- Taschenbuch: 370 Seiten
- Verlag: Head of Zeus Ltd. (30. Januar 2014)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1781859469
- ISBN-13: 978-1781859469
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2,5 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 190.303 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Red 1-2-3 (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 30. Januar 2014
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Mehr über den Autor
'Relentlessly chilling' USA Today. 'A writer of subtlety and brutal toughness.' New York Times. 'Few writers understand the criminal mind as well as Katzenbach.' People.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
John Katzenbach has written eleven previous novels, including What Comes Next, The Traveler, Day of Reckoning, and The Shadow Man. He lives in Western Massachusetts.
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Red 1-2-3 by John Katzenbach is a gripping psychological thriller about a demented killer who targets three women who seemingly have nothing in common other than their strikingly red hair, and how their only hope for surviving this fiendish plan is to turn the predator into the prey.
One was an internist. One was a public middle school teacher. One was a prep school student. They are seventeen, thirty-one and fifty-one. They had little in common, except for one obvious detail: they were all redheads.
Red One was standing by helplessly watching a man die when her letter was delivered. Red Two was dizzy with drugs, alcohol, and despair when her letter was dropped through the mail slot in the front door. Red Three was staring at a failure, thinking that more and far worse failures were awaiting her when her mail arrived. All the letters end, “….I know each of you is lost in the woods…you have been selected to die.”
A demented novelist, a writer of thrillers who is also a killer, decides to write himself into history by performing a perfect set of murders. Will he succeed? The killer had stalked and studied them for months. He thought he knew them all. But what he didn’t bargain for was for Karen, Sarah, and Jordan to join forces and turn him into prey. Red 1-2-3 is a thrilling piece of crime fiction. If you loved John Katzenbach’s earlier novels, this one is not to be missed.
The nub of the matter is: His recent books, including this one, are not as good as those books. But they are not bad books. I've read every one of them and each is an entertaining, escapist read which I completely enjoyed. However, if someone asked me what to read first with this author, I would write down the four titles I just listed in the prior paragraph, not this one. This is what you read after you've read his earlier great books. There are very few authors who are able to maintain the same quality of work for decade after decade. So he is not alone in his work being less than it once was.
This plot concerns three red haired women from diverse backgrounds who are selected by a serial killer to be his next victims. He sees them as Red Riding Hood 1, 2 and 3. They see him as the Big Bad Wolf. He tells them that he is coming to kill them. He first sends them letters and then begins escalating his activities with each of them. Can they outwit the Big Bad Wolf? In a nutshell, that is this book.
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Each Red receives a letter in the mail that begins with the opening of Little Red Riding Hood and ends with "You have been selected to die." One Red is a lonely doctor who performs remarkably unfunny standup comedy routines as a hobby. One is a former teacher and current lush whose husband and daughter died in an accident. The third is an angry high school student. They could form a support group for distressed redheads (which is sort of what they do). The would-be killer, of course, is the Big Bad Wolf. His wife, who is blissfully ignorant of her husband's hobby during most of their marriage (or perhaps she's willfully stupid), is Mrs. Big Bad Wolf.
John Katzenbach creates a strong psychological profile of the killer, making him a more substantial character than any of the Reds, who tend to be stereotypes. The sullen teenager is the most competent of the three Reds, but her notion of how to deal with an anonymous letter is an eye-roller. The simplest solution would be for each intended victim to change her hair color, thus screwing up the killer's theme and perhaps sending the killer in search of a new plan, but that never occurs to them. They instead contrive a plan that only the looniest residents of Thrillerworld would attempt. I guess going to the police (only one of the three does so, and only once) would be less interesting but it would certainly be more sensible than the plan the Reds hatch. Fortunately, they aren't dealing with a killer or is particularly energetic or even particularly bright. He is convinced that the police will not connect the three killings as long as he commits each murder in a different way. Even if he had not sent each Red a threatening letter and You Tube video, would the police really not connect the apparently unmotivated slayings of three redheads in the same city at roughly the same time?
