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The Ruins: A Novelby Scott Smith
"There are not a lot of novels suspenseful enough to induce true movie-style nail biting, that demand to be read down to every last word. There are even fewer that feature real people, fully and intelligently drawn. Scott Smith's The Ruins, cinematic and possessed of a firm grip, is such a novel....Smith is a thorough, unfussy writer. Even when the action is heavy he shifts point of view, looks into the thoughts and memories and resentments of every character." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
Eerie, terrifying, unputdownable — Scott Smith's first novel since his best-selling A Simple Plan ("Simply the best suspense novel of this year — hell, of the 1990s." — Stephen King). The Ruins follows two American couples, just out of college, enjoying a pleasant, lazy beach holiday together in Mexico as, on an impulse, they go off with newfound friends in search of one of their group — the young German, who, in pursuit of a girl, has headed for the remote Mayan ruins, site of a fabled archeological dig.
This is what happens from the moment the searchers — moving into the wild interior — begin to suspect that there is an insidious, horrific "other" among them...
"At long last, Smith follows up his bestselling first novel, A Simple Plan (1993), the film of which received an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, with a stunning horror thriller. Four American friends on vacation in Cancn, Mexico — Jeff, Amy, Eric and Stacy — meet a German tourist, Mathias, who persuades them to join his hunt for his younger brother, Henrich, last seen headed off with a new girlfriend toward some ruins. The four soon regret their impulsive decision after they find themselves lost in the jungle and freaked out by signs that they're headed for danger. Smith builds suspense through the slow accretion of telling details, until a deadly menace starts taking its toll, leaving the survivors increasingly at each other's throats. While admirers of such classic genre writers as John Wyndham or Algernon Blackwood may find the horror less suggestive than they might wish, the eerie atmosphere and compelling plot should appeal to fans of ABC's hit TV series Lost, who will help propel this page-turner up bestseller lists. Ben Stiller's production company has bought film rights. 100,000 first printing. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The book of the summer....There are no chapters and no cutaways — The Ruins is your basic long scream of horror. It does for Mexican vacations what Jaws did for New England beaches in 1975." Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
"It has been 13 years since...A Simple Plan rocked best-seller lists. Now he's back with a story so scary you may never want to go on vacation, or dig around in your garden, again....If you love ABC's Lost and the novels of King and Thomas Harris, you'll love this book." Carol Memmott, USA Today
"Once again, Smith deftly explores psychological tension and insidious fears. Fans of Alex Garland's The Beach and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park won't put be able to put this one down. A perfect beach read; just don't stray too far from the lifeguard." Library Journal
"The Ruins is an old-fashioned horror story...and it's the invasive, intuitive killer that provides the ice-water dread....It's Thomas Harris meets Poe in a decidedly timely story: Smith has...given us a decidedly organic nightmare. (Grade: A-)" Gillian Flynn, Entertainment Weekly
"The Ruins is like all great genre fiction in its irresistible storytelling momentum, but in its lack of mercy, it's more like real life....Scott Smith shows us an aspect of ourselves and of human nature we'd rather not acknowledge. He's such a master, though, that it's impossible to look away." Laura Miller, Salon.com
"[A] mesmerizing but unnerving read, a book hard to shake from your mind....[It] should solidify Smith's reputation as a brilliant practitioner of suspense fiction deepened by unsparing portraits of the psyche under stress." Houston Chronicle
"Smith writes in clear, vivid language with elegant sentences. His style appears straightforward enough, until he throws a curve ball. A subtle threat, an implication, it doesn't have to mean anything, but it could, and it's enough to start you worrying." Baltimore Sun
"One of the most terrifying, creepy, riveting, and yet also annoying, novels that will hit the bookstores this summer....Despite the outdoor setting, The Ruins has a claustrophobic feel, which adds to the palpations of suspense." South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"If character is destiny, the major suspense lies with which one of them, if any, will survive. A compelling set-up and provocative premise, but what should be a page-turner succumbs to a plodding pace." Kirkus Reviews
"The Ruins is a shoe-in for best-selling oddity of 2006: a book that makes readers simultaneously shiver with fright and grin delightfully at the entertaining madness of Smith's weird concoction." Denver Post
"Although the basic premise of this highly literate freak-out may be preposterous, Smith's storytelling is rendered in such forceful, evocative prose that the reader will remain by the campfire until the flames die out." Charlotte Observer
From the author of "A Simple Plan" comes a new novel of unbearable suspense about four friends who slowly come to realize that one unfortunate decision made on their Mexican vacation is leading to an adventure gone horribly wrong.
About the Author
Scott Smith was educated at Dartmouth College and Columbia University. He lives in New York City.
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