Stacey B. (Lancaster, PA)
Rural New England crime novel
Cloudland was an enjoyable pleasure read. Labeled a “crime novel,” its plot is a bit light on gore and heart-racing scenes to be considered a true thriller, but the literary quality, especially in the area of characterization, is more substantial than many titles in this genre. Author Joseph Olshan’s tale of a New England writer and her ties to a presumed serial killer, did keep me guessing, and therefore, turning pages. The rural Vermont setting is an important element from start to finish and the characters who live near protagonist Catherine Winslow seem just as shaped by their remote, but beautiful physical surroundings as they are by their personal histories. Cloudland is a good pick for readers looking for the kind of intelligent suspense that is still light enough to read on a beach or in a bedroom.
Susan S. (Salem, OH)
I enjoyed Cloudland very much..Mr. Olshan transported me to a relatively isolated rural Vermont area where a murder victim is discovered as the snow slowly melts with the season change.. I was instantly taken in by the writing style. The main character is Catherine Winslow and she is the person who discovers the body. She lives alone in that rural area. The tension builds as Catherine begins to piece together clues...This psychological thriller will appeal to men and women who enjoy an involved, more literary work.
Karen J. (Bremerton, WA)
Enjoyable but not memorable.
As a former New Englander, I found the clean uncluttered narrative of Cloudland perfectly matching the rural setting of Vermont in which the serial murders take place. Utilizing a no-frills straightforward narration, the author leads the reader from clue to clue, suspect to suspect until at last the mystery is solved. This is an excellent book to take on a trip – it quickly engages you, easily maintains your interest and if there are distractions it’s no problem picking up where you left off. Perfect reading while waiting for delayed flights at airports. However, although enjoyable, I did not rate this book a 5 as it didn't make my "not to be missed" list.
Betsy R. (Gig Harbor, WA)
Read it in one night
I did find Cloudland compelling as I read it in one evening; however, while it "had me at hello", I did not find the ending very satisfactory or well-done. I think the various characters and their stories were interesting and could have been better developed had the book not been so much a mystery as a literary novel. Still, the writing was good and I would read another book by this author.
Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL)
For me this book was very entertaining and had just the right amount of characters. I don't like having to maintain a roster. The story moved quickly with enough possible twists to keep it interesting. Kept you guessing between several possible murder suspects. Ending was well structured with good detail as to what motivated the murderer and led up to the emotional break. Worth the time. Only once or twice did I start to think "Let's wrap this up". All this AND a pot bellied pig....what more could you ask for.
Lisa H. (Salisbury, MD)
Brrr....Chill out with this psychological tale of suspense
Cloudland is a good psychological suspense novel. Olshan does a wonderful job setting up the story. I could feel the cold and snow, and sense the isolation of Cloudland, the remote village in Vermont where some of the crimes take place. The pacing of the book is slow and deliberate. I felt myself gradually making a path to towards the denouement and going back and forth with who I thought was the killer. The author did an excellent job of building suspense and pulling the reader into the story. I was, however, bothered by some of the dialogue. There were instances when I thought, people just don't talk that way. I found this mainly with the character of Catherine. Despite this, I liked the book overall and will try another Olshan book in the future.
Sue Z. (Mooresville, NC)
Cloudland is beautifully written with evocative and elegant descriptions of the Maine countryside in winter. One can almost smell the air. Where the book fails is in the characters, who are just not fully developed nor are they, or their actions, believable. People do not behave like they do in this book, some being too saintly, some being entirely too sinful or stupid. I found myself wanting to smack some sense into them!