Unfortunately, this is a thriller without many thrills. For most of the novel, the plot lacks action and builds little tension. I spent quite a bit of my reading time wondering when the killer would get out of his writing chair and actually kill someone. You know the story is getting dull when you start rooting for the killer just so something will happen. The ending is a huge anti-climax. Despite Katzenbach's fluid writing and the novel's interesting premise, the story didn't grab me. The fundamental problems is that Katzenbach didn't make me care what happened to the redheads. That's a serious interest-killer in a novel that pits intended victims against a serial killer.
Katzenbach is the very talented writer who brought us "In The Heat Of The Summer" and "Hart's War" (among other books), making this an even greater disappointment. When I saw it in the bookstore, I eagerly snatched it up. Unfortunately, it was so bad I finally gave up on it completely a bit over halfway through.
It's supposed to be a riff on the Red Riding Hood fable. I'm not seeing it, other than three women who share the trait of having red hair are targeted as victims by a nutcase serial killer who calls himself the Big Bad Wolf.
The problems of this book are legion, the most egregious of which is that it's just plain flat-out boring.
The three potential victims - who band together to try to defeat their intended murderer - are women whose lives have reached junctures at which they feel generally hopeless, and a lot of time is spent describing their back stories and circumstances. I didn't feel in any way engaged at all with any of them. They were boring and mundane people. Frankly, I couldn't have cared less.
The killer is a guy on the cusp of geezerdom who feels like he wants to recapture the "glory" of his youth as a successful serial killer/author (he was a published author who wrote "fiction" books that were actually recountings of his early kills), as well as the anonymous notoriety he savored as a serial killer at large.
To sum up: boring characters, plodding pacing, silly plot, no dramatic tension ever builds up.
On the plus side: the font was easy to read, and if I ever want to start a fire in my fireplace and run out of kindling, I now have plenty of scrap paper on hand.
RED 1-2-3 presents a somewhat unique antagonist, an everyman of sorts who is nondescript in every way except for two: he is, or was, a thriller novelist of somewhat modest renown, and he is a killer. He has neither written a book nor murdered anyone for several years, but is about to make up for lost time in the small New England town where he has been quietly residing with his unsuspecting wife as they both make the transition from late middle age to seasoned citizen. Calling himself the “Big Bad Wolf,” or “BBW,” the author has sent anonymous letters to three women advising each of them that he is about to kill them. The only thing that the ladies have in common, other than the untoward attention of the BBW, is the red color of their hair. They are otherwise quite different from one another.
The first is a physician, divorced and comfortably single in her 50s. The second is widowed and in her mid-30s, a former teacher whose life was devastated by a sudden tragedy that left her alone and isolated, on a slow but inevitable course of self-destruction. The third is a high school senior at an exclusive prep school, a poor little rich girl who is caught in the not-so-friendly crossfire of her parents’ pending divorce. Each is terrified by the receipt of her respective letter, though they react in different ways. Their common thread is that they feel isolated and alone in their terror.
When the BBW contacts each of them a second time, he makes a small mistake, one that involves not so much underestimating the ability of one of his potential victims as failing to take into account the full measure of her abilities. I don’t want to give this portion of the book away because it is such a quietly ingenious tipping point here; suffice to say that the BBW’s error enables the women to ever-so-slowly begin to turn the tables on their tormentor, even as they worry that the steps taken will be too little and too late, that he will strike at them before they are able to discover who and what the BBW is and save their own lives while bringing justice to his.
There are several different ways that RED 1-2-3 could have ended, and Katzenbach leaves the reader hanging until almost the end of the book to discover upon which potential branch of the story tree the conclusion will hang. This is indeed an edge-of-your-seat thriller, in many ways one of Katzenbach’s best works to date. You will want to clear the deck in order to read it in one sitting.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub