The Man from Primrose Lane, by James Renner

The Man from Primrose Lane…Why did I wait so long to read this?

I mean, I know why; it’s because I had it worked up to be too awesome in my brain and I had to chill out a minute. And this was very good, as it was a bit of a different book than I anticipated and I might not have liked it had I read it a month or two ago. But still! I am so glad I finally got around to it!

So baaaasically this story is weird. It looks like it’s going to be a normal mystery story, with a murder and an investigation and some depressing backstory and all that. And it’s a good mystery story, too! There’s a serial killer or two, and a reporter guy who gets his story and his day in court and his eleventy-billion dollar book deal, and a new murder for the reporter guy to write about that turns out to maybe or maybe not be tied to said guy’s wife’s untimely suicide… oh, I like it. Twists and turns and fun stuff. And all the while, Renner is dropping hints about things that are going to happen, and they’re good hints, the kind that let you know the what but not the how and it’s all very intriguing.

Somewhere along the way a sci-fi element pops in and then maybe two-thirds of the way through the book the mystery story is like, I’m outta here, you take over from here, sci-fi story. And it’s an abrupt change with Renner suddenly telling you the how of everything but not the why and the info dump is a bit tedious but once you get back around to the why part it’s pretty fantastic. So… be prepared.

And I suppose I have to admit that part of my love of this novel is that it’s set in my greater hometown area of Northeast Ohio, with cameos from my alma mater and PBL and Coventry and Mac’s Backs and Tommy’s and oh my goodness how soon ’til I can get back to Cleveland? Ahem. I’m not sure how Renner’s love of Akron and Cleveland would translate to a wider audience, but I think at least some of you reading this post (you know who you are) would be interested.

Recommendation: Read this if you’re in the mood for something weird and baffling and possibly not scientifically sound.

Rating: 8/10