Strange But True

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After a mysterious fall from his Manhattan apartment, Philip Chase has moved home with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death ofher younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much TV and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis. But everything changes one winter night when Ronnie's high school girlfriend shows up on their doorstep to deliver the news that she is pregnant ... and the father, she claims, is Ronnie.

So begins the startling tale as Philip and his mother confront Melissa's past and their own. Their search for answers takes them on an emotional journey, placing them in the path of murder and revenge. At once a moving story of redemption and a heart-stopping work of suspense, Strange but True brings to life a cast of characters that no reader will soon forget.


Sinister and complex... You'll race right through it. 

— Janet Maslin, New York Times

[A] brilliant narrative... Pitch-perfect. Strange but True keeps readers thrilled. 

— Hartford Courant

Exceptionally good.

— Cleveland Plain Dealer

[Searles] shows how mundane events and discoveries can jump-start the spirit and bring us to terms with what and who we are... Remarkably true to life.

— Carol Memmott, USA Today

Named Best Book of 2004 by

Part thriller, part mystery, and part coming-of-age fable, this story of a high school quarterback's tragic death and a most unlikely pregnancy-- will hold you transfixed... I felt powerless to put it down.


The emotions ring true on every page. These are living, breathing characters, and John Searles's novel illuminates the intricate dynamics of families with humor, heart and truth.

— Augusten Burroughs

You can see why the author, John Searles, hit [it on with] Strange but True for the title of this weird and wonderful follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut. Combining the best elements of a suspense novel with the emotional heft of a family drama, it's that rarest of literary treats: a brainy beach book. Dig in.

— Elle

A fine, unsettling novel with richly etched characters and a delicious sense of menace.

— Dennis Lehane

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