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Knife Music

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Tense and twisting, Knife Music is the story of a doctor struggling to clear his name after being accused of raping and causing the suicide of a young girl. The novel pits Ted Cogan, a forty-three-year- old surgeon and self-described womanizer, against Hank Madden, a handicapped veteran detective. From the outset it's not clear who is victim and who is victimizer, as the u Tense and twisting, Knife Music is the story of a doctor struggling to clear his name after being accused of raping and causing the suicide of a young girl. The novel pits Ted Cogan, a forty-three-year- old surgeon and self-described womanizer, against Hank Madden, a handicapped veteran detective. From the outset it's not clear who is victim and who is victimizer, as the usually dispassionate Madden grapples with his long-suppressed prejudices and his obsession with bringing Ted Cogan to justice at any cost. It all leads up to the most stunning surprise ending since Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent.


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Tense and twisting, Knife Music is the story of a doctor struggling to clear his name after being accused of raping and causing the suicide of a young girl. The novel pits Ted Cogan, a forty-three-year- old surgeon and self-described womanizer, against Hank Madden, a handicapped veteran detective. From the outset it's not clear who is victim and who is victimizer, as the u Tense and twisting, Knife Music is the story of a doctor struggling to clear his name after being accused of raping and causing the suicide of a young girl. The novel pits Ted Cogan, a forty-three-year- old surgeon and self-described womanizer, against Hank Madden, a handicapped veteran detective. From the outset it's not clear who is victim and who is victimizer, as the usually dispassionate Madden grapples with his long-suppressed prejudices and his obsession with bringing Ted Cogan to justice at any cost. It all leads up to the most stunning surprise ending since Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent.

30 review for Knife Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daleen Berry

    Knife Music is authentic, well-written, and suspenseful As a former crime reporter, Knife Music seems like it could have been culled from any of the police blotters I've seen in many precincts. As a nonfiction author myself, it rings more truthful than most fiction I've read. No doubt that's because first-time Author David Carnoy evidently conducted thorough research to achieve this authenticity. I'm not sure what kind of music surgeons listen to while they operate on a patient, but I hope it's a Knife Music is authentic, well-written, and suspenseful As a former crime reporter, Knife Music seems like it could have been culled from any of the police blotters I've seen in many precincts. As a nonfiction author myself, it rings more truthful than most fiction I've read. No doubt that's because first-time Author David Carnoy evidently conducted thorough research to achieve this authenticity. I'm not sure what kind of music surgeons listen to while they operate on a patient, but I hope it's a soothing, melodic adagio or canon, rather like Pachelbel's Canon in D--one of my very favorite pieces. Carnoy's suspenseful novel is definitely not an adagio. More like an opera, interspersed with mini intermezzos. That's not to say it isn't good--it is. Quite good, in fact, and Carnoy's writing is measured, with adequate attention given to pitch, tone and tempo. His main character, Ted Cogan, is a surgeon who first operates on a teenage girl, and then--following her suicide--is accused of being her rapist. Like any well-composed piece of music, "Knife Music" does all it should to hold the reader's attention: it introduces passages, it orchestrates the scenes and it evokes emotion. Sometimes the emotion is not what one would expect: confusion, angst or even frustration are among the ones you might experience. Confusion over why the seemingly good doctor--a quite likeable fellow--would have raped a beautiful but troubled teen. Angst over her death and her parents' utter failure to effectively reach out to her prior to her senseless suicide. Or frustration over Detective Hank Madden's inability to clearly separate himself from the rape investigation. Because these are all realistic responses to similar traumatic events one might experience in life, Carnoy's writing comes across as bona fide. He does weave the story back and forth, bringing to mind a good fugue, but that merely serves to keep the reader on her toes. The only complaint this particular reader had was this: I got bogged down at one point. The story just seemed to drone on in no specific direction, and I was left wondering where Carnoy as the conductor of this work was taking me. Turns out, it was to a finale that was anything but dull and monotonous! Carnoy accomplishes many things with the melodic story he tells in Knife Music. Among them, he gives his readers an ethical dilemma to ponder, provides them with characters we come to care about, and ties in a social issue that couldn't be more fitting in view of the current Penn State scandal. But it is the final movement that any maestro would be proud of. This is one reader who will gladly cry, "Encore, encore!"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura P.

