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Publisher's Summary

With the smart suspense of Emma Donoghue's Room and the atmospheric claustrophobia of Grey Gardens, Catherine Burns' debut novel, The Visitors, explores the complex truths we are able to keep hidden from ourselves and the twisted realities that can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces.

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John, in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her 50s who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John's rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women's laundry in the hamper that isn't hers. For years she's buried the signs of John's devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind - until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: Maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side....

©2017 Catherine Burns (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Story

wasted potential

I really loved and appreciated the literary value here--this book reads, at least for the first several chapters, as--well, what would you call it if it's southern gothic but you're not sure that it's set in the south--suburban gothic, maybe. It reads like Flannery O'Connor, Shirley Jackson, or Donna Tartt--that thick, beautifully overwrought sense of space and time, combined with a creeping sense of dread that you feel but can't name as it just gets darker and darker.

However, the real joy in O'Connor, Jackson, or Tartt is that they reward you--either with a crashing thundering climax, or with continuous character growth, or both--and this one didn't do that. Instead it floundered somewhere between repetitiveness, predictableness, frustration, and--well, just getting grosser and sadder--and, like other reviewers have said, when the climax came, it was too little, too late, and I really just wanted a shower. I'm left with uncomfortable flashbacks that I wish I didn't have, with nothing to ponder or chew on, and I wish I'd read something else.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful, yet creepy insight into deranged minds!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I was taken in by Marion's imagination and her fantasies, and my heart actually went out to her - even when her dark side shows itself. Their mother was poison to these two siblings and it would be very interesting if the author could write another novel from John's perspective. Their father may have contributed to some of the deviance too but he's not mentioned much, so John's thought patterns would be interesting to tap into. (Hint hint Catherine Burns!) John's character truly did not believe he was doing anything wrong. I also liked the hint of the super-natural in this story when it mentioned psychics and the things revealed by them.
Another review said there was porn and unsettling things in this, but there isn't. Nothing is mentioned like that in any detail so if you're squeamish about that type of thing -don't worry! Overall an interesting but tragic story of how some people's minds can get so twisted and detached from reality.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 10-23-17

Excellent writing, So-So Plot

The character development is excellent. Little by little, true evil and coldness unveiled. A woman who lives in her imagination.....For some reason, it's mesmerizing. You are hooked. Except not much happens (which explains why the publisher's plot reveals something that doesn't happen until well into the novel...because there's not much else to describe the plot). And YET, the writing is so good that I will quickly download Ms. Burns' next novel. I couldn't put it down.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Interesting right to the end.

A realistic thriller, definitely worth your credit. So ordinary, so believable. I know people like these characters and so do you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Where was the ending?

I never write reviews yet I rely on others reviews to decide if a book is worth my time and money. There was so much unneeded information on the sister throughout the book. I felt like the author was leading up to something. Then just stopped writing, and gave up on her story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Marion & John Zetland...Pure Evil

I'm going to start with saying that a three, in my book, is a good score. It'd be like a B in school. This book would get a B-, but it is what it is. I can't say that I loved it, but I can't say that I hated it either. I will tell you that you'll find yourself cringing and more during this audiobook.

Marion and John are two of the most wicked characters I've ever read in a book, which is something I love actually. Gillian Flynn's Amy Elliot-Dunne was one of the most amazing characters I've ever read in my life. I will not say that the brother and sister pair are nearly as drawn together and perfected as Amy, but they were VERY intriguing.

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I've had to write, because I don't want to give anything away. I feel like the slightest detail about character might ruin the book for somebody. I definitely don't want to do that. So, I'll leave this short. If you like twisted characters and some crazy unreliable narration... you will love 'The Visitors' by Catherine Burns.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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So mad!

Grotesquery-porn. This is a creepy book about a very passive woman who makes herself be stupid and unaware. Despite some attempt at "psychologyzing" it's very unsatisfying. Keep looking, readers!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Too Dark

Good narration. The premise was interesting but the story jumped around too much for me. It was very dark and depressing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Creeeepy

So weird it makes you wonder about the author. Perfect Twisted psycho read for Halloween

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Haunting and well narrated

I think someone who can enjoy a psychological thriller and is interested in true crime, but cannot handle books with a lot of violence, would like this book. As one can probably glean from the plot summary, it's an extremely disturbing story, even if it's from the point of view of the predator's sister and not the predator himself. I thought the narrator did a great job with all the different characters. But know what you're getting into; I thought it was well written but very unsettling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful