Cover Image: The Storm King

The Storm King

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Member Reviews

I love a good mystery thriller, and this hit all the notes that I look for when reading a well written one. I felt that this title reached across genres and blended them well giving us a thought out and cohesive story.
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I thought that this was a rather interesting book.  I have had this one in my review pile for some time but hadn't yet worked it into my reading schedule for one reason or another.  I decided to grab the audio and give it a try.  I was initially drawn to the book by its description and the mysterious cover.  I did enjoy the story and am glad that I finally had the chance to read it.

Nate is at the center of this story and while I liked his character, I was never quite sure if he should be trusted.  We see Nate as both a teenager and an adult.  As an adult, Nate is a pediatric oncologist and a husband and father.  His life seems very upstanding but as I worked my way through the book, it seemed that he had a few things that he might be hiding.

As a child, Nate's family were in an accident at the lake which left his parents and sibling dead.  He grew up with his grandmother after the accident and grew close to a group of friends which included his girlfriend, Lucy Bennett.  This was one of those books that the more you read the more connected the events in the story seemed to become.  Everything seemed to be tied together in one way or another.

As an adult, Nate returns to town when Lucy's remains are found and events from the past are brought to the forefront.  The story did keep me guessing and I was never quite sure which direction things might end up going.  I really liked the way that the story was laid out giving the reader just enough of both the present and the past to really keep the story moving.

I thought that Jon Lindstrom did a fantastic job with the narration.  I believe that this was my first experience with this narration and I have no complaints at all.  He did a wonderful job with all of the character voices and I thought that the dialogue flowed nicely.  He had a very pleasant voice and I thought that he was able to bring a lot of excitement to the story.  I wouldn't hesitate to listen to his work again in the future.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought that this was a well-done mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.  It was interesting to see how interconnected the events in the book were and how everything came together in the end.  I look forward to reading more of Brendan Duffy.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House - Ballantine Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.
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A fantastic book that has just about every genre in it all wrapped up into one great story. Duffy combines suspense, romance, urban legend and the ghosts of the past to weave a story of four friends from when they were teens to adults - culminating in one explosive ending.
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Much as I tried, I couldn't seem to connect with any of the characters in this book. It's certainly well-written, with harrowing descriptions of the impending storm and storms past, and an interesting plot. However, without that connection to the characters, I can't give it more than 3 stars.
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The Storm King by Brendan Duffy
Ballantine Books, 2018
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 391 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Nate McHale returns home to Greystone Lake after years of being away. He has long put the lake town behind him, wishing to forget the painful memories of his past. From the tragic loss of his family, the anger and vengeance that ruled his youth, to his girlfriend who went missing. Only, now the dead body of that girlfriend has been found fourteen years later, and Nate wants answers. Past regrets, a lifetime of secrets, old hurts, and childhood pacts have not been forgotten, even if long buried.

There are a lot of layers to this novel. And I mean a lot. The novel alternates between the past and the present as Nate recalls his past and reveals present day events as they unfold. Lucy’s disappearance has always raised eyebrows, even with the note left behind of her planning to run away. Nate is the prime suspect given his relationship with Lucy and their last encounter before she disappeared. Nate is a complicated character, feared by some and revered by others. Upon his return visit and the discovery of Lucy’s body, the past comes back to haunt Nate and his friends tenfold.

I loved the juxtaposition between the events in the novel and the stormy weather. It seemed fitting too that it was raining much of the time as I read. Author Brendan Duffy has the gift of bringing a book to life—pulling me into the pages of the book and making me feel like I am right there with the characters, forgetting I am reading.

I was kind of taken by surprise by Brendan Duffy’s The Storm King, expecting a more fast paced thriller. What I got was so much more. The characters are well fleshed out, the writing is atmospheric, and the plot a complex web of mystery and suspense, coming of age, and the drama that comes from life and friendships, young and old. While I did race through the pages of The Storm King, I also found myself wanting to slow down to take everything possible in.
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Sins from the past....

Nate is returning to his hometown after 14 years. Sadly, it’s no joyous homecoming. He’s there to attend the funeral of an old girlfriend that vanished right after high school. Can you ever leave the past behind?  