    Long boring passages in this book seem to have been inserted just to make it long enough. It’s very hard to like the main character. I listened to the audiobook and the very good reader Kristoffer Tabori was wasted on this one. Final verdict: don’t bother.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda Boa

    Review to follow at https://crimeworm.WordPress.com/

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    This is the perfect book for 'my box', .....(time I spend in my sauna). I can't read paper books in the sauna for too long before the pages begin to come apart, or curl at the corners--- so Kindle reading is great for my 'alone' time in 'THE HOT BOX'. I can't give a full review yet ---because I have really just started --- (I'm also reading "Crossing To Safety" by Wallace Stegner" at the same time: NOT in the box) -- but I like taking this "Knife Music" with me 'in-the-box'. What I'm excited abou This is the perfect book for 'my box', .....(time I spend in my sauna). I can't read paper books in the sauna for too long before the pages begin to come apart, or curl at the corners--- so Kindle reading is great for my 'alone' time in 'THE HOT BOX'. I can't give a full review yet ---because I have really just started --- (I'm also reading "Crossing To Safety" by Wallace Stegner" at the same time: NOT in the box) -- but I like taking this "Knife Music" with me 'in-the-box'. What I'm excited about is to meet this author, (David Carnoy), next week at Kepler's when he speaks about his new book: "The Big Exit". (looks like another fun read). The mystery takes place in MY CITY! (always fun) Interesting: Stegner (no longer living) & Carnoy, (hot new author), lol.....both different types of writers -- ---both authors from this area in Northern Calif.--- 1987 ---(Stegner) ---how much was an ice cream cone? 60 cents? 80 cents? 2012 ---Carnoy --- how much is a small cup of frozen yogurt? $3.50 Its fun to pay attention to the changes in time, culture, cost, different types of pressure & stress....etc. etc. note: I'm a sucker for local authors --and want to meet all of them! I think we have wonderful authors living in the Bay Area! DON'T get sick Nov. 14th (and not show up, Mr. David, Carnoy) ---even though the remodel-job of Keplers' is ....well,.....(not much to look at right now) elyse elyse

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mariana

    I found it to be a fast read. I wasn't very interested in the story and felt no sympathy for the doctor. I felt no involvement with the characters, and found them to be not very nuanced. I think the author was attempting too many "twists" and instead of being suspenseful, I felt that it was just dragging. I also felt that the rapes were trivialized and there was no real connection to the trauma this girl went through. She committed suicide and never once was there any attempt to try to get into I found it to be a fast read. I wasn't very interested in the story and felt no sympathy for the doctor. I felt no involvement with the characters, and found them to be not very nuanced. I think the author was attempting too many "twists" and instead of being suspenseful, I felt that it was just dragging. I also felt that the rapes were trivialized and there was no real connection to the trauma this girl went through. She committed suicide and never once was there any attempt to try to get into her head. I felt that the author could have had a very good book, had he focused more on the characters and not on the minutiae that he chose to focus on. There was so much crap about the detective's history; the doctor's friends; his dating... all kinds of nonsense that added nothing to the story. There was not one character that I sympathized with and felt I could root for. They all seemed so pathetic. Overall, I was not very moved by this story and would not be inclined to read another from this author. I don't know which book came first, but it felt like he was going for something like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... but failed miserably. At least with TGwtDT, you have Lisbeth; who is supreme kick-ass and really carries the book. In Knife Music, I felt that there was no one to root for, or even like.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This is probably the most tedious book I have ever read. The dialog just gets more and more minute - delving in depth into characters who no one cares about instead of concentrating on the central story. The characters would give you their life story ad nauseum and I just couldn't take it any more. Someone once told me to give a book I was reading 100 pages and then decide, so that has been my rule, and in many cases I was very glad that I did. I couldn't finish it, and I gave it MORE than 100 pa This is probably the most tedious book I have ever read. The dialog just gets more and more minute - delving in depth into characters who no one cares about instead of concentrating on the central story. The characters would give you their life story ad nauseum and I just couldn't take it any more. Someone once told me to give a book I was reading 100 pages and then decide, so that has been my rule, and in many cases I was very glad that I did. I couldn't finish it, and I gave it MORE than 100 pages! A waste of time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    First Important Note to Authors: If you are neither 16 years old nor a girl do NOT attempt to write entries in a 16 year old girl's diary! It does NOT work! No matter how many "totallys" and "likes" you sprinkle around, it does NOT work. The result isn't just unrealistic, it's bad, embarrassingly bad! (This is especially evident in the badly written entries dealing with the demographics at the girl's school.) Second Important Note to Authors: A "twist" ending doesn't mean something you pull out o First Important Note to Authors: If you are neither 16 years old nor a girl do NOT attempt to write entries in a 16 year old girl's diary! It does NOT work! No matter how many "totallys" and "likes" you sprinkle around, it does NOT work. The result isn't just unrealistic, it's bad, embarrassingly bad! (This is especially evident in the badly written entries dealing with the demographics at the girl's school.) Second Important Note to Authors: A "twist" ending doesn't mean something you pull out of the thin air in your behind. You have to have at least SOME foreshadowing. Important Note to Self: No more Carnoy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bek

