The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith

73%

25 Critic Reviews

The curious result is something like an X-rated Disney movie — extremely graphic scenes of physical violence and mental suffering embedded in a rather sweet adventure story about a damaged man who heals himself by saving a child from a similar fate.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A spectacularly original thriller about a professional torturer who has a strict code, a mysterious past, and a dangerous conviction that he can save the life of an innocent child

Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And in his business—called "information retrieval" by its practitioners—that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market.

Geiger's clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Unlike most of his competitors, Geiger rarely sheds blood, but he does use a variety of techniques—some physical, many psychological—to push his subjects to a point where pain takes a backseat to fear. Because only then will they finally stop lying.

One of Geiger's rules is that he never works with children. So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, unwittingly brings in a client who demands that Geiger interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively. He rescues the boy from his captor, removes him to the safety of his New York City loft, and promises to protect him from further harm. But if Geiger and Harry cannot quickly discover why the client is so desperate to learn the boy's secret, they themselves will become the victims of an utterly ruthless adversary.

Mesmerizing and heart-in-your-throat compelling, The Inquisitor is a completely unique thriller that introduces both an unforgettable protagonist and a major new talent in Mark Allen Smith.

 

About Mark Allen Smith

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Mark Allen Smith is a successful television and documentary film producer and screenwriter. The Inquisitor, featuring the controversial hero known only as  Geiger, is his first novel. Mark's experience investigating features for the acclaimed ABC-TV news magazine program, "20/20," planted the seed for his debut thriller when he was involved with a story dating from the 1970s about the remarkably brutal torture and murder of a 17-year-old in Paraguay, the last true dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.  He was further inspired to action by the shocking death of Lisa Steinberg at the abusive hands of her adoptive father; this event uncorked ongoing interest in the corrosive effect of physical and psychological pressure on children and other innocents.  His journey of research convinced him that the novel was his best way to bring his story to the largest possible audience. A long-time resident of Westchester County, Mark Allen Smith now lives in New York City’s Harlem with his wife, Cathy, and a blended family of six children. He is presently working on the sequel to The Inquisitor, also featuring Geiger.
 
Published April 10, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.. 336 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Inquisitor
All: 25 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Excellent
Dec 01 2011

A breezy, involving thriller that handily overcomes any resistance to its grisly premise and leaves you hoping for the return of its oddly winning hero.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Marilyn Stasio on Apr 20 2012

The curious result is something like an X-rated Disney movie — extremely graphic scenes of physical violence and mental suffering embedded in a rather sweet adventure story about a damaged man who heals himself by saving a child from a similar fate.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by John O'Connell on Apr 13 2012

The result is one of the most original debut thrillers since SJ Watson's Before I Go To Sleep.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Oct 24 2011

This may be the most unusual and talked about thriller of the season.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Bill Sheehan on Apr 01 2012

With unobtrusive skill, Smith transforms this unpalatable material into a swiftly paced narrative as disturbing as it is compelling.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Linda Morefield

The detailed and believable plotting of the first two thirds of the book are abandoned in Part 3 for action that reads like a script outline placed against the literal fireworks of the fourth of July.

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue

The Inquisitor is an absolute delight to read, propulsive and smart and sometimes almost lyrical.

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Mail Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Geoffrey Wansell on Apr 19 2012

Not for the fainthearted, but as compelling, dramatic and moving as a Goya painting when it comes to the depiction of pain.

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Fiction Addict

Excellent
Reviewed by Melody Ballard on May 14 2012

The plot is filled with unanticipated twists and turns, the characters are vivid, and the suspense builds to a crescendo then climaxes to and unsettling end.

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Columbia Daily Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Ginger Stringer on Apr 15 2012

...I found it hard to believe that such smart characters would stoop to using tools that were last common in 1997. It's a small distraction in an otherwise-delightful novel. I'm looking forward to what else Smith has in store for Geiger.

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By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Elizabeth on Apr 18 2012

Readers who enjoy character-driven thrillers full of psychological suspense — along with some brutal scenes that are definitely not for the squeamish — should try The Inquisitor.

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The Gleaner

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeff Ayers on Apr 22 2012

Mark Allen Smith has hit a home run with his first novel, and readers will want more stories involving Geiger.

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Jenn's Bookshelves

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on May 01 2012

Smith provides a truly unique novel in The Inquisitor... Highly recommended.

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Criminal Element

Good
Reviewed by Leigh Neely on Apr 03 2012

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith is the best first novel I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot of books.

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Reader Dad

Good
Reviewed by Matt on Apr 27 2012

It’s a daring concept for a first-time author, but it succeeds due to careful plotting and characters who are immediately engaging and intriguing.

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Kittling: Books

Good
Reviewed by Cathy on Apr 14 2012

Geiger-- the main character in this excellent debut novel-- is one of the best characters I've come across in a long time.

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Backlisted

Below average
Reviewed by Andrew Wilmot on Jan 09 2012

The Inquisitor is at times an uneven experience.

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Jacqui Murray's WordDreams

Good
Reviewed by Jacqui Murray on Mar 16 2012

The action never stops, with just a few inconsistencies at the end, but they are forgiven, lost in the richness of the climax and final surprises.

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Top Mystery Novels

Good
Reviewed by Sharon on Apr 24 2012

The writing is excellent, with a style somewhat reminiscent of Robert Crais — there’s an economy of words, that nonetheless paints a vivid picture.

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Emma Lee's Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Emma Lee on Apr 18 2012

There are flaws then, but they are blemishes that can be wiped from the surface with a spot of polish, not deep gashes that threaten the structure of the novel.

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Our Book Reviews Online

Good
Reviewed by The Mole on Apr 03 2012

Gripping, fast paced, exciting, edge-of-the seat.. it's all there and I loved it! Some of the violence is pretty graphic but necessary - not in any way gratuitous.

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Chapters and Chats

Good
Reviewed by Jodi on Apr 11 2012

Mark Allen Smith has crafted a debut novel that puts him in the big leagues.

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The Hive

Good
Reviewed by Dana Wright on Mar 16 2012

Mesmerizing and heart-in-your-throat compelling, The Inquisitor is a completely unique thriller that introduces both an unforgettable protagonist and a major new talent in Mark Allen Smith.

Read Full Review of The Inquisitor

Backlisted

Below average
Reviewed by Backlisted on Jan 09 2012

In spite of these reservations and a forced, Friday the 13th hand-out-of-the-water climax that falls into slightly comic territory, The Inquisitor is still an exciting page turner...

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Backlisted

Below average
Jan 09 2012

The Inquisitor is at times an uneven experience. While I appreciated the lean and energized narrative, the quick character turns—the willingness to abandon a career so dramatically when ethically challenged—left me feeling winded.

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Reader Rating for The Inquisitor
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 334 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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