reading the Kindle version, you've been forewarned. : )

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Loved it

    A wonderful literary work i could analyze this book for days. English teachers will have a hay day with this one. It starts off slow stick with it. Believe me a tear jerker.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2011

    A compelling story

    Possibly the darkest book I've ever read. It is the story of a nice young boy who is an outcast at school. He has only one friend and he is a misfit too. The Dad's job puts him direct contact with people who have suffered horrible losses and the Mom is dead. Their behavior is puzzling until bit by bit the author fills us in on how they came to be the way they are. I'm not sure if I can recommend it. Most people read novels to be entertained. Not everyone wants to peer into the depths of the souls of people in pain. I read a lot and honestly, I forget many of the stories. I will never forget this one.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Wow...

    To be quite honest, this book rocked me to my core. I was not prepared.

    I spent most of it reeling between joy and sadness. Joy that at least one person gets the reality of this particular brand of cruelty and desperation, and sadness that it's still so universally understood. This isn't simply a bullying story, a story of lost love, or even an underdog story. It's all of them, without shoving it down your throat. It's subtle, and dare I say, ingenious.

    I...just can't fathom how anyone could give this book a bad review, or even a mediocre one! I've read many books, and precious few have moved me to tears. This one, quite literally, brought me close to an emo breakdown. Multiple times.

    One of the most beautifully written, painstakingly crafted,heart-wrenching, sincere pieces of lit I've come across in quite a while.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 2, 2011

    Difficult to read

    I agree with several previous reviews. I stuck with the book, but it took me a long time to read. Story jumped around, had trouble maintaining my attention. Would not recommend this book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 26, 2011

    Cool book

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    Excellent

    I got this book expecting it to be more like The Road,post apocolips. Although it was nothing like I expected, I thought it was excellent. I liked the way it went from time to time and from one scene to another. Each part as exciting as the last. Sad? Yes. Compelling and interesting? Yes. A real page turner. A great read..

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    Fair

    Not enough "meat" story too long with too many back and forth events. No chapters and no stop between continuous events.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Riveting!

    The title "Untouchable" works on so many levels in this book. A bit slow starting, the story unfolds revealing characters dealing with grief each in their own way. Powerful and visceral writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Jumpy

    Very jumpy, I feel sorry for the kid and the characters seemed ok, but the story had a hard time keeping my attention. I am definately glad this was a freebie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 3, 2011

    Sad story

    I thought this book gave good insight into the wake of the chaos that is wrought lives touched by suicide.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 29, 2011

    Well written and suspenseful

    I thought this book was well written and developed a complexity in it's characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Good book

    I really liked this one

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Great book.

    This is a wonderful read. I would recomend this to everyone who needs something new to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Good read

    Like the concept. As a widow with 2 young kids I could relate to so much of this. I look foward to more frim this writer.

    1 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 856 Customer Reviews

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