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Douglas Kennedy

The Woman in the Fifth

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Harry Ricks is a man who has lost everything.He arrives in the French captial in the bleak midwinter, and ends up having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. But their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events, and soon Harry finds himself in a nightmare from which there is no easy escape.

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Harry Ricks is a man who has lost everything.He arrives in the French captial in the bleak midwinter, and ends up having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. But their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events, and soon Harry finds himself in a nightmare from which there is no easy escape.Harry Ricks is a man who has lost everything. A romantic mistake at the small American college where he used to teach has cost him his job, his marriage and his relationship with his only child. And when the ensuing scandal threatens to completely destroy him, he votes with his feet and flees . . . to Paris. He arrives in the French capital in the bleak midwinter, where a series of accidental encounters lands him in a grubby room in a grubby quarter, and a job as a nightwatchman for a sinister operation. Just when Harry begins to think that he has hit rock bottom, romance enters his life. Her name is Margit - an elegant, cultivated Hungarian émigré, long resident in Paris - widowed and, like Harry, alone. But though Harry is soon smitten with her, Margit keeps her distance. She will only see him at her apartment in the fifth arrondissement for a few hours twice a week, and remains guarded about her work, her past, her life. However, Harry's frustrations with her reticence are soon overshadowed by an ever-growing preoccupation that a dark force is at work in his life - as punishment begins to be meted out to anyone who has recently done him wrong. Before he knows it, he finds himself of increasing interest to the police and waking up in a nightmare from which there is no easy escape.

Specifications

Publisher
Arrow, Random House UK
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
ENG
Number of Pages
432
Author
Douglas Kennedy
ISBN-13
9780099469254
Publication Date
July, 2008
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.81 x 5.08 x 1.05 Inches
ISBN-10
0099469251

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(3.1)out of 5 stars
5 stars
1
4 stars
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3 stars
5
2 stars
1
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
Many reviewers on othe...
Many reviewers on other sites have not rated this favourably, seemingly because they were existing fans of Kennedy and felt slightly let down by his change of tack towards the supernatural. This being my first Kennedy, I started with no such encumbrances and therefore enjoyed the supernatural element... although I must admit I saw it coming (if this had been the case had I not read previous reviews I couldn't say). I had a certain amount of sympathy for the protaganist, and am not convinced he deserved all he had gone through which had led him to Paris. I found I could relate to the frustration of his situation, and was constantly thinking surely...things can't get worse. I found the plot was fairly tight, given the fact that belief had to be suspended to a certain extent to get any enjoyment out of the book at all. I was perfectly satisfied with the ending, but I can see how others may disagree. Left me with a desire to read more of Douglas Kennedy.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(1.0)out of 5 stars
I started this last ni...
I started this last night because it came highly recommended by a friend who said it was a good story and that I'd like the Parisian setting. Normally I choose my books carefully; now it looks like I'm going to have to impose more rigorous controls on my friends' suggestions. She couldn't have been more wrong: here is a book where sadness is always crippling, where sulks are perpetual (p.39), where the characters are so lacking in dimension you can practically see through them. Really, I should have known by the end of the first page that I wasn't going to like it but kept reading because I was familiar with the RER journey into the city and some of the streets and cinemas that Kennedy mentions. I made it to page 44 and realized that life is really too short to waste with rubbish like this. Rarely have I come across bound pages that read so much like a first draft. And check this for editing: "I put my hand over my face, hating myself for that self-pitying remark - and trying to suppress the sob that was wailing up." Strictly speaking, sobs don't wail up, and if they have already wailed it's pretty hard to suppress them. Perhaps what he meant was that his sob was welling up, but if that was his intention why didn't he say it? Then again, maybe I'm the one who's wrong. Maybe I shouldn't be so critical and demanding. After all, Kennedy is a best-selling author. There is obviously a market for stuff like this. And I'm sure my copy will be snapped up when I bring it to Oxfam...
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
Many reviewers on othe...
Many reviewers on other sites have not rated this favourably, seemingly because they were existing fans of Kennedy and felt slightly let down by his change of tack towards the supernatural. This being my first Kennedy, I started with no such encumbrances and therefore enjoyed the supernatural element... although I must admit I saw it coming (if this had been the case had I not read previous reviews I couldn't say). I had a certain amount of sympathy for the protaganist, and am not convinced he deserved all he had gone through which had led him to Paris. I found I could relate to the frustration of his situation, and was constantly thinking surely...things can't get worse. I found the plot was fairly tight, given the fact that belief had to be suspended to a certain extent to get any enjoyment out of the book at all. I was perfectly satisfied with the ending, but I can see how others may disagree. Left me with a desire to read more of Douglas Kennedy.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(1.0)out of 5 stars
I started this last ni...
I started this last night because it came highly recommended by a friend who said it was a good story and that I'd like the Parisian setting. Normally I choose my books carefully; now it looks like I'm going to have to impose more rigorous controls on my friends' suggestions. She couldn't have been more wrong: here is a book where sadness is always crippling, where sulks are perpetual (p.39), where the characters are so lacking in dimension you can practically see through them. Really, I should have known by the end of the first page that I wasn't going to like it but kept reading because I was familiar with the RER journey into the city and some of the streets and cinemas that Kennedy mentions. I made it to page 44 and realized that life is really too short to waste with rubbish like this. Rarely have I come across bound pages that read so much like a first draft. And check this for editing: "I put my hand over my face, hating myself for that self-pitying remark - and trying to suppress the sob that was wailing up." Strictly speaking, sobs don't wail up, and if they have already wailed it's pretty hard to suppress them. Perhaps what he meant was that his sob was welling up, but if that was his intention why didn't he say it? Then again, maybe I'm the one who's wrong. Maybe I shouldn't be so critical and demanding. After all, Kennedy is a best-selling author. There is obviously a market for stuff like this. And I'm sure my copy will be snapped up when I bring it to Oxfam...
Many reviewers on other sites have not rated this favourably, seemingly because they were existing fans of Kennedy and felt slightly let down by his change of tack towards the supernatural. This being my first Kennedy, I started with no such encumbrances and therefore enjoyed the supernatural element... although I must admit I saw it coming (if this had been the case had I not read previous reviews I couldn't say). I had a certain amount of sympathy for the protaganist, and am not convinced he deserved all he had gone through which had led him to Paris. I found I could relate to the frustration of his situation, and was constantly thinking surely...things can't get worse. I found the plot was fairly tight, given the fact that belief had to be suspended to a certain extent to get any enjoyment out of the book at all. I was perfectly satisfied with the ending, but I can see how others may disagree. Left me with a desire to read more of Douglas Kennedy.
I started this last night because it came highly recommended by a friend who said it was a good story and that I'd like the Parisian setting. Normally I choose my books carefully; now it looks like I'm going to have to impose more rigorous controls on my friends' suggestions. She couldn't have been more wrong: here is a book where sadness is always crippling, where sulks are perpetual (p.39), where the characters are so lacking in dimension you can practically see through them. Really, I should have known by the end of the first page that I wasn't going to like it but kept reading because I was familiar with the RER journey into the city and some of the streets and cinemas that Kennedy mentions. I made it to page 44 and realized that life is really too short to waste with rubbish like this. Rarely have I come across bound pages that read so much like a first draft. And check this for editing: "I put my hand over my face, hating myself for that self-pitying remark - and trying to suppress the sob that was wailing up." Strictly speaking, sobs don't wail up, and if they have already wailed it's pretty hard to suppress them. Perhaps what he meant was that his sob was welling up, but if that was his intention why didn't he say it? Then again, maybe I'm the one who's wrong. Maybe I shouldn't be so critical and demanding. After all, Kennedy is a best-selling author. There is obviously a market for stuff like this. And I'm sure my copy will be snapped up when I bring it to Oxfam...

