The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner
A Novel

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Synopsis

A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel

In West Akron, Ohio, 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 as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him.

Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens,” David decides to investigate. What he finds draws him back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. And the closer David 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 the old hermit and his beloved wife.

Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner’s The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious debut that boasts as many twists as a roller coaster. But beneath its turns, it’s a spellbinding story about our obsessions: the dangerous sway they have over us and the fates of those we love.


 

About James Renner

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James Renner is the author of two books of nonfiction that detail his adventures in investigative journalism: Amy: My Search for Her Killer and The Serial Killer’s Apprentice. His work has been featured in Best American Crime Reporting and Best Creative Nonfiction. He lives in Ohio.
 
Published February 28, 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books. 381 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Man from Primrose Lane

Kirkus Reviews

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Four years pass and David’s publisher presses him to write another true crime story, this one about the eponymous Man: an Akron recluse, identity a mystery, found murdered in his home.

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Publishers Weekly

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Set in the near future, this ambitious, genre-bending debut novel from investigative reporter Renner (Amy: My Search for Her Killer) opens with the brutal torture and killing of an elderly hermit, kno

Dec 31 2011 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Publishers Weekly

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Set in the near future, this ambitious, genre-bending debut novel from investigative reporter Renner (Amy: My Search for Her Killer) opens with the brutal torture and killing of an elderly hermit, known as “the Man with a Thousand Mittens” (because he wore mittens in the summer), in West Akro...

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Kirkus Reviews

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On the other side of that coin, I’m also certain that many readers of James Renner's The Man From Primrose Lane will wonder just what hit them when this traditional-seeming murder mystery transitions into a time-travelling, theoretical physics–crazed, multiverse-spanning work of science fiction (...

Sep 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

New York Journal of Books

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“To say James Renner’s fictional debut is a lofty undertaking given all that it encompasses would be an understatement. Mr. Renner’s prose is unceasingly skilled and his abilities are seemingly limitless. In the immortal words of Dan Patrick, ‘You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him.’”

Feb 28 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Huffington Post

"The Man From Primrose Lane" (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG) by James Renner: In 2008, an eccentric, reclusive old man known only as the Man from Primrose Lane is murdered in his home in West Akron, Ohio.

Mar 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Macleans

The investigation forces Neff to wrestle with his wife’s death, her sister’s long-unsolved disappearance, and his own tortured self, in a way that forces him, and the reader, to make a tremendous leap of faith, one that moves Renner’s book from a moving meditation on love, crime, fatherhood and m...

Apr 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

SF Signal

And unlike most books, where you can flip back through the linear narrative to refresh your memory, trying to find earlier passages – with the way the book jumps through time – was tough.

Mar 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Bookmarks Magazine

And the closer David 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 the old hermit and his beloved wife.Deviously plotted and full of d...

Mar 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Starburst Magazine

We're all for authors springing surprises, but in this case the transition is so abrupt it feels like you've been the victim of a bizarre binding error, with the first half of one book slapped onto the second half of another.

Oct 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

The Booksellers New Zealand blog

Reviewed by Emma McCleary, Web Editor at Booksellers NZ The Man from Primrose Rose This entry was posted in Book review and tagged crime thriller, James Renner, Text Publishing, The Man from Primrose Lane by booksellersnz.

Apr 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

SFX

It’s enjoyable guff while you’re reading, but ultimately you may feel like it’s a lot of impressive smoke and mirrors, disguising a plot that actually you’ve seen or read a number of time before.

Jan 11 2013 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Scoop

(I should say, too, that I am not a seasoned crime fiction reader and I am a little squeamish, so I found some of the more grisly elements of the book hard to read and wasn’t thrilled about some of the extremely dark imagery in my head, but I understand that kind of imagery goes with the territor...

Jun 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

The Evening Sun

In 2008, an eccentric, reclusive old man known only as the Man from Primrose Lane is murdered in his home in West Akron, Ohio.

Mar 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

An eccentric recluse is murdered, and true-crime author David Neff, whose wife recently committed suicide, investigates the crime, taking

Jun 01 2013 | Read Full Review of The Man from Primrose Lane: A...

Reader Rating for The Man from Primrose Lane
71%

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