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. With apologies to Avenue Q: Everyone in this book's a rapist at tiiiimes! Drive a girl to suicide with awful sex criiiiimes! But no one will just admit The part that they had played in it So we'll just watch the stereotypes come truuuuue And this concludes my one star review! (Seriously, I've spent a few days pondering why I hated the book so much -- it's because EVERY character is a stereotype: the burnt-out surgeon who makes a bad decision, the douchebag frat boys, the angry women who just melt for a With apologies to Avenue Q: Everyone in this book's a rapist at tiiiimes! Drive a girl to suicide with awful sex criiiiimes! But no one will just admit The part that they had played in it So we'll just watch the stereotypes come truuuuue And this concludes my one star review! (Seriously, I've spent a few days pondering why I hated the book so much -- it's because EVERY character is a stereotype: the burnt-out surgeon who makes a bad decision, the douchebag frat boys, the angry women who just melt for a handsome man. And just FYI, the answer to "whodunit" shouldn't be "everyone".)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Gregg

    This book was so maddeningly frustrating! Not only was it completely unbelievable at every level, I was left asking myself why the author would have ever even wanted to tell this dumb story. It was ridiculously far-fetched and the characters were all unlikeable, to the point of there not being a single redeeming quality among them. Steer clear of this loser.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nora

    I wish I could give this 3.75 stars. I can't give it four because that's reserved for books like "Beach Music" and "The Help." But I REALLY enjoyed this and it kept surprising me right up to the very last minute!! (I listened to audio version) I can't wait to read/listen to his next book!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    I really enjoyed this book. Several twists and turns. It was a quick read with an ending I never would have guessed!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Kind of boring--where was the suspense?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    Great, messy thriller

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon Lewis

    Good page turner for the beach with surprise ending.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Entertaining story but the author goes into ridiculous detail about people and events that are barely relevant to the story. I think this is what happens without a decent editor...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Great story with a fabulous twist at the end!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This book took a number of twists and turns such that I never saw some of them coming, especially the final one. Often, books end with an epilogue or tying up some of the small loose ends from the plot, but not this one. You have to read to the very last page. Overall, the plot was OK, but not what I expected prior to reading it. The early parts of the book are the best, where Dr. Cogan is in his element as a trauma surgeon, triaging and treating the patients who come through the doors of the ER This book took a number of twists and turns such that I never saw some of them coming, especially the final one. Often, books end with an epilogue or tying up some of the small loose ends from the plot, but not this one. You have to read to the very last page. Overall, the plot was OK, but not what I expected prior to reading it. The early parts of the book are the best, where Dr. Cogan is in his element as a trauma surgeon, triaging and treating the patients who come through the doors of the ER, including a teenage car accident victim. The teenager's diary details an ongoing love affair with Cogan, including sex, and not long after her parents discover the diry, the girl kills herself. From there, the book shifts into a detective story, one side trying to prove that Cogan's actions directly led to the girl's death, while Cogan and his lawyer feel there is more to the story than just what the diary says. I read it for the medical angle, thinking that perhaps there was a sexual encounter at the hospital that would uncover a creepy doctor who gets his thrills from incapacitated patients while maintaining a sterling professional reputation, or something to that effect, so when the medical angle was dropped for the most part, it became an ordinary detective book to me. Not a bad one, just one I likely would not have read if Cogan was a teacher, lawyer, counselor, etc.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie Muriel

