In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him.
Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife's inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of "the man with a thousand mittens," David decides to investigate. What he finds draws him back into a world he thought he had left behind forever. And the closer David gets to uncovering the true identity of the Man from Primrose Lane, the more he begins to understand the dangerous power of his own obsessions and how they may be connected to the deaths of both the old hermit and his beloved wife.
Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner's The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious debut that boasts as many twists as a roller coaster. But beneath its turns, it's a spellbinding story about our obsessions: the dangerous sway they have over us and the fates of those we love.
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Irish Times (Crime Fiction) and the Irish Independent (Thrillers)
One of CrimeReads' Most Anticipated Books of the Year
On a Friday evening in 1953, Madison Avenue ad executive Ned Sweeney enjoys a cocktail in the apartment of a strange and charismatic man he met hours earlier. Ned doesn't know it, but he has just become a participant in Project MK-Ultra, a covert, CIA-run study of mind-control techniques. The experience transforms Ned, pulling him away from his wife and young son and into the inner circles of the richest and most powerful people of his day. In a matter of months, he is dead.
It is a tragedy Ned's family struggles to understand, then tries to forget . . . but some skeletons refuse to stay buried. More than sixty years later, Ned's grandson Ray is introduced to a retired government official who claims to know the details of Ned's life and death. Ray is prepared to dismiss the encounter, until he discovers that the now-elderly man once worked for the CIA. Ray digs deeper, and begins to question everything as he uncovers rumors of a mysterious "smart drug"—a fabled black-market cognitive enhancer called MDT-48.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.