An eerie debut suspense novel that explores how little one man may know his own brother - and his own mind.
Each of the Maguire brothers has his own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents' garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan's pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger's immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent that are absent from his everyday life.
Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother - and if he has so completely misjudged Roger's mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family and himself?
The Insect Farm is a dramatic psychological thriller about the secrets we keep from those we love most and the extent to which the people closest to us are also the most unknowable. In his astounding debut, Stuart Prebble guides us through haunting twists and jolting discoveries as a startling picture emerges: One of the Maguire brothers is a killer, and the other has no idea.
©2015 Stuart Prebble (P)2015 Hachette Audio
"...The Insect Farm so grabbed me that I couldn't stop reading. This is one of the most original, surprising, and even shocking suspense thrillers that I've come across in a long time." (David Morrell, best-selling author of Inspector of the Deadand Murder as a Fine Art)
"Only rarely do a gripping psychological crime story and a literary writer's insight and masterful style coincide. But The Insect Farm has that distinction." (Jeffery Deaver, best-selling author of Solitude Creek)
"Chilling and suspenseful, rich and human." (Lee Child, number-one best-selling author of Personal)
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Throughout this story I experienced a sense of foreboding, knowing from the prologue that something dark had happened, but with none of the details. The story is told in retrospective by the younger brother, Jonathan, who relates his life, especially in regards to his relationship with his older but mentally handicapped brother Roger, and his love for Harriet. The narrative takes its time, telling anecdotal stories of their childhood, teen years and young adult years with details that on the surface may seem insignificant, but successfully painting a picture of each character so we feel we know them in a reasonably intimate way. When unexpected and unexplainable events happen, we begin to doubt, or at least wonder if our perceptions of the three principal characters are true. This is where the foreboding builds, as it becomes clear that the ship is heading for the iceberg and nothing can turn the boat around.
What makes this story compulsively readable to me is the quality of the writing. As Jonathan tells his story, there is a ring of authenticity in the emotions that drive the actions. You can’t approve of everything he does, and the characters are shown with all their flaws. But in spite of not finding them fully appealing, I did believe them and sympathized with their plight.
This is not a mystery in the sense of a procedural - it’s more of an intimate confessional that reveals its dark secrets small bits at a time. It kept me guessing and kept me hooked. The reading by Rupert Degas was outstanding, especially as he voiced mentally challenged Roger.
PS – If you are hesitant to select this title because of a distaste for bugs, don’t worry – it’s really not graphic about the insects.
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
I enjoyed this story. It has a little bit of a slow start but the slow start is interesting. The book is a psychological character study (my favorite kind). Not everything is explained, some things are left to interpretation. I like that. However if you are the type of person that likes everything wrapped up in a bow at the end with every T crossed and every I dotted this may not be the book for you.
I am a very difficult to please book reader. Not pleased with the ordinary, and predictable, this book delivers both unpredictable and interesting plot and subject. I did not want it to end, and it has been quite some time I have felt that way!
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
This is a story of brotherly love, of mental illness, of obsession and of sacrifice. Without giving anything away, I would say that the plot and characters are well worth the read.
One brother takes care of another. One brother is obsessed with insects, and one with a woman. How their lives turn out, completely intertwined and interdependent, will hold your interest.
The narrator did an amazing job. The soft inflections in his voice for the woman's character--her reactions--played out so naturally. I don't want to put any spoilers as to why, especially as all characters in the story were very well portrayed.
The complexity behind living the 'normal, every day life' is described so well--appearances are not always what they seem. Stuart Prebble has a talent for creating subtlety within this story that another author might've exploited for shock value. There are moments when the narrator, while trying to maintain composure, conveys this desire for the reader to do the same--and you do. Nicely done.
While I don't like to compare authors (being that reading a story and writing one are two separate things), I'm a fan of Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell, and Stuart Prebble stands right alongside her in the psychological aspect of telling a story.
Blind listener reading everything, especially mystery/thrillers and sf&f. Restricted to audio so picky where credits spent. #BooksRule
This is not a facst paced action packed thriller... It is a very eloquently conceived and intricate mystery... Th slow easy pace works and compels interest... The fraternal component is well done... A few imaginative twists during the last quarter or so of the book are tantalizing and weaved in superbly... The narration is first rate w/ a fitting delivery... It basically comes down to a story of what brothers sill do for one another, often w/o the other brother truly knowing or understanding what one will do to protect the other... Worth the credit, and Worth a re-read after digested the first time... Poetic w/o being sappy...
I was only able to listen to the story in 1-2 hour increments over the span of a few weeks but I found it to be very interesting. It is not a story that has been "over done" and I enjoyed the unique aspect of the story!
The narrator was also very good.
Chick Lit Lover
I loved the big brother character. The narration of him, and the author's description of him was so vivid I could see him in my head.
The ending! I won't spoil it...but I was shocked!
I have not. But I will now.
When the main character left for college and his reaction and his brother's reaction to his leaving. That was very moving.
I can't say too much without giving away the story - but it was an gripping tale!
This book was so well performed and such a great listen, I couldn't put it down. The start is a little slow, but doesn't take very long to become gripped. One of my favorite books I've heard. As another reviewer said don't let the title put you off. I'm so sad I've finished it.
I enjoyed the story, it kept me guessing till the end. I thought Jonathan was a bit of a doofus, and may have brought on his own problems. But the story was interesting and I had no trouble sticking with it. I did like the narrator, well done without overacting.
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