April 23, 2015

Orient Tour: Review

 Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Orient! Today I have my review of the book to share with you! Don't forget to follow the other stops on the tour - check out the schedule at the bottom of this post!

Author: Christopher Bollen
Genre: Mystery/Crime
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Harper  


As summer draws to a close, a Small Long Island town is plagued 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 hamlet on the North Fork of Long Island—a quiet, historic village that swells each summer with vacationers, Manhattan escapees, and wealthy young artists from the city with designs on local real estate. On the last day of summer, a teenage drifter named Mills Chevern arrives in town. Soon after, the village is rocked by a series of unsettling events: the local caretaker is found floating lifeless in the ocean; an elderly neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances; and a monstrous animal corpse is discovered on the beach not far from a research lab often suspected of harboring biological experiments. Before long, other more horrific events plunge the community into a spiral of paranoia. 

As the village struggles to make sense of the wave of violence, anxious eyes settle on the mysterious Mills, a troubled orphan with no family, a hazy history, and unknown intentions. But he finds one friend in Beth, an Orient native in retreat from Manhattan, who is determined to unravel the mystery before the small town devours itself. 

Suffused with tension, rich with character and a haunting sense of lives suspended against an uncertain future, Orient is both a galvanic thriller and a provocative portrait of the dark side of the American dream: an idyllic community where no one is safe. It marks the emergence of a novelist of enormous talent. 

Add to Goodreads badge
Orient is a gripping, fast paced crime mystery that will have readers hooked by the end of the first page. The book is set in Orient - a small town on the North Fork of Long Island. Orient is normally a quiet place with not much happening and barely any violence, until the huge wave of tourists and visitors escaping the big city hits during the summer season. Our main character, Mills Chevern, makes his appearance in Orient on the last day of summer. Not long after his arrival, several suspicious deaths occur and send the town into a frenzy. The strange events aren't even close to being done though, and the violence of them sends the town into full blown panic mode. The people of Orient are searching for answers, so they turn their suspicions on Mills - a teenage drifter who happened to show up in town right before all of these horrible events began. Mills is able to find a friend in Beth - who is determined to solve the mystery before the town completely implodes. Will Beth and Mills be able to figure out what's really going on in Orient? And if they do, will they be able to make it stop?

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this novel after reading the description, but I decided to give it a shot because thrillers/mysteries are a couple of my favorite genres. I had no idea what to expect when I opened the book - but luckily for me, I got a pleasant surprise. The main character of the story - Mills Chevern - is the narrator of the book. If you read any of my reviews of books that use the first person point of view, you know that it's my favorite writing style because of the deep connection the reader is able to form with the narrator. I also think that when a book is told in first person, it can sound almost like the person is telling you the story of what happened. It's more informal and conversational, which makes it incredibly easy to slip into the character's world. That's definitely what happened with me when I started the book. I immediately loved the way Mills tells the story - it's like he's sitting there with you telling you the story or possibly that he wrote it down in a journal or something and you're reading it. The way that Mills talks and how he tells the story of what happened in Orient sucked me into the book before I had even finished the first page of the prologue. The writing is impeccable with lots of attention to detail and vivid descriptions that make it easy to immerse yourself into the world the author created. The book was fast paced, especially once all the strange deaths start happening, but it continued to feel as if it was being told conversationally and at a natural flow. The writing is one of my favorite parts of this novel and I can't express enough how masterfully it's carried out. Not very many people would be able to pull it off, but the author did - and then went above and beyond to create a novel that was hypnotic. 

The characters in the book are well written, including the secondary ones. Some books sort of glaze over these people and give them stereotypical personalities and basically a generic character. Not so in this book though! They each had their own quirky personalities and by the end of the book, I felt as if I knew them personally. Mills, being the main character, is well rounded - and with the book being told from his point of view, the reader gets a close up view of him the entire time. We hear his inner dialogue and thoughts, his reactions to people or situations, as well as his fears, hopes, and anything else that can be learned from this perspective. Like I mentioned, by the end of the book I felt like I knew Mills on a very personal level - to the point where I was beside him during the story and experienced it all with him.

The plot was intricate, detailed, and full of twists and turns that I never saw coming. I love trying to solve the mystery of what's really going on before the characters do, but whenever I thought I was getting close to the truth - a huge twist would come out of nowhere and leave me back at square one. The story was original with a ton of unique aspects and concepts used by the author to make it extraordinary. It's hard to describe the exact way the writing and plot worked together to create such a magnificent piece of literature. It's truly something that you have to experience for yourself. And that's exactly what this book is - an experience - not just a mere story. You won't walk away from it untouched - not everyone will have the same experience obviously, but it's a roller coaster of a mystery that I didn't want to end. This book is without a doubt one of the best mystery novels I've read this year, as well as one of my new favorites. I can't recommend it highly enough - especially to fans of the genre as well as those who enjoy suspense, thrillers, crime stories, or a book that will leave your mind reeling and heart pounding.

Christopher Bollen is an editor at large for Interview magazine. He is the author of the novel Lightning People, and his work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, the Believer, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York. Find out more about Christopher at his website.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, April 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, April 8th: My Bookish Ways
Thursday, April 9th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Friday, April 10th: As I turn the pages
Monday, April 13th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, April 14th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, April 15th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, April 16th: Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Monday, April 20th: The Discerning Reader
Tuesday, April 21st: Books and Things
Wednesday, April 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, April 23rd: A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, April 27th: Open Book Society
Tuesday, April 28th: Kissin Blue Karen
Friday, May 1st: Wordsmithonia

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a great review! It sounds like this book is an unputdownable read - I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for being a part of the tour!