Amazon Best Mystery of 2015
A gripping novel of culture clash and murder: as summer draws to a close, a small Long Island town is gripped by a series of mysterious deaths—and one young man, a loner taken in by a local, tries to piece together the crimes before his own time runs out.
Orient is an isolated town on the north fork of Long Island, its future as a historic village newly threatened by the arrival of wealthy transplants from Manhattan—many of them artists. One late summer morning, the body of a local caretaker is found in the open water; the same day, a monstrous animal corpse is found on the beach, presumed a casualty from a nearby research lab. With rumors flying, eyes turn to Mills Chevern—a tumbleweed orphan newly arrived in town from the west with no ties and a hazy history. As the deaths continue and fear in town escalates, Mills is enlisted by Beth, an Orient native in retreat from Manhattan, to help her uncover the truth. With the clock ticking, Mills and Beth struggle to find answers, faced with a killer they may not be able to outsmart.
Rich with character and incident, yet deeply suspenseful, Orient marks the emergence of a novelist of enormous talent.
An affluent Long Island town is the setting for secret affairs and multiple murders in Bollen's big and ambitious second novel (after Lightning People). The catalyst for all of these misdeeds is a young "foster-care kid" named Mills Chevern, who finds a surrogate mother in Beth Shepherd, lifelong resident and failed artist. When local handyman Jeff Trader washes up on shore with a rope around his neck, foul play is suspected. Adding fuel to the fire is a big creepy creature, resembling a whale but black and disfigured so as to be unrecognizable, found on a beach. Locals connect these events to suspected nefarious doings by the Orient Historical Board and a nearby chemical plant. Wealthy dowager Magdalena convinces Beth to check out Jeff's place for evidence of murder; when she visits the old woman to report what she's found, she learns that Magdalena is dead. Beth begins investigating in earnest, with Mills as her wingman. Bollen is at his best when incisively depicting the self-delusions and prejudices of this remote community. Though packed with plot, this expansive novel falls a bit flat when all's said and done.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I highly recommend this book. This author writes so incredibly well. I was completely blown away with how Christopher Bollen describes even the most simple of objects. His use of the written word is rich, colorful, creative, intense, vivid and at times very suspenseful. The characters are fully developed and the story is excellent. Loved it.
Disgusting - a terrible read.
A debauched book about very much of nothing. Besides the blowjobs and other depravity it is not possible to say anything good. It took me weeks to get less than halfway and I’ve given up. I’ll never read another Christopher bolden book. First time ever I’ve put a book down in disgust when only half way through.