Frequent mentions

1-5 of 10 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Starts out subtle and ...

Starts out subtle and becomes immensely creepy as it goes on.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Many reviewers on othe...

Many reviewers on other sites have not rated this favourably, seemingly because they were existing fans of Kennedy and felt slightly let down by his change of tack towards the supernatural. This being my first Kennedy, I started with no such encumbrances and therefore enjoyed the supernatural element... although I must admit I saw it coming (if this had been the case had I not read previous reviews I couldn't say). I had a certain amount of sympathy for the protaganist, and am not convinced he deserved all he had gone through which had led him to Paris. I found I could relate to the frustration of his situation, and was constantly thinking surely...things can't get worse. I found the plot was fairly tight, given the fact that belief had to be suspended to a certain extent to get any enjoyment out of the book at all. I was perfectly satisfied with the ending, but I can see how others may disagree. Left me with a desire to read more of Douglas Kennedy.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

At 386 pages this is q...

At 386 pages this is quite a long read, and I don't remember how it got onto my lists. Someone recommended it somewhere and obviously I thought it sounded interesting. But by page 250 I was beginning to wonder whether I was really all that interested in continuing. Let me tell you about it without giving too much away. The year his life as an American college professor fell apart, Harry Ricks fled to Paris with all his worldly wealth. Arriving in mid-winter he checks into a hotel where he is laid low by some sort of flu and is befriended by the hotel's night porter who helps him find cheap accommodation. He finds a job as a night watchman just watching TV monitors, letting people in and out of the building by pressing a button, and alerting those within to strangers in the alleyway next door. He has no idea what actually happens in the building, is told he doesn't need to know, and is paid on a daily basis, which suits him fine. When he is befriended by Margit, a Hungarian emigre, we learn more about why he left America, as he tells her his story. The man who lives in the room next door to Harry is viciously killed in the toilet they share and Harry becomes an object of police interest. At this point I thought, here we are! Crime fiction at last. What happened next caught me truly unawares and stretched the bounds of credibility. Someone who looks for more woo-woo and para-normal in their reading might be very happy with it, just wasn't really my cup of tea, and no, it's not really crime fiction although at a stretch you could call it a mystery. It's not that its badly written, perhaps it could have done with a bit of pruning, and the story threads themselves were interesting, just that I was expecting something else perhaps.

Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

Unlike some reviewers ...

Unlike some reviewers I liked this, although maybe despite its faults. What engaged me were the settings in Paris, the general style - and the ending which I felt didn't sell out to something more contrived than what had gone before. I must say I didn't really see why the guy had to be a writer - this struck me as padding. I haven't read other books by Kennedy but on this basis would give him a try.

Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

Unlike some reviewers ...

Unlike some reviewers I liked this, although maybe despite its faults. What engaged me were the settings in Paris, the general style - and the ending which I felt didn't sell out to something more contrived than what had gone before. I must say I didn't really see why the guy had to be a writer - this struck me as padding. I haven't read other books by Kennedy but on this basis would give him a try.


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