The Man from Primrose Lane - James Renner

Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Synopsis: In West Akron, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known only as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day in 2008, someone murdered him. Four years later, David Neff is a broken man. The bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, Neff went into exile after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. That is, until an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens.” Soon Neff finds himself drawn back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. But the closer he gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both his beloved wife and the old hermit.


Review: Erm. This book is.... difficult to review, and not just because I don't want to spoil it, but because I'm not sure if it should actually be spoiled. Most of this review is not going to be about the actual book, but about why it's a difficult one to recommend or choose to pick up.

So, there is a facet of this book which divides readers greatly. There are two camps - those who know said facet going in, like myself, and those who have no clue. The former seem more able to guess the twists - I certainly was, and I wound up feeling like the book was too long, overwritten, and took way too much time to introduce the facet I knew was coming. The latter have no idea what to expect, and they get caught up in the initial facet they are presented with, only to be absolutely gutted that what was a great book up to that point stopped being as good. I think the opposite - I think it only hit it's stride when said facet was introduced. A lot of people come away from this book very confused, not sure what they've just read, and others feel betrayed by the additional facet.

So it seems there's really no winning with this book, and that's why I'm giving it four stars. I did love it, I loved the concept, the writing was great, the characters were great, the additional facet was superb, if a little overwritten and granted the ending was a tad underwhelming, but overall a very enjoyable read, let down by the fact that regardless of whether you know what you're getting or not, only a very small portion of people are going to be happy with the entire novel.

Rating: 4/5 

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