Category Archives: Celadon Books

Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Title: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Publisher: Celadon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: C

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Hailed as “breathtakingly suspenseful,” Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?


The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is a slow-burning domestic mystery.

Jake Bonner’s life has been in a slow decline since achieving a modicum of success with his first novel. While teaching a creative writing class at an obscure college to make ends meet, Jake’s student Parker Evans eventually reveals the plot of the book he is working on. Jake realizes Parker’s arrogant bragging about his future success is on the mark.  Yet to his knowledge, the book has never been released. With his life continuing its downward spiral, Jake indulges in a bit of internet spying on his former student. Much to his surprise, Parker died not long after they met. In a moment he comes to regrets, Jake appropriates Parker’s storyline and as predicted, the book is a HUGE hit. But when he receives an e-mail accusing him of being a thief, Jake tries to identify who is harassing him before he is publicly disgraced.

Jake has become a defeatist in the years since his first book is published. Although he denies writer’s block is a thing, his latest work in progress has been languishing for many months. Jake turns to on-line editing in addition to teaching, but he eventually has trouble making rent. After “borrowing” Parker’s plot, Jake’s success is a double-edged sword as he fears someone will find out his secret. Just as his life is taking an unexpectedly upward turn, Jake begins receiving the threats he fears will publicly ruin him.

The Plot is an intriguing domestic mystery. Despite a very unique premise, the pacing for the first half of the novel is very slow. Jake gives off a defeated air until he finds success with his pilfered plot. With much to lose if the truth is revealed, he frantically tries to figure out who is targeting him. Astute readers will most likely ascertain the person’s identity long before the increasingly anxious lead protagonist.  Jean Hanff Korelitz brings this unevenly paced domestic mystery to a somewhat disappointing conclusion.

Comments Off on Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Filed under Celadon Books, Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Mystery, Rated C, Review, The Plot

Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

Title: The Whisper Man by Alex North
Publisher: Celadon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window..


The Whisper Man by Alex North is a spine-chilling, atmospheric mystery.

Twenty years ago, the idyllic town of Featherbank was rocked by a series of kidnappings. Detective Inspector Pete Willis is consumed with solving the disappearances of the  five little boys who are missing.  His tenacious investigation eventually leads to the discovery of the bodies of four of the young boys. Local man Frank Carter is arrested and convicted of the murders but he still refuses to divulge the location of his fifth and final victim, Toby Smith. Pete remains convinced Frank was working with an accomplice and he has never given up hoping he will find Toby.

In the present, Featherbank is once again shaken by the disappearance of six year old Neil Spencer. Although not officially working the case, Pete joins Detective Inspector Amanda Beck in the search for the missing boy.  With absolutely no clues or leads, the case soon goes cold. However, after Neil’s mother tells Amanda that Neil heard someone whispering to him before he vanished, Pete is assigned to the investigation. Visiting Frank in prison, Pete hopes the convicted killer will provide information that will help find Neil.  Will Pete finally learn the identity of Frank’s suspected accomplice?

Recently widowed and still grieving, author Tom Kennedy hopes moving to Featherbank will help both him and his seven year old son Jake recover from their loss. Young Jake is a sensitive little boy who enjoys solitary pursuits.  Jake is excited about their new home, but Tom feels an overwhelming sense of dread as they settle into their new lives.  Tom’s fears immediately come to fruition when Jake begins hearing whispers in the night.  Can he prevent his son from becoming The Whisper Man’s next victim?

The Whisper Man is a mesmerizing mystery with an overwhelmingly eerie storyline. Tom’s relationship with Jake is fraught but there is no doubt he fiercely loves his son. Jake is a fascinating little boy who is creative and relies on his imaginary friend to protect him.  With stunning twists, startling turns and a humdinger of a bombshell, Alex North brings this suspenseful mystery to a pulse-pounding conclusion. I  thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this masterfully-plotted, clever novel.

Comments Off on Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

Filed under Alex North, Celadon Books, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Whisper Man