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Primal Fear (1993)

de William Diehl

Séries: Martin Vail (1)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
8171020,216 (3.97)19
"Spine-tingling...Mr. Diehl can sustain suspense." THE NEW YORKTIMES Martin Vail, the brilliant "bad-boy" lawyer every prosecutor and politician love to hate, is defending Aaron Stampler, a man found holding a bloody butcher's knife near a murdered archbishop. Vail is certain to lose, but Vail uses his unorthodox ways to good advantage when choosing his legal team--a tight group of men and women who must uncover the extraordinary truth behind the archbishop's slaughter. They do, in a heart-stopping climax unparalleled for the surprise it springs on the reader...… (mais)
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    Shutter Island de Dennis Lehane (ACannon92)
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    ACannon92: Similar Themes, Well-Written
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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Martin Vail, is defending Aaron Stampler, a young man found in a confessional booth, holding a knife, assumed to have been used in the murdered of archbishop Rushman.
A very enjoyable and interesting read ( )
  Vesper1931 | Jul 29, 2021 |
4.5 stars

This review can also be found on my blog https://pagesflyingfree.wordpress.com

Martin Vail is the attorney prosecutors hate and the accused love. On the heels of another win in court, Vail is handed the pro bono case of Aaron Stampler, the young man accused of murdering the city’s archbishop, who is called the “Saint of Lakeview Drive.” The evidence is stacked against Aaron and Vail is guaranteed a lose. However, that doesn’t stop Vail from dedicating all of his resources to this case. As he and his team get to work, his psychologist makes an astounding discovery: Aaron Stampler has Multiple Personality Disorder. With a surprising avalanche of new information about Aaron and the archbishop coming to light, Vail may not be facing a total loss after all.

Primal Fear is a well-crafted story that flows from beginning to end, never meandering or deviating. Tightly written, it focuses on the story it is telling. Little by little, revelations about Aaron and the archbishop and the murder itself are made in a logical progression, each piece tying together with those that came before, letting the tale unfold naturally. There are twists and turns that make the story interesting, compelling the reader to go a little further, but not enough to be confusing or lose sight of the overarching story. Primal Fear, though, did not become especially compelling to me until the idea of multiple personalities came into play. With a background in clinical psychology, I was particularly interested to see how it played out and what impact it would have on the trial. I greatly enjoyed this twist and the portrayal of Multiple Personality Disorder had an authentic ring to it, despite the fact that the existence of this disorder is questionable. Ultimately, the idea of MPD offered a truly unsettling and thought provoking and to an already complex story and individual.

The story Primal Fear tells is helped along by the thoughtfully created characters that tell it. Who they were, what they did, and how they ended up there fit nicely. Though some of the backstories ran a little long and sometimes felt a little convoluted, it helped flesh out each character and gave them a unique personality and place in the story. Despite a large cast, each character, including those that we only meet once, was thoughtfully created to be an individual who had something to offer to help drive the story forward. Of note, I found Aaron to be particularly well-crafted, especially when the second personality came to light. The personalities were distinct and Diehl did a great job of exploring this virtually non-existent disorder, making Aaron, whose perspective we never get, extraordinarily complex with a mind and motivations we cannot even begin to comprehend.

Though Primal Fear is told by several characters, my one complaint is we never hear from Aaron himself. Instead of getting the story through one character, we get it from those that witness each new fact and take that comes to light. We get to experience the action and the reaction of the character experiencing it along with them instead of getting it all secondhand. While some parts are told this way, the reader, for the most part, gets to experience the story as it unfolds, leaving some space for us to make sense of it before Vail gets his hands on it. It helps give Aaron and the archbishop complexity and depth even as they are the only ones we never hear from, the latter being, understandably, dead. While I would have loved to get into Aaron’s mind, it makes sense that this would be impossible. The story would be very different and the end wouldn’t be as haunting. Still, I am very intrigued by what was going through his mind and how he experienced the story Diehl told.

Diehl’s writing style was a good complement to the story he told. A psychological thriller that delves into human nature and motivation, it called for a sort of suspenseful writing that both told a story and left the reader pondering. The writing was down to Earth, gritty without any niceties. The dialogue was believable and matched the character speaking. Though I had some difficulty getting into the first quarter of the story, due to slow setup and multiple introductions, it was worth it to keep going. I did note some missing words and grammatical mistakes, but, considering I was reading the Kindle version, the conversion to ebook might not have been perfect.

Bottom line: an overall excellent psychological thriller exploring crime, human nature, and Multiple Personality Disorder (I admit the last was what really hooked me) with an intriguing story and great writing, despite some scenes that were a little too unsettling for my tastes. ( )
  The_Lily_Cafe | Jun 28, 2020 |
A chilling, gripping book. The movie did not do it justice at all. I loved the sequels as well. ( )
  Gaia_Sol | Sep 1, 2018 |
Holy Christmas. This was relatively different than the movie and, as most books are, better. I'd originally thought that Aaron knew exactly what he was doing from the beginning, but Diehl's exposition nearly convinced me that he didn't. The characters were well developed - I found their backstories fascinating, particularly Dr. Arrington's. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes legal thrillers. ( )
  EllAreBee | Sep 19, 2016 |
Started on November 01, 2013
Saw the film a long time ago, and ordered it on Blu-ray.
The book felt a couple of pages too long, a few background stories and place-descriptions I could have done without.
Therefore not a real page-turner, but a few nice twists, and a fantastic ending.
Maybe more gripping for someone who does not know the film and reads this for the first time.
Interesting choice made near the end regarding the information which could destroy more than just one life.
The film has some great roles and I wait for the Blu-ray to arrive to see it again. Both Richard Gere and Edward Norton are actors I like a lot.
And also Frances McDormand.
Book may seem a bit dated, as in the time it was current a lot of cases like the Bishop have surfaced.
But the description of Aaron and his problems are still worth reading it.
Therefore only 4 stars. Some may differ after reading it, and opt for 3 stars, but I think it is worth 4. Certainly not 5.
Recommended for first time readers and people who either have not seen the film or like it. ( )
  Ingo.Lembcke | Oct 27, 2015 |
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February 26, 1983

When Archbishop Richard Rushman, known to Catholic, Protestant and Jew alike as "the Saint of Lakeview Drive" because of his great charitable works, stepped out of the shower, he had less than ten minutes to live.
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"Spine-tingling...Mr. Diehl can sustain suspense." THE NEW YORKTIMES Martin Vail, the brilliant "bad-boy" lawyer every prosecutor and politician love to hate, is defending Aaron Stampler, a man found holding a bloody butcher's knife near a murdered archbishop. Vail is certain to lose, but Vail uses his unorthodox ways to good advantage when choosing his legal team--a tight group of men and women who must uncover the extraordinary truth behind the archbishop's slaughter. They do, in a heart-stopping climax unparalleled for the surprise it springs on the reader...

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