    Ugh. Incrediboring. I nearly quit this one at least half a dozen times, but after coming on here and skimming some of the other reviews and seeing brief mentions of an alleged "twist ending," I kind of wanted to see what the twist would be. Except when I got there (and it's literally the last couple pages), I was still just like, "Oh... that was it?" Almost every character in this book is grossly misogynistic to some degree and/or ridiculously annoying. So much of the narrative is just irrelevant Ugh. Incrediboring. I nearly quit this one at least half a dozen times, but after coming on here and skimming some of the other reviews and seeing brief mentions of an alleged "twist ending," I kind of wanted to see what the twist would be. Except when I got there (and it's literally the last couple pages), I was still just like, "Oh... that was it?" Almost every character in this book is grossly misogynistic to some degree and/or ridiculously annoying. So much of the narrative is just irrelevant rambling about things that have nothing to do with the actual plot. Also, when I read the author's acknowledgements at the beginning thanking various law enforcement and medical professionals for providing him with info, I suppose that should have been the tip-off that he was going to info dump various medical procedures and technology and such into the book in an effort to make the doctor sound more doctorly. Only he just sounds like a walking textbook and it comes off as obvious and obnoxious. Long story short, definitely one of my least favorites this year. The characters are all just stereotypes and that doesn't fly with me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Neil Pierson

    "Knife Music" is slang for the music played in the operating room during surgery. Did Dr. Ted Cogan rape his 16 year old patient? Is that why she committed suicide? Serviceable mystery with much emphasis on the sex lives of its characters. Someone told the author to put in a lot of place references in the Palo Alto area, in case you plan to visit. For me, at least, there's a mystery in the mystery: At one point, the DA gives Dr. Cogan a transcript of an interview with a witness conducted by Dr. Cog "Knife Music" is slang for the music played in the operating room during surgery. Did Dr. Ted Cogan rape his 16 year old patient? Is that why she committed suicide? Serviceable mystery with much emphasis on the sex lives of its characters. Someone told the author to put in a lot of place references in the Palo Alto area, in case you plan to visit. For me, at least, there's a mystery in the mystery: At one point, the DA gives Dr. Cogan a transcript of an interview with a witness conducted by Dr. Cogan's defense attorney. At another point, Cogan decides not to tell his attorney about something he's found because she would have to share the information with the DA. I thought the DA had to disclose information to the defense sometimes, but not vice versa? This is probably a good airplane book. But if you have a need to know about attorney-client privilege, this may not be a good source.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sharon C

    A decent debut I think David Carnoy shows great promise, and I will definitely give his second novel a try. However, Knife Music is just so-so. The two main characters are a surgeon named Ted Cogan and the police detective who is investigating him for a statutory rape that ended in suicide. A lot of the novel just doesn't ring true, nor does the dialogue of the teenagers in the book. I didn't understand the motivations of any of the main characters, which made the novel move slowly. There is a "bi A decent debut I think David Carnoy shows great promise, and I will definitely give his second novel a try. However, Knife Music is just so-so. The two main characters are a surgeon named Ted Cogan and the police detective who is investigating him for a statutory rape that ended in suicide. A lot of the novel just doesn't ring true, nor does the dialogue of the teenagers in the book. I didn't understand the motivations of any of the main characters, which made the novel move slowly. There is a "big twist" at the end, but it frankly came out of nowhere and was simply sad and sordid. Not recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I logged into my NOOK account after years of neglect and started reading this. I forgot I had already read it until a few pages in, and remembering the ending I swiped back and remembered how much I had enjoyed it. SO good!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    A little too convoluted.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Clark

