The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW Meta murder mystery mayhem

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The Man From Primrose Lane book review : Meta murder mystery mayhem.

Some books are a pain to review. The Man From Primrose Lane is such a book. 99% of the pleasure of reading it is discovering the swerve-balls and twists it has to throw your way. They start about a chapter in, and don’t let-up until the final page, which has you turning back hurriedly to the start to go, “Ah-haaaa!”

About three chapters in, you may think you’ve got it sussed. You’re probably wrong. You’ll definitely reassess your beliefs after the first “interlude” and the unexpected appearance of a giant frog.

It starts with the murder of the Man From Primrose Lane (as the locals call him), a recluse with a love of mittens, living in Ohio. This piques the interest of one-time investigative reporter (and now pretty much a depressive recluse himself) David Neff. Then things get really strange, really quickly.

Written by a real-life investigative journalist with a clear love of Stephen King and movie in-jokes, the book is certainly engrossing, entertainingly complex and worth a read. On the other hand, it’s so plot-lead that the characters feel like mere pawns, with any traits they may have merely being handy for the narrative, and the revelations occasionally feel less satisfying than the set-up.

It’s enjoyable guff while you’re reading, but ultimately you may feel like it’s a lot of impressive smoke and mirrors, disguising a plot that actually you’ve seen or read a number of time before.

Dave Golder

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Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.