The World of Pondside
by Mary Helen Stefaniak
Narrated by George Newbern
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 19 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 22 Jun 2022
*One of Crime Reads' 10 New Novels You Should Read in April*
*One of Publishers Weekly's Most Anticipated Thrillers of Spring*
*An Amazon Editors' Pick: Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense*
In a game of life or death, the seniors at Pondside Manor risk it all.
With help from Pondside Manor’s quirky, twentysomething kitchen worker Foster Kresowik, resident Robert Kallman creates The World of Pondside, a video game that delights the nursing home’s residents by allowing them to virtually relive blissful moments from days long past—or even create new ones.
One-legged Duane Lotspeich is overjoyed when he can dance the tango again. Octogenarian Laverne Slatchek cheers on her favorite baseball team from the stands at Candlestick Park with her beloved husband—who died years ago. Even the overwhelmed Pondside administrator escapes her job by logging into a much more luxurious virtual world.
Robert’s game enlivens the halls of Pondside Manor, but chaos ensues when he is found dead, submerged in the pond, still strapped into his wheelchair. If any resident witnessed his death, they’re not telling—either covering up or, quite possibly, forgetting. And it’s far from clear to anyone—including the police—if the death of this brilliant man, who suffered from ALS, was suicide or murder.
When Robert’s video game goes dark, its players grow desperate. The task of getting it back online falls to young Foster, who enlists help from a raucous group of residents and staff. Their pursuit—virtual and real—has unintended consequences, uncovering both criminal activities and the secret plans of Foster’s friend Robert. From Pondside Manor, this unlikely bunch of gamers embarks upon an astonishing journey—blissful, treacherous, and unforgettable.
Packed with sharp wit and compassion, Mary Helen Stefaniak has written a rousing, perceptive, and utterly original novel.
“Stefaniak infuses an often forbidding and depressing environment with joy and dignity in this Agatha Christie–esque cyber caper.”
“With infinite compassion and great good humor, Mary Helen Stefaniak takes us on a wild, suspenseful ride through a world most of us normally shy away from…Deeply moving, as heart-poundingly suspenseful as the best video games … and just plain fun.”
-Eileen Pollack, author of The Professor of Immortality
• National and regional reviews, features, and interviews
• Social media campaign
• Literary and women's media buzz mailing
• Book club marketing
• Print and digital advertising
• Bookseller and library trade show marketing
• Author website: www.MaryHelenStefaniak.com
• Author Twitter and Facebook: @mhstefaniak
• Author Instagram: @maryhelenstefaniak
|DURATION||12 Hours, 43 Minutes, 4 Seconds|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 29 members
I think the best way to describe this book is eccentric. This book wasn’t as much of a thriller as I thought it would be. It was definitely more of a slow-paced story, but it was an interesting read and the characters were endearing.
Such a unique story! I would recommend it to anyone, as it’s rooted in the human spirit to be, and do, more. A refreshing take on aging and what life lives within us, in a mystery.
Weird and quite wonderful. This is one of the oddest books I've read in a while, in a good way. This was an audiobook from Netgalley and I chose it because I was in need of quirk. Quirk is definitely what I got.
Set in a nursing home, with all the different kinds of residents you get in one of those establishments. Perfectly competent older people, younger people who have physical challenges which mean they can't manage at home and need nursing care, the many and varied staff and management, and those who are suffering dementia and all manner of other ailments. These people are hooked on a video game which takes them back to the days when they were fit and living fulsome lives. They relive old memories, go to favourite restaurants and re-meet their dearly departed. All virtually.
But then the games creator and mastermind is found dead in the facility pond. Did he commit suicide, had life with his ALS become too much to bear, or was there something more sinister at play? It is up to a huge team of people to figure out what happened. Everyone from the guy who works in the kitchen, an elderly lady with heaps of vigour, shady characters and mysterious people. This is extremely convoluted and there are a many paths travelled and situations to resolve. Many. I occasionally got a little bit lost. I didn't mind, I trusted that it would all become clear and it did.
If you are keen for quirk, want something unlike anything else, then this is the book for you. I listened to the audio version while I was in isolation and it was jolly good company.
Thanks so much to NegGalley and the publisher for giving me access to this gem.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Ibram X. Kendi
Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe
N. John Williams