    I enjoyed this book, although at times, it seemed hard to follow. None-the-less, it all came together at the end with an interesting twist.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robertd

    Knife Music is an excellent debut book from David Carnoy. It is well written, has a good pace, and great character development. I thoroughly enjoyed, and recommend it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Clever Plot I am not the type of reviewer that completely analyzes all aspects of a book but I will say this was a well written story. The characters seemed to be someone that at least once in our lives we met or were friends with even. I appreciated the dual perspectives that were used when describing an event so that the author didn't have to go back and rewrite the same scenario for each character. The ending was Clever, I normally can predict the ending but this one caught me off guard. Well Clever Plot I am not the type of reviewer that completely analyzes all aspects of a book but I will say this was a well written story. The characters seemed to be someone that at least once in our lives we met or were friends with even. I appreciated the dual perspectives that were used when describing an event so that the author didn't have to go back and rewrite the same scenario for each character. The ending was Clever, I normally can predict the ending but this one caught me off guard. Well worth your time to pick up and read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    AudioBookFans

    This audiobook kept me asking "What's really going on?!" as I clung to my iPod waiting on the next twist. The story is captivating and intense and David Carnoy makes a big splash with this debut novel. One thing annoyed me. Way too many times we were taken back and forth between past and present and at points it left me very confused. Thankfully, I was able to figure it out quickly and keep moving with Carnoy's plot twists. I was extremely impressed with the medical terminology in this novel. Wit This audiobook kept me asking "What's really going on?!" as I clung to my iPod waiting on the next twist. The story is captivating and intense and David Carnoy makes a big splash with this debut novel. One thing annoyed me. Way too many times we were taken back and forth between past and present and at points it left me very confused. Thankfully, I was able to figure it out quickly and keep moving with Carnoy's plot twists. I was extremely impressed with the medical terminology in this novel. Within minutes from starting the book, medical terms and conditions are thrown at you correctly. Correctly is what blew my mind. Normally, you tune into daytime dramas and watch them squirm to try to not only pronounce and correctly use words but to continue their bad acting. Carnoy's use of medical terminology was spot on and for me, made things more real. I love audiobooks that I can close my eyes and feel like I'm in the story. This was definitely one. I'm not disclosing much about how the story turns out because this is an awesome audiobook and in my opinion, is bound to hit many ears. Narrator review: Here's where things get kind of ugly... I give props to Mr. Tabori for his extensive career and previous Audie Award, however I won't be picking up any more books that he narrates. He did a great job being clear and crisp with his speaking but it bored me to tears. The first chapters where the worst and made me want to turn off the book and start on something different. I could compare his voice to my grandfather's (God rest his soul) that is soothing and kind, but I didn't think it seemed appropriate for this gripping book. I guess if I need someone to rock my kids to sleep, I could let them listen to Tabori. Check out our other reviews at http://www.audiobookfans.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    SenoraG

    This was an amazing suspense story. Ted Cogan is a great character to get to know. He is a surgeon with a a sense of humor and both feet on the ground. Being good looking doesn't hurt him either but does it make him a rapist? You will ask yourself this over and over as you read. I changed my mind more than once. The writing flows very well and the author manages to not only take us into the mind of a gifted surgeon but the minds of teens as well, boys and girls. That is no easy feat if you ask me This was an amazing suspense story. Ted Cogan is a great character to get to know. He is a surgeon with a a sense of humor and both feet on the ground. Being good looking doesn't hurt him either but does it make him a rapist? You will ask yourself this over and over as you read. I changed my mind more than once. The writing flows very well and the author manages to not only take us into the mind of a gifted surgeon but the minds of teens as well, boys and girls. That is no easy feat if you ask me. Each chapter tells the story from a different character which I liked. I particularly enjoyed reading the snippets from Kristen's Journal. The author hit it right on the head with the style a teen uses while talking. I admit annoying to read at times but dead on. Example from page: 145 "She was like did he say anything about me? And I was like,yeah, he asked me where my partner in crime was. And I was like, she's over talking to the Gap guy." If you are a mystery, suspense, thriller lover pick up this book. It's hard to believe it's the author's debut novel. I sure want more!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kooheli