Among his group of friends Nate was known as the Storm King. Together they dished out their own version of vigilante justice through what they termed thunder runs. Their misguided quest was to right any wrongs that they came across. Usually accompanied by a not so healthy dose of teenage mischief. Cross your fingers that you weren’t on the receiving end of their mayhem.

This is a slow build. More than once I considered a DNF.  But, there was always just a little tid-bit that gripped me and kept me turning the pages. This book will appeal to those who like a slower-paced, deliberate suspenseful read.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and Brendan Duffy for an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.
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This is one of those stories that is hard to fit into any one category. It's not your typical thriller, not quite a crime story or a coming of age is all of the above. There is definitely a lot going on in this one with lots of layers and character flaws. Which I like! Got a little befuddled at one point for me, but a really solid story. I would most certainly read more by Mr. Duffy.

**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**
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The McHales of Greystone Lake were driving into the hills for a family picnic. Nate, outfielder for the junior varsity team, hit the game winning triple and was given the game ball. The ball was placed in a basket along with peaches for the picnic. When the car swerved, the baseball became lodged under the brake pedal and the airborne car landed in the lake. Nate was the sole survivor from the family of four. A baseball had destroyed his world. For the next two years, he lived with his grandmother.

Nate McHale experienced a plethora of emotions ranging from survivors guilt, emptiness, agony, and rage. He was the "Boy Who Fell". Bullies converged on him, taunted him and prodded him to react. They were jealous of his "golden boy" status and wanted to bring him down. Nate, assisted by best friends Tom and Johnny, was determined to wreck havoc on "chosen targets" under the cover of storms and hurricanes. Vandalism such as burst pipes, backed-up sewerage, and broken windows were considered to be storm damage. Who could prove otherwise?

"The Night Ship" was once the center of tourism in small town Greystone Lake. The Night Ship was now bankrupt, condemned property. That did not deter Greystone Lake kids from leaving green glow sticks as Halloween offerings to this "shrine". The Night Ship, atmospheric and perhaps haunted, was an awesome place for Nate, Tom, Johnny and Nate's girlfriend Lucy to chill. The friends attend a high school graduation party where things got out of hand. Lucy disappeared. Seemingly, Lucy had run away. Nate leaves Greystone Lake and its memories of death, loss and secrets behind when he heads for college in New York. Fourteen years have passed and Nate never returned home. He has become a successful pediatric oncologist treating his patients and their parents with love and compassion. He is a devoted husband and father.

Nate's happiness and peace of mind become shattered and chaotic when he returns to Greystone Lake to attend the funeral of girlfriend Lucy whose body has been found in the headlands after fourteen years. Nothing good is bringing Nate to his hometown where the "lake returns what it takes". The darkness he left behind will emerge in both old and new ways.

"The Storm King" by Brendan Duffy is an atmospheric mystery and thriller. The characters, although well fleshed out, were not very likable to me. Many of the principals did not seem redeemable. Too many occurrences were swept under the rug. Why were the so-called pranks not considered to be crimes and followed up? The happenings in this small town were too "stormy" for this reader's taste.

Thank you Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Storm King".
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This is the second book from this author I've read, and I will continue to read his stories. I got through the book in two days. It does jump back and forth in time with the main character, from teen years back to adulthood, as well as town history. The book was mystery/suspense but with lots of character development. I really liked it and I think its worth a read.
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A blend of suspense, horror, coming of age.  Highly recommended for fans of the Netflix series “Bloodline”, since this somehow reminds me of the show.
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It's very hard to classify The Storm King as it encompasses so many genres; coming-of-age, murder mystery, suspense, this book covers them all. Duffy does an excellent job of melding them all together through characters so rich and full they seem as if they could walk off the page, and through his superb ability to set the atmosphere. Put it all together and you have a mesmerizing read.

Nate McHale shouldn't be alive. His family was driving home from his JV baseball game when they were run off the road by a drunk driver. The car flew through the air and crashed into Greystone Lake. Nate's parents and his six-year-old brother, Gabe were killed. Somehow, Nate escaped their fate. He lived with his grandmother for the next two years before heading off to college. Now an oncologist in New York, Nate is married and a father. He is happy in his life. Until a body is found in the forests surrounding Greystone Lake, that of his first love, Lucy Bennett.

