Desert Places Praise
Harrowing...terrific...a whacked out combination of Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy.
Crouch's smart, tight prose displays plenty of narrative energy...[he] shows real talent here...
An ingenious, diabolical debut that calls into question all our easy moral assumptions. DESERT PLACES is a genuine thriller that pulses with adrenaline from start to finish. Blake Crouch is one of the most exciting new writers I've read in years.
DESERT PLACES is about survival, both emotional and physical. Crouch delivers his description of place with telling and vivid prose...[and his] carefully crafted characters make the story immediate, intense and thoroughly believable...will linger in the [reader's] consciousness long after the book is read.
Fast-paced...vivid scenes...the story is so good...that even readers who aren't drawn to psychological cat-and-mouse-game plots won't be able to put it down.
[T]wisted...surprises around every turn...don't climb in if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, might be pregnant, or are under four feet tall.
Crouch artfully and chillingly portrays the killer, leaving the reader with goosebumps. This is an odd, creepy and disturbing book. And I mean that as a compliment.
THE DAILY CAMERA (BOULDER)
Crouch maintains a roller-coaster pace, with twists that leave you blinking.
THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
[Crouch's] writing is sick, and I mean that in the very best way. If DESERT PLACES is any indication of what we can expect from Crouch in the future, be prepared to see his name on the bestseller lists.
[F]irst-novelist Crouch sure knows how to build and maintain suspense.
This is a complex, cleverly constructed novel of motive, and Crouch takes his time bringing us through the story...it's a great debut. Crouch is an author to watch.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL (TORONTO)
Crouch looks into the dark places inside our heads -- you may not always like what you see there, but you won't be able to tear yourself away. An exciting, heart-pounding debut.
[A] high octane suspense tale that never slows down until the epilogue.
PARANORMAL ROMANCE REVIEWS
The interplay between the protagonist and the villain is crisp and clever, and the plot development is relentless. Can't wait for the sequel!
White-knuckle suspense, first-rate characterization, and taut writing.
NEW MYSTERY READER MAGAZINE
Two hundred and eighty pages of pure, lean thriller...prose that's throat grabbing...Blake Crouch is a major league talent who's going to be really, really big.
SARAH WEINMAN, Gumshoe-Award Winning Crime Columnist
[C]arried by rich, image-filled prose. Crouch will handcuff you, blindfold you, throw you in the trunk of a car, and drag you kicking and screaming through a story so intense, so emotionally packed, that you will walk away stunned.
[F]ascinating…gripping…compulsively readable…It's not one that you will want to put down, and you will probably be waiting, as I am, for the sequel to be released.
MAGIC CITY MORNING STAR
[T]he fastest, meanest read I've had in quite a while. Crouch clamps on and propels you forward, even though you're not at all sure you want to go into the disturbing places where he's taking you.
THE CAPITAL TIMES
Wow. Sometimes you stumble across a book that just plain creeps you out. There are many types of DESERT PLACES, and the most inhospitable are in the human heart.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS
[I]f you do open the book -- if only to get that scary-looking guy on the cover to stop staring at you -- you won't be able to put it down.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
DESERT PLACES brings art and innovation to aspects of the novel where it's usually in short supply…blistering pace…chillingly effective…breathless thrills…evocative.music behind the words…a believable "anything can happen" feel…[and] it's all going to scare the living daylights out of you.
THE AGONY COLUMN
An engrossing gross-out that should appeal to mystery fans and horror buffs alike.
[A] stunning psychological debut…daring…Crouch raises so many questions that to say this is merely a "horror" story or a suspense/thriller is to weaken the psychological and sociological issues he raises.
[C]ompelling...breakneck speed...it's clear that there is a talent for writing here.
COVER TO COVER (syracuse.com)
[DESERT PLACES] holds its horrified readers mesmerized and carries them away into a world where morality and conscience are mere words, and primal instincts rules supreme.
CURLED UP WITH A GOOD BOOK
This book moves like it has a rocket strapped to it. Reading it is like driving in the rain at 90 MPH, with your eyes closed, sheer adrenaline…Blake Crouch is here to stay
JON JORDAN, Mystery One Bookstore
The first page will grab you and hold you tight until the last page drops you spent into a wide-eyed night of images that stick to your brain. His will be a name to watch.
BOOKS'N'BYTES, New Authors, Oct. 2003
[DESERT PLACES] will scare the bejeepers out of you, but you'll love it anyway. Surprises lurk on every page of this thriller, so here's a reminder: Keep breathing.
WORKING MOTHER MAGAZINE