Review: The Man from Primrose Lane

The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel
The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel by James Renner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I understand there’s a need for various sections in the bookstore and library, every once in a while a book comes along that defies you to easily shelve in one particular section or another. In the case, I find myself wishing that there was just a section of the store that was called “Good Books” or “Yes, You Really should Read This One Because It’s Really Worth It.”

Part mystery, part speculative fiction, The Man From Primrose Lane is one of those books that defies easy categorization.

Former journalist and best-selling author David Neff has spent four years cut off from the world, raising his son. After the inexplicable suicide death of his wife, David has lived off the fortune made from his first true crime book, cut off from the world and his family and friends. When David’s publisher approaches him about the strange mystery surrounding the death of The Man From Primrose Lane, David quickly finds himself drawn into a strange world of mystery and obsession–and one that has some very odd overtones and connections to his life and that of his deceased wife.

To say much more about the novel would be to give away far too many of the (extremely well earned) surprises of James Renner’s The Man From Primrose Lane.

Renner effortlessly sets the novel across multiple time periods, doling out clues and vital points across each section and chapter. Like David Neff, you may quickly find yourself getting obsessed with the story unfolding in this book, telling yourself just one more page, one more chapter, one more revelation. It’s one of those books that is over all too soon.

And while there are such moments in the story that may require a huge suspension of disbelief by readers, Renner earns those by planting seeds of what’s coming later early in the story. In many ways, the book reminds me of Fringe with seeds planted in the first season blossoming now in the fourth season. Renner does the same thing, planting those seeds early and then watching them slowly blossom over the course of the novel.

But don’t just take my word for it. Go out and find this book. Read it.

And make sure you stay as SPOILER free as possible on it!

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