Chistopher Pike: still got it

I know there is a lot of love for Christopher Pike out there, so I wanted to let you all know that I finished reading his adult novel from 2007, Falling.

Wow. Even more than I remember, he has a way with words that still haunts me. He also has a way with building characters that are complex without even having to use a lot of words or backstory. In a way, their actions tell you all you need to know. The plot is pretty simple, and is actually similar to Silence of the Lambs. A mythology-professor-turned-FBI-agent uses the help of a serial killer to track down a kidnapper, with plot twists and turns which I kind of saw coming and kind of didn’t. Along with this, some of the themes include obsessive love and the pain of separation from someone.

What is interesting is that he kind of recycles lots of ideas from his other young adult novels: rock climbing, faking one’s own death for revenge, for example. Despite that, it still works for me.

Wow, it’s difficult for me to write a “normal” and “good” book review. For those of you that like Pike, and those of you not familiar, I would check this out. I ripped through it in two days, and wished it went on forever. It’s a good thing he still seems to be writing, and I hope for more (adult novels).

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9 thoughts on “Chistopher Pike: still got it

  1. 1979semifinalist says:

    Well I’m definitely going to check this one out. I knew it was out there, but was waiting for someone to be the guinea pig for me…thanks for taking the bullet. I’ll add it to my list now that it’s been officially vetted and passed the test 🙂

  2. BartTempleton says:

    Thanks for the review, IHW.

    Here’s a question for you: we all remember that Pike sexed and bloodied up his so-called “YA” lit back in the 80s and 90s. (In fact, his stuff was reliably more “adult” than “young,” despite the teen-ish high school and revenge storylines).

    So, now that he’s positioned himself as a mainstream novelist, what’s changed? Or rather, has anything been added or subtracted to signal “hey, readers–I write for adults now!” ?

  3. ihatewheat says:

    Interesting question. I think the answer is pretty simple: the characters are adults, and the book is longer. That means we hear a lot about the characters’ past experiences and it contributes to their development. Their motives for their actions are clearer, instead of the basic revenge and angst that are in his YA books.

    The style is still very familiar though, and the sex and violence is there too, but more graphic and descriptive.

    He has a way of sucking the reader into the story, and there are more complicated interactions between characters.

    I hope he writes more. 1979, lemme know what you think.

    Although I can’t say it enough, Season of Passage is truly his best and it will haunt you for months after you read it.

  4. Katy says:

    I read gobs of Christopher Pike in middle school and junior high (what was up with him having a character named Ann in every novel?) . I was so excited when, at the airport bookstore flying home from college after finals had just ended, I found a new adult novel by him called “The Cold One.” It was total brain candy, just what I needed, and it ended with a total cliffhanger promising the sequel would be published soon.

    IT NEVER WAS.

    If you go look at the Amazon comments for that book, they’re all people pissed that there was no sequel and he left them hanging.

  5. Lemur says:

    Katy – I really, really, really effin’ hate that. I read a lot of historical fiction and Bernard Cornwall has left one series sit for like 6 years. Nat Starbuck is still sitting on the bloody field of Antietam. Soooo frustrating.

  6. Jessi says:

    Have you read The Cold One? I reread a few Christopher Pike books this summer and then discovered this adult book of his. It proved that Christopher Pike has the power to scare the bejesus out of me.

  7. Amber Tan says:

    “there was no sequel and he left them hanging.”

    I’d wager that Pike probably thought he’d build up the suspense and then charge $50 per copy of the sequel. Then again, I’m a jaded acquisitions librarian. 😉

    Frankly, I haven’t read a lot of Pike’s work but I think I’ll have to start. Thanks for the excellent recap, ihatewheat! 🙂

  8. bookslide says:

    Fallen was pretty darn good. Like you said, used a lot of the old elements in new ways.

    Katy: Ann is/was his sister’s name.

  9. byclops says:

    I just finished reading Fallen when I came across this!

    This whole section reminded me of so many YA books I loved. Sone I haven’t thought about in forever were the Norma Klein books. Angel Eyes? Love is One of the Choices? Family Secrets? All the teenagers acted like Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, having complex discussions about Oedipus and psychoanalysis.

    Good times.

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