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18 May 2010

Book Review and Tour: Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

Title: Dismantled
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition
Publication Date: May 18, 2010
Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN: 978-0061689345
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
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From the Publisher:

When Henry, Tess, Winnie, and Suz form the Compassionate Dismantlers in college, the first rule of their manifesto is, "To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart." But their penchant for acts of meaningful vandalism and elaborate, often dangerous pranks results in Suz's death in the woods of Vermont—a tragedy the surviving Dismantlers decide to cover up.

Nearly a decade later, Henry and Tess are desperate to forget, but their guilt isn't ready to let them go. When a mysterious Dismantler-style postcard drives a past prank victim to suicide, it sets off a chain of terrifying events that threatens to tear apart their world and engulf their inquisitive nine-year-old daughter, Emma. Is there someone who wants to reveal their secrets? Or is it possible Suz has found a way to enact revenge?

Full of white-knuckle tension with deeply human characters caught in circumstances beyond their control, Jennifer McMahon's enthralling story proves that she is a master at weaving the fear of the supernatural with the stark realities of life.

My Review:

A suicide leading to an investigation that could destroy so many lives is just the beginning of the suspense thriller, Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon. Dismantled equals freedom, or so believed the group of friends, Spencer, Valerie (Winnie), Tess, Henry and Suz, ten years ago when the five college artists formed a group known as The Compassionate Dismantlers, led by Suz. What occurs after their college graduation at the cabin in Vermont remains a mystery that divided the group, except for Tess and Henry DeForge. Fast forward ten years to find Tess and Henry struggling with their marriage and their nine-year-old daughter Emma and her friend Mel decide to get Emma's parents back together by writing to their old college friends. One day Henry and Tess receive a phone call that alters their lives and Emma's imaginary friend Danner, a friend who knows far too much for a typical imaginary friend, further compounds their worries. McMahon interweaves past and present to create a suspenseful and uncertain tone in the novel. While I personally neither related with the characters nor did I find them likeable, I enjoyed the mystery and suspense aspects of the novel, yet I did get tired of the numerous references to coupling. Dismantled is a fast paced novel that keeps the reader fully engaged and guessing until the very last page. I would recommend Dismantled to any adult who enjoys an excellent suspense novel.

About the Author

I was born in 1968 and grew up in my grandmother’s house in suburban Connecticut, where I was convinced a ghost named Virgil lived in the attic. I wrote my first short story in third grade. I graduated with a BA from Goddard College in 1991 and then studied poetry for a year in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College.

A poem turned into a story, which turned into a novel, and I decided to take some time to think about whether I wanted to write poetry or fiction. After bouncing around the country, I wound up back in Vermont, living in a cabin with no electricity, running water, or phone with my partner, Drea, while we built our own house. Over the years, I have been a house painter, farm worker, paste-up artist, Easter Bunny, pizza delivery person, homeless shelter staff member, and counselor for adults and kids with mental illness—I quit my last real job in 2000 to work on writing full-time. In 2004, I gave birth to our daughter, Zella. In 2005, we left the woods (for now), and moved to Barre, Vermont—producer of one-third of all the granite gravestones and mausoleums in the US.

My first novel, Promise Not to Tell, was published in 2007. The follow-up, Island of Lost Girls, was published in 2008, as was my debut young adult novel My Tiki Girl.

Follow the book tour.

I received a complimentary copy of Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.



Melody said...

I've read a lot of great reviews on this, so I definitely look forward to it. :)

Heather said...

Great review! I really liked Promise Not To Tell, so I will have to add this one to my wishlist!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Oh, this certainly sounds intriguing. I love stories with secrets from the past, and having them resurface in suspenseful ways sounds compelling.

Thanks for a great review.

The Lit Witch said...

Sounds like an interesting premise. Thanks for the review.

E.J. Stevens said...

Great review! The premise behind this reminds me of the German film 'The Edukators'. I'll have to check this book out. :)


Carol said...

Sounds like an interesting story. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

trish said...

Glad you liked the suspense part! Interesting that you didn't like the main characters. I wonder if that was intentional on the author's part...

Thanks for being on this tour!