Cover Image: The Pattern Maker

The Pattern Maker

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I could not make myself finish this in spite of making it 3/4 of the way through. I felt as though the story was going nowhere. I could not find a character I understood or cared about. The author obviously knows Pittsburgh, but that was not enough to keep me involved. How the pattern maker could keep leaving home as though he were going to work but never actually returning to his job just gave me a sense of unease. Meanwhile where he did go made no sense. Perhaps the story finally pulls it all together, but I needed to move on.
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I started this book, and it was quite intriguing, but the story was so dark and depressing that honestly, I had to put it down to complete it later. The characterization is well done - I'm curious about the characters and want to learn more about how the characters will end up intersecting. The Pittsburgh area of that period is described in great detail - we can almost smell the smog of the smelters. 

I'll happily come back and update my review once I have the emotional fortitude to read this story. Thank you for the opportunity to NetGalley and the publisher.
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The Pattern Maker doesn't make sewing patterns.  The Pattern Maker isn't a psychologist, studying people, looking for patterns in their behavior or their acquaintances or their families.   No, he works in a steel mill.  One Saturday, he takes off for Pittsburgh, for a change of scene, and finds himself enmeshed in crime and murder.  From start to finish, one surprise after another!

I read this EARC courtesy of Calling Crow Press and Net Galley.  pub date 05/01/20
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Search for Adventure Turns Deadly

Paul Slater, a former Green Beret sniper, now works at the steel mill outside of Pittsburgh as his father and grandfather before him. He has a skilled job as a pattern maker, but it offers little stimulation. He’s married to his high school sweetheart and has two children. In the evenings he attends the men’s clubs around the mill, but on a whim he decides to try the night life in Pittsburgh. 

One day after his work partner tells Paul about the murder of a young woman in a Pittsburgh park, he unaccountably leaves work and heads to Pittsburgh. There he stumbles on a film crew making a movie. He becomes entranced with a young intern, Suzy, and begins to see her. Then the director of the movie and his wife are killed. Suzy is questioned and Paul is pulled into the investigation. 

This book gives beautifully written descriptions of the Philadelphia area. The characters are realistic for the area and the seventies time frame. However, the plot is convoluted. I found it difficult to relate to the diverse characters and follow the several plot lines. 

The book does have somel important themes. Paul’s overriding problem is the boredom of living a predictable life. He also appears to suffer from PTSD. Racism and drug abuse as well as the sexual abuse of women are secondary themes. The surprising violence at the end comes as rather a surprise. 

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
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This is the first Richard Snodgrass book I’ve read, and now I’m a fan. The Patternmaker was set in a small mill town south of Pittsburgh in 1975. Paul Slater, a former Green Beret sniper works in a mill and leads a boring life. Looking for some kind of change, or fulfillment, he begins to ditch work and drive to Pittsburgh, where his path crosses with the other central characters.

The book begins Paul’s work partner telling Paul about a newspaper account of a brutal murder.  The battered body of a woman was found tied to a tree in a Pittsburgh park. It’s being investigated by detective partners, McCarron and White. Another, and actually central  story line is that of a movie director, Nicko, and his wife Fran, in Pittsburgh to film a low budget movie. Nicko has previously been mildly famous for his “sexploitation” films that have a strong similarity to the Pittsburgh murder. Nicko’s sexy intern, Suzy, and a young, wannabe actor, Jeff Berner, are also central to the story line. And then  is Sam Connor, a colorful hippie who panhandles and seems to know everything about the downtown area, selling some of his information to the police. 

I felt the character development was very well done, and I could picture each one from the descriptions, and interactions. Also realistic was the weaving of the relationships between these disparate characters, how they intersected through the book until the high stress ending. 
There were so many real life themes in the book,: The boredom of a predictable job, and a predictable life. Physical and sexual abuse of women. PTSD. Racism. Class struggle. Insecurity. Drug abuse. Mental illness. Struggle for fame and success, as well as the lengths to which people will go to obtain it, keep it, and regain it when it’s lost. 

