7.36 Michael Pye Taking Lives

ISBN 13: 9780375402609

Taking Lives

2.93 avg rating
( 252 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780375402609: Taking Lives

A riveting psychological novel about a young serial killer who takes on the identities of his victims.

The first one he didn't really have to kill. The yound college-bound kid had been hit by a car. He was almost, if not already dead when Martin Arkenhout smashed his head with a stone.

With this chilling opening scene, Michael Pye begins a brilliantly daring and suspenseful novel about the fragile borders that define who we are and the hidden desire in each of us to reinvent ourselves. When Arkenhout can no longer maintain the identity of his first victim, he takes another. Then another. He thinks he can live their lives better than they do, and he continues the pattern until he happens to choose the wrong victim and his secret begins to unravel.

We are taken from New York to the Bahamas to Amsterdam, and finally to Portugal, where Arkenhout (now living the life of one Professor Christopher Hart) is eventually tracked down by the story's narrator, John Costa, who is in pursuit of the real Hart because of a theft he committed. Costa has his own set of troubling circumstances: a failing marriage, the slow uncovering of his tormented family history, and a growing desire to leave it all behind by tasting Arkenhout's brand of dangerous freedom.

With exhilarating apeed and psychological suspense, the plot of this extraordinary novel drives to its startling conclusion.

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Review:

Martin Arkenhout, a young student from Holland, is taking a break from his studies to explore the United States and beyond. Tall, skinny, and somewhat unsure of his new surroundings, Arkenhout looks and acts like any other traveler. But this 17-year-old is no innocent abroad. He takes the concept of enriching one's life through travel to a terrifying new level, and gets his kicks from murdering various strangers along the way. What makes these killings even more grotesque is the fact that Arkenhout steals the identities of his victims in an attempt to displace his own persona. This perversity allows him to "invent himself" whenever the urge strikes. Yet one personality is harder to maintain then all the others--that of Professor Christopher Hart, who was an art teacher with a special affection for Dutch art and, apparently, a love for valuable manuscripts. The theft of one such manuscript gained the special attention of a private investigator, John Costa. Martin Arkenhout must now pay his own price for the professor's purported crime, and is hotly pursued across the globe.

Taking Lives is a bizarre masquerade ball where nothing is as it seems, and every character has a hidden past. The final reprise of this deranged dance reaches a brilliant crescendo, and keeps us hanging on until the very last, and very shocking, note. --Naomi Gesinger

From the Back Cover:

"It's a pity Alfred Hitchcock isn't around . . . Dazzling . . . tough as nails, and superbly constructed . . . This is about as good as literary thrillers get."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Pye is a writer with a remarkable eye and a fresh, vigorous style . . . Scenes leap to life . . . Exquisitely rendered."
--Publishers Weekly

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Michael Pye
Published by Knopf (1999)
ISBN 10: 0375402608 ISBN 13: 9780375402609
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