    This was the right read for the tail end of a winter vacation: fairly fast paced, mostly mindless, one or two twists that managed to be surprising because I didn't spend a lot of time thinking while I read. I didn't like Cogan's character from the start, and so it was hard to have sympathy (read: to care) when his career begins to crumble. Kristin and Carrie are poorly developed, so what happens to them wasn't particularly compelling. Carnoy seemed to put the most of his imagination into Jim and This was the right read for the tail end of a winter vacation: fairly fast paced, mostly mindless, one or two twists that managed to be surprising because I didn't spend a lot of time thinking while I read. I didn't like Cogan's character from the start, and so it was hard to have sympathy (read: to care) when his career begins to crumble. Kristin and Carrie are poorly developed, so what happens to them wasn't particularly compelling. Carnoy seemed to put the most of his imagination into Jim and Watkins, but the sketches are one-dimensional. Watkins is getting on Jim's nerves 3/4 of the way through the novel, and Jim comments that he has to take his final exams. He must. At no other point in the story is the fact that these are college students even remotely explored, and so sudden mentions of exams feel just like that: sudden and transitory. I don't plan to read another book by this author unless it comes highly recommended, but that isn't to say it didn't pass the time on a snowy Tuesday afternoon!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sean Keefer

    Good dialogue. Well defined and believable characters. Plot premise was very appealing. I had a problem keeping up with the progression of the book and the precise point of view. Through the book Carnoy would repeatedly give a date and time a particular passage was occurring and these weren't always in sequential order and would frequently be several different points of view on a the same scene. For example two characters would be engaged in dialogue about a second set of characters while anothe Good dialogue. Well defined and believable characters. Plot premise was very appealing. I had a problem keeping up with the progression of the book and the precise point of view. Through the book Carnoy would repeatedly give a date and time a particular passage was occurring and these weren't always in sequential order and would frequently be several different points of view on a the same scene. For example two characters would be engaged in dialogue about a second set of characters while another character would be watching. There would be passages from each different point of view on the same scene as well as prequel and follow up on many of the scenes. This made it challenging to keep up with the action and what was actually happening. The ending was also sort of a non-sequitor. Not at all surprising, but just sort of an add on. Not sure if I will read it again, but would definitely read another book by Carnoy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe Stamber

    After listening to the last disc of Knife Music I'm left wondering what to make of it. Ted, a pretty cool doctor, is accused of raping a college girl, an event which ultimately seems to have caused her suicide. Add to this a detective who has a grudge against the medical profession, and it looks like curtains for the aforementioned doctor. However, Ted isn't going to take this lying down, and with the help of sympathetic friends he sets about his own investigation. The trouble is that Carnoy lay After listening to the last disc of Knife Music I'm left wondering what to make of it. Ted, a pretty cool doctor, is accused of raping a college girl, an event which ultimately seems to have caused her suicide. Add to this a detective who has a grudge against the medical profession, and it looks like curtains for the aforementioned doctor. However, Ted isn't going to take this lying down, and with the help of sympathetic friends he sets about his own investigation. The trouble is that Carnoy lays his medical expertise on us pretty heavily, not only that but the reader (listener!) spends a lot of time listening to the ramblings of the officers investigating the case. The whole thing gets a bit dragged out and becomes very flat in places. What saves Knife Music is that as it nears its conclusion the excitement builds, leading to a very unexpected twist before the curtain falls. This final chapter drags Knife Music from a 2 star rating to a 3 star one.

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