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The Dinosaur Feather (Søren Marhauge #1)

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,669 ratings  ·  251 reviews
How could one man inspire such hatred?

Professor Lars Helland is found at his desk with his tongue lying in his lap. A violent fit has caused him to bite through it in his death throes. A sad but simple end. Until the autopsy results come through.

The true cause of his death - the slow, systematic and terrible destruction of a man - leaves the police at a loss. And when a s
Paperback, 536 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Quercus Books (first published 2008)
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Jan 19, 2013 Prince rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
There are too many things I dislike about this book.

1. Pointless back stories - In the first few pages, we have a fairly interesting murder take place. Then follows 200 pages of back stories. Characters are introduced quickly followed by a tonne of history, all of which have nothing to do with the central mystery. And all this delivered in the rich prose found in a phone directory.

2. Everyone is angry - Yes EVERYONE. Our lead character Anna Bella Nor is an angry young woman who yells at everyone
January is often a very good reading month for some reason. That alone doesn't make a lot of sense - it's normally hot enough to melt the tin on the roof, which isn't conducive to concentration. Making THE DINOSAUR FEATHER look like a rather risky choice. At 535 pages it was way too big for any struggle with concentration, and after starting the book and finding myself deep in discussions on paleo-ornithology and not a lot of "crime action", I was feeling somewhat sceptical to say the least. Add ...more
Dec 16, 2012 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
The Dinosaur Feather is a very different book from the norm. It is compared to the Millennium Trilogy but the similarities are few and far between.

The basic plot is the same as any whodunnit- in this case a scientist is killed horribly. It's seen from the perspective of three characters- Anna Bella, a student studying towards her thesis, Soren, the detective in charge of the case and Adam Freeman, an American scientist who is the murdered scientist's big rival.

The book isn't about the murders,
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: How could one man inspire such hatred?

Professor Lars Helland is found at his desk with his tongue lying in his lap. A violent fit has caused him to bite through it in his death throes. A sad but simple end. Until the autopsy results come through.

The true cause of his death - the slow, systematic and terrible destruction of a man - leaves the police at a loss. And when a second member of Helland's department disappears, their attention turns to a postgrad
Rick Urban
"The Dinosaur Feather"'s first chapter is something of a synecdoche. It is a long, rambling account of our main character, Anna Bella Nor, who seems to be an archaeologist in the 1870s who is uncovering the remains of Archaeopteryx, an ancient bird, while on a dig in Southern Germany. The chapter even begins with the heading "Solnhofen, Southern Germany, April 1877". It depicts in fine detail how Anna has been there for months, covered in dust, having philosophical arguments with the head of the ...more
I give up on Scandinavian mysteries. What could have been an interesting story, with some fun science, got lost in insufferable, meandering minutiae; unpleasant, unbelievable characters; and a total lack of editing.

Seriously it was if you and your friend walked past a yellow street sign and your friend later that day regaled a group of co-workers with the following: "We walked past a yellow street sign, painted but not installed by John Baumberg, who had painted yellow signs for many years after
Apparently being named Danish