Monday, July 19, 2010

Blog Tour and Book Review #49: THE REMAINS by Vincent Zandri

Pub. Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780982770504
ISBN: 0982770502

Description (from the publisher):
Thirty years ago, teenager Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm. They were held inside that house for three horrifying hours, until making their daring escape.

Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead.

Now, it’s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year.

But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He’s back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.

My rating:  4 out of 5 Stars -- a thrilling thriller!

My thoughts:  I love a good thriller. You know what I mean -- the kind you can't put down. The ones where you keep saying "Just one more chapter . . ." while the the bath overflows, the roast cooks to stone, the sun sinks lower and lower, and the moon starts to rise. And the next day at work you're all bleary eyed and bored -- but the killer has been caught, the heroine is safe, and all is right with the world again. My problem is that as I've gotten older and more experienced, it's harder to find stories that provide that old "thrill." In an effort to hold readers' interests, some authors keep upping the ante by divising increasingly gory, sadistic, and ridiculously complex tortures for their victims to suffer. I say, Give me a break! When I read a thriller, I want a good, believable story -- a protagonist who is intelligent but nonetheless vulnerable; a villian who is cleverly malicious but not maniacally insane. I like a story that I think could actually happen. What I want is a good cat and mouse game where the mouse ultimately bells the cat.

I found such a story with THE REMAINS by Vincent Zandri. There may not be much in the story description that sets it apart from run-of-the-mill thrillers, but it is solidly written with interesting and plausible characters and a story line that kept me flipping through the pages late into the night. I liked Rebecca, the heroine, and found her backstory to be fascinating and believable. As a young teenager, she and her twin sister were abused and traumatized when they were trapped in an isolated and abandoned house for several hours by a serial killer. Thirty years later, her twin has passed away from cancer, her marriage has failed, and her career as an artist is flatlining. The girls never told anyone about their ordeal and so Rebecca still suffers the reprecussions of that terrifying experience, making her all the more vulnerable.

When she begins receiving mysterious text messages, Rebecca finally begins to connect with her ex-husband in a way she never could while they were married. She also receives help and support from her childhood neighbors, an artistic savant, Francis, and his mother. Turns out that Francis knows more about the danger Rebecca is facing than he's able to verbalize. With Francis, Zandri has created a fascinating and sympathetic portrait of an autistic adult.

I totally enjoyed THE REMAINS and plan to read more of Mr. Zandri's novels. Of course, I fully expected Rebecca to survive, but wondering who else would make it out alive -- and how -- kept me completely focused to the last page.  If you like a good thriller, THE REMAINS is a highly entertaining read.  Just start it early on a day you have nothing else to do - you won't get anything else done anyway!
The paperback version of THE REMAINS won't be released until the fall, but you can purchase the Kindle version for $2.99 by clicking here.

Click here for a special excerpt and to view the trailer.

Click here to visit the author's website.

Thank you to Dorothy at
for organizing this tour and supplying my review copy. 


Zibilee said...

I am not much for thrillers, but you make this one sound so good that I am going to be clicking on your link right away! I love the fact that this books is not too predictable and that it has such an intriguing storyline. Thanks for the great review!

bermudaonion said...

Oh my goodness, I love books that keep my flipping the pages like that!

Staci said...

I so loved your review and this sounds like a thrill ride!

Julie P said...

Great review! Thanks for sharing.....

Tea said...

Hi Vincent,

Just here to add my support. Sorry I'm late. The book, I bet, is magnificent.