After a mysterious fall from his New York City apartment, Philip Chase has moved back home with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death of her younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much television, rereading a tragic biography, and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis.
But everything changes late one windy February night when Ronnie's high school girlfriend shows up on their doorstep. A sad young woman who still bears the scars of the accident that took Ronnie's life on the night of their prom, Melissa has unexpectedly found hope. She is nine months pregnant. And the father, she claims, is Ronnie.
So begins this startling tale, which moves from one breathless surprise to another as Philip and his mother confront not only Melissa's past but their own. Their desperate search for answers takes them on a poignant and emotional journey, ultimately placing them in the path of murder and revenge.
At once a moving story of redemption and a heart-stopping work of suspense, Strange but True confirms John Searles's place among the most gifted voices of his generation. Beautifully written and charged with a sublime wit, the novel brings to vibrant life a cast of characters that no reader will forget.
As the book title implies, this is a strange tale but one that, if read to the end, is all too credible. The mystery itself is gripping, but what stood out for me are the people in the book; Searles has vested even the most minor of players with full blown characters - so much so that I suspect that long after I'm struggling to recall the title of this book I'll still remember the Polish librarian, the elderly gay landlord, the Mexican waiter and many more. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
San Francisco Chronicle
You know what's coming next, but you don't know all of it. This is the reason we keep reading.
[Searles] shows how mundane events and discoveries can jump-start the spirit and bring us to terms with what and who we are...remarkably true to life.
BookBrowse - Davina
As the book title implies, this is a strange but credible tale. The mystery itself is gripping, but what stood out for me are the people in the book; Searles has vested even the most minor of players with full blown characters - so much so that I suspect that long after I'm struggling to recall the title of this book I'll still remember the Polish librarian, the elderly gay landlord, the Mexican waiter and many more.
Searles crafts a second novel about a family shocked by the loss of a son-and his girlfriend's announcement years later that she is bearing the young man's child. With a seven-city author tour.
...while readers will enjoy traveling to the heart of the mystery, what they'll cherish most in this accomplished novel are its startling real characters, with even the minor players all perfectly crafted. Searle's novel should find a wide and grateful readership.
Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, Lucia
Funny, mysterious and poignant....John Searles has created a novel to reread and treasure.
Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors and Dry
John Searles' novel illuminates the intricate dynamics of families with humor, heart, and truth.
Carolyn Parkhusrt, author of The Dogs of Babel
Imaginative and compelling....John Searles has created a novel that is sometimes eerie, sometimes thrilling, and always completely engaging.
Lisa Scottoline, author of Killer Smile
This is a page-turner with characters you can never forget.
New York Times
This tale has a light, eccentric aspect....You'll race right through it.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Vic D Intriguing Author Recently read this book and loved it. Searles has a writing style that is unique and surprising. His characters draw you into their world. Very refreshing manner of storytelling.
Rated of 5
Excellent book - fast read. Once it hooks you, you can't put it down.
John Searles is the author
of Boy Still Missing and Strange
But True, and the Deputy Editor at
Cosmopolitan where he oversees all book
excerpts and reviews for the magazine. His
essays, articles and reviews have appeared
in the New York Times, the Washington Post
and other national newspapers and magazines.
He lives in New York City.
When asked how he approaches the process of
writing fiction, compared to working on a
magazine he replied, 'Both experiences
are so different. At Cosmo, my work is part
of a huge group effort each...
Filled with laugh-out-loud humor, struggles, triumphs, and plenty of midnight trips to the fridge, Good Grief is a funny, wise, and heartbreakingly poignant novel from one of fiction's freshest and most exciting new voices.
After his younger brother narrowly avoids a serious fall, fifteen-year-old David Case realizes the fragility of life and senses impending doom. He changes his name, assumes a new identity, new clothing and new friends, and dares to fall in love.
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