Although one of the central characters, Paul Slater, was a pattern maker in a mill, that was the only reference to the title aside from drawings at the beginning of each chapter

I definitely enjoyed the book, and thought it had a  well written plot. I was never bored. Nothing was a given, so I didn’t guess how the book would end. 
I received a copy of The Patternmaker free as an ARC from Netgalley. This is my unbiased review of a book I truly enjoyed.
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The Pattern Maker was not my favorite read of the COVID crisis.  Perhaps since I have not read other books by Richard Snodgrass, I do not know his style of writing.  The plot is somewhat confusing but I finished it and then was left hanging again.
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Was  transported through his writing...

At times, in this story, I felt I was there,
just looking over their sholders...

Well written with a clever plot.

An enjoyable read !
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This is one useless story. There area no characters to love, none to cheer. No one wins. The plot is pointless. I want my wasted time back.
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It has been a while since I spent time in Pittsburgh, but this book provides such a loving description of the area that I remembered and wished I could stop back. The writing is almost lyrical in creating the images of the three rivers area. The main characters are unique and weird. The book captures their environments and forces in their lives. I wish I felt the same about the plot. It would be difficult to say what the book is about. When it ended, a number of loose ends remained. Hopefully they will be addressed in subsequent books in this series. I'm sure you will enjoy the many wild and wonderful characters, and you will definitely learn to admire the Pittsburgh area. The story itself ends suddenly and somewhat strangely. I loved the book , but felt unfulfilled.
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This is the second Richard Snodgrass novel I have read and once again I am surprised at how little attention he seems to have garnered on Goodreads or Amazon, because he’s a very good writer and deserves a wide readership. I hope my review will encourage some other readers to check out this series of books about the steel mill town of Furnass in Pennsylvania. In this latest volume we meet Paul Slater, once a Green Beret in Vietnam and now trying to adjust to life back in his small town. He’s happily married to his high school sweetheart but the fall of Saigon in 1975 seems to trigger a crisis in him and restless and discontented he spends more and more time in nearby Pittsburgh, searching for he knows not what, and where a series of chance encounters involve him in the dangers and intrigues of city life. Gradually back stories of all the characters, including Paul’s, are revealed and the reader is drawn into their lives as the novel becomes a page-turning drama. Although I very much enjoyed the book I do have a few quibbles, as I found the sexual violence overdone, and the constant reference to “crotches” and “panties” distasteful, although I accept it’s a novel set back in the 70s when different standards applied. However, although the plot becomes more and more convoluted I felt that the author kept control of his material and the pacing was spot-on. Well worth a read and I hope to read more of Snodgrass’s work in the future.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy for an honest review.  This book takes place in the 70's, Paul who is restless goes home and as a veteran wants to retain his status of a hero.  While in Pittsburgh, gruesome murders occur and Paul fights to clear his name.  Well written, great book!
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I tried very hard to like The Pattern Maker, but the writing did not appeal to me. It's not pleasant to provide a negative review but it is important both to warn prospective readers as well as advise the author that something needs upgrading. In my opinion, using the craftwork device in the novel hindered the story. Beyond that, it was never quite clear to me what the author had in mind. Meandering at the beginniing of a novel only sows confusion. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Violent, and creepy - not for me.  Too much of both, and not enough believable story line.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ebook.
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first time reading this author and was pleasantly surprised.  Learned alot about the time and area of PA that I'm not familiar with.
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Very complex, but carefully constructed, plot line. The author uses obvious location cues to draw the reader into the locale and to tie the setting and timeline into historical perspective. The writing is finely crafted. A very thoughtful read.
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Couldn't get a grip on the story, the characters were flimsy and hard to understand 
DNF at 25%

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This was a pretty good read.  The plot moved along at a quick pace, so it was a fast read.  The premise of a man being accused of murders he didn't commit is one that has been done a lot, but the location of this one made it different.  It was well-written, as well as having characters that were easy to invest in.
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