The Dark House

The Dark House

A Novel

Book - 2000
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"Don't you ever wonder about them --
the people around you?"

Who are they, the strangers you pass, the strangers who pass you, at the supermarket, at the mall, on the road? Take that dark Nissan in your rearview mirror. Just another pair of headlights on your stretch of highway, you think.

Now indulge your imagination. Who is he? Where is he headed? A traveling salesman, you'd guess, or maybe a suburbanite going home to his family after a long day at the office. After all, you and he are just a random pair of commuters whose lives have momentarily converged -- right?

You adjust your mirror.

He's still there -- a lone male, late thirties. Rather handsome, acutally. And his eyes are on you. And his eyes are on you. And they stay on you...

Meet Edward Rollins, scion of one of Boston's more notable families. Securely yet unhappily employed at one of the city's finest investment houses, he is a man of means -- and of secrets. What began as a lark, a way of unwinding, has become for Rollins an obsession. Each night, armed with a hand-held tape recorder, he randomly picks a car and follows it to a destination, cataloging the habits and peculiarities of its driver, imagining from those details the sort of life that might have been his.

But one night changes everything. Trailing a car to a remote suburb, Rollins follows it to a mystery involving a vanished heiress, a mystery to which he unwittingly holds the key. In his desperate isolation, he turns to Marj Simmons, a young colleague he barely knows. To find the truth, they must unlock the secrets of Rollins's own past -- a search that could free him from his own dark house of despair.

A harrowing, tension-riddled literary thriller that echoes the storytelling power of Frederick Busch and Ian McEwan, The Dark House heralds the arrival of a major talent.

Publisher: New York : Harper Collins Publishers, c2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060195601
0060195606
Characteristics: 415 p. ; 25 cm

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Russ_A
Feb 20, 2011

I wanted so much to give this four stars but its hackneyed and predictable ending stopped me. Still, it was a fun read. It's refreshing to have a protagonist who isn't a burned out ex-cop, private eye, or slick defense lawyer. Rollins is a victim of sorts, a rather weird, uptight, stultified preppie a bit past his prime. He has a "hobby" of conducting moving surveillances of total strangers picked at random -- until one of these episodes turns bad. The first half of the book was both unusual and well-written, conveying a spookiness that had me going for quite some time. Although the ending was telegraphed at least 100 pages too early, it was satisfying in its way.

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