And so, after fourteen years, Nate returns to Greystone Lake for Lucy's funeral. There he meets up with his childhood friends, Tom, Johnny and Owen. Life has taken them all in different directions, but the past will forever join them. Nate was not always as happy as he is now. Following the deaths of his family, he was consumed with getting revenge on people he thought had wronged him. As a natural leader, Nate had no trouble getting his friends to follow along with his pranks to "even things out". But every action causes ripples and effects that we can't possibly foresee; and as they say, karma is a real bitch!!

Full of atmospheric suspense, this book had me turning pages long into the night.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
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In this atmospheric thriller, Dr. Nate McHale returns to a small town he left many years before, to attend a funeral. As Nate's past mistakes catch up with him, he finds that history is repeating itself in the worst way possible.
Brendan Duffy's characters are evolved and flawed, in a good way. Alternating between the present and the last few years of Nate's high school career, "The Storm King" draws the reader in and holds them by the throat. I deeply enjoyed this immersive novel.
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The Storm King is really the young version of Nate McHale,  a happily married husband, loving father and revered doctor, whose past haunts him. He returns home for the funeral of a long dead girlfriend whose body has been recently discovered. Secrets are revealed as the past unfolds.  A riveting page-turner that will keep you awake at night in more ways than one. Enjoy!
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Nate McHale (a/k/a the Storm King) is now a pediatric oncology surgeon living in NYC with his wife and child. Fourteen years ago he left his life in Greystone Lake behind, but he is now drawn back to this small town to attend the funeral of Lucy Bennett, his old girlfriend whose skeleton has just been found. Nate finds that some of his old friends have been the recent victims of dangerous vandalism, similar to that inflicted on others by Nate and his friends when they were teenagers. 

I started out being interested in this book and was sympathetic towards Nate, who had been orphaned by a car crash when he was young, however the more I got to know of Nate and his idiot crew of vengeance-seeking pranksters the less I cared about what happened to any of them. By the time the book tied together Lucy's death and the current vandal attacks with at least 4 lengthy confessions and increasingly preposterous motives, I was fed up with this book.  The first part wasn't bad, but by the end it was totally unbelievable. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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This was getting a lot of good reviews, but for a mystery/thriller it was too slow and boring for me. Maybe it's a case of "it's me, not you."
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The Storm King is stuffed full of well-written characters, unpredictable plotting, and dynamic pacing.  All of which makes this fascinating novel a book not to be missed.  The writer takes us to the Adirondacks in New York which in and of itself makes the reader twitch with unfamiliarity and timidity.  But the book is not all setting and character.  There is mercurial action, suspense, and drama.  The action takes place in the past as well as in the right now, a feature which makes the book even more interesting and readable.  I like The Storm King and I like Mr. Duffy.  Here is hoping that he has a long and prosperous career.
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Does anyone else have "pet tropes" when it comes to the stories they read and watch? General plots, character types, or relationships that guarantee you're going to pick up a book? One of my pet tropes is when a character with a dark past returns to the place where it all began, only to have all hell break loose. The Storm King fits into that outline perfectly. I spent half of the book trying so hard to love it, to find a redeeming characteristic that would get me past whatever wasn't working in my head.

Then I finally realized why I didn't like it and everything clicked into place, just not as positively as I'd hoped.

Nate McHale, the central figure whose perspective dominates the narrative, is monotonously unlikable. I don't need the main character of every book I read to be a Good Person. In fact, characters who never struggle with doing the right thing are often boring, particularly when playing a central role, because that kind of conviction just isn't realistic to me. Yet for the majority of The Storm King Nate remains a self-centered, callous, and emotionally distant man whose attitude is primarily justified by a childhood tragedy. There is little development of this mindset within the text itself, with most of the variation coming as degrees of anger. The fault with Nate isn't his dark nature; instead, a lack of dynamism until the final 100 pages prevented me from ever feeling invested in him.

The supporting cast fares a bit better, though we hear from them so little in comparison to Nate that it does little to cut through the monotony. By far the most intriguing character is the young woman whose body is found near Greystone Lake. Sidelined by Nate's preoccupation with himself, she functions as barely more than a human guilt trip, another woman whose main contribution to a plot is that she died. It's a forgivable plot device when bolstered by an otherwise outstanding novel, but serves only as another shortcoming here.

I also did not enjoy Duffy's prose and found it littered with sophomoric, and sometimes downright strange, metaphors. Examples include: "There was a menagerie of suffering in the cages of Nate's soul, and this town held all the keys." and "In the carousel of disaster, Nate knew that everyone gets their turn."

Not every attempt ended in disappointment however. Lines like, "The browns of rot and greens of growth shaded the house into the palette of the forest as smoothly as a bird's nest," suggest genuine talent that would benefit from a firmer hand at the editing stage. The feeling of loose editing extends to the book's structure as well. It jumps frenetically between perspectives, time periods, and formats from beginning to end, crossing the line from an engaging variety to sloppiness.

An excellent setting is what works best for The Storm King, which takes place exclusively in a small community in upstate New York. Fringed by woods and abutting an eerie lake, the town's spooky aura only grows as a hurricane barrels up the East Coast. The storm parallels Nate's increasing desperation and rising anger, the rain-heavy clouds and his temper both bursting forth with spectacular energy in the finale. A too-neat ending that brushes away inconvenient loose ends is more in line with the novel's beginning, but for a brief time in the third act Duffy shows off a great knack for thrills. It isn't quite enough to salvage The Storm King, but it just might presage a mystery author on the rise.
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*I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

DNF @ 32%

I did try! 32%??? That is me saying "okay, this isn't terrible writing, I can totally get through this-- eventually I'll care about the outcome" over and over again until I realize I'm wasting my time and I really just don't care how it ends. 

Like I said, I don't think this is badly written. Everything is where it should be and all makes sense. I just wasn't gripped by it. When I read a thriller, I want to feel desperate to know how it ends. When I read a mystery, I want to be guessing along with the MC about who is doing the bad things. Yet, I felt neither of those things. 

Nate is a character I could almost feel myself liking. He has the hints of an anti-hero, especially when we read the chapters that take place in the past. Instead of liking him for his vengeful and vigilante ways of thinking, I honestly just found him to be childish.

Childish, that is literally what my feelings on the characters, the conflict, and everything comes down to. It is like the characters have grown up, but at the same time, haven't. And everything that is happening to them? Karma. 
I could probably vent some more about how I just wanted the characters to grow up, or the police to do other things, but I think I've covered it well enough. 

In the end, this isn't a terrible book. Many people are totally in love with it. I think it just hit me wrong and once I started thinking about how silly all of this was, I couldn't get into it. I might recommend this to some people if they like minor thrillers and small town settings.
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Nate McHale known as  "The Storm King" returns home to Greystone Lake after 14 years. Nate is dreading his return home with so many bad memories of his family's death and his high school friend Lucy's mysterious disappearance. Lucy's body is found and Nate finds himself as the prime suspect of her death.

When Nate returns, he finds that his grandmother and all of his old friends are in danger including himself. The town hasn't cozied up well to Nate's return and the town is playing some pranks on Nate.  Nate is determined to find out who is behind Lucy's death and the mysterious pranks in Greystone. 

The Storm King started out with a bang but unfortunately became too long until the plot was finally revealed. My attention was wavering in and out and I caught myself getting bored. I have read many mystery/thrillers and this one was just ok.. nothing that I would highly remember or recommend. 

Overall, 3 stars on this one for me. 

This was my first read by Brendan Duffy and I am glad that I was able to experience his talent.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group Ballentine for an advanced arc in exchange for an honest review. 
Publication date is 2/6/18
Published on GR: 2/2/18
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Nate "Storm King" McHale returns to his hometown to attend a funeral for his high school girlfriend. The girlfriend that disappeared. The girlfriend whose body was just discovered. Nate is also the prime suspect in Lucy's disappearance...and now death. 

Greystone Lake, the town, is a character in the book. It's the place where Nate reigned terror on everyone and anything. In order to clear his name and find out who hurt Lucy, Nate has to return to her former hangout, The Night Ship...and what he finds will haunt him forever.

ON TOP OF ALL OF THIS....there's a hurricane coming. 

Brendan Duffy has written a thriller of a book with The Storm King. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review.
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