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Publisher's Summary

A mind-bending, genre-twisting debut novel. In West Akron, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known only as The the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day in 2008, someone murdered him.

Four years later, David Neff is a broken man. The best-selling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, Neff went into exile after his wife’s inexplicable suicide. That is, until an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens.” Soon Neff finds himself drawn back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. But the closer he gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both his beloved wife and the old hermit.

With a deft and singular blend of suspense, literature, and horror, James Renner's The Man from Primrose Lane boasts as many twists and turns as a roller coaster. It’s a spellbinding journey of redemption and a reflection on the roles of fate, destiny, and obsession when it comes to matters of the heart.

©2012 James Renner (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

The Man from Primrose Lane is a well-told story filled with darkness, horror, humor and surprising tenderness. And that’s just the first part. There is a moment in this novel when the story moves in a way so unexpected I actually had to put it down and catch my breath. Go ahead, see what I mean. I’ll wait here for you.” (Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)
The Man from Primrose Lane is one of those novels that will leave you torn: you’ll want to read it slowly, in order to savor every scene, but you’ll feel compelled to rush through the pages to discover what happens next. With uncommon skill and intelligence, James Renner weaves an intricate story of murder, abduction, and obsessive love. An incredible achievement—beautifully written and dazzlingly plotted, full of well-drawn characters and unexpected twists.” (Harry Dolan, author of Bad Things Happen and Very Bad Men)
The Man from Primrose Lane is a haunting, wickedly clever book. Part Dennis Lehane and part Murakami, the twist of H. P. Lovecraft mixed in gives it a taste like no other. James Renner starts off his fiction career with a bang.” (Jonathan Carroll, author of The Ghost in Love)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Lulu W.
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 07-18-12

Good read, despite, not because of sci fi twist

I never fully settled into this book because I was looking forward to a 'cold crime mystery' read, not a detour into the twilight zone. That said, the writer is clearly talented and while the sci fi angle never quite gelled for me, I was entertained and would try another of the authors efforts.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too much work.

This was a very convoluted book which may have been easier to follow in print.

Through NO fault of the narrator--he was excellent--it was often difficult for me to understand immediately in which time period the story was taking place. There were flashbacks and changes in POV and time travel and an evil cat. There were different versions of the same character. Alternate universes.

Those with weak stomachs be aware that several descrptions of bodily functions were a bit too graphic and detailed. It is ok to say that some character vomits, but I do not really need to know all the contents of it.

I did get to the end of the book after several starts and stops and going back over chapters. As I said, maybe it would have been better to get the print version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Could have been better

Would you try another book from James Renner and/or L. J. Ganser?

Maybe.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting was the mystery aspect about the strange man who wore mittens all of the time.The least interesting was pretty much everything else,which dragged.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

It was alright.No dislikes.

Do you think The Man from Primrose Lane needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It does need a follow-up to explain who the man was and why he turned out the way he did.

Any additional comments?

No.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Kind of a bait and switch

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book starts out as a pretty compelling crime drama then takes a wild left turn into the land of science fiction. It really feels like the author painted himself into a corner with the story and then used the sci-fi twist to get out of it. I wish he would've just stuck with the crime novel.

Would you be willing to try another book from James Renner? Why or why not?

I would. The writing is really good and he tells a compelling story. It's just not the story I thought I was getting/buying.

What didn’t you like about L. J. Ganser’s performance?

As a native of Northeast Ohio, it really bothered me when the reader mispronounced several names. For example, there's an exhibition hall in Cleveland called the International Exposition Center. We call it the I-X (

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I want to go back & read it again for the 1st time

Interestingly convoluted story that is part detective, part sci fi, and part a study in obsession. It is written in a way that is as engaging as it is easy to follow. I even bought it for my kindle so I could keep reading at work.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book!

The narrator was totally amazing taking on so many characters. I wasn't crazy about the time travel concepts but still could not stop listening. If I were reading the book, I would not have put the book down. Very grabbing!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story... quite complicated!

loved it... quite complicated toward the end but we'll thought out. LOVE Renner and his stories

  • Overall

great psych thriller until the time travel started

I was so into it, then they started with the science fiction and time travel element and ruined what was a truly extraordinary book

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great twists and unexpected plot!

It takes a second to get going but then I could hardly keep up. What a great read.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Interesting and entertaining!

Quite the rollercoaster! Interesting premise, with lots of cool twists (which should not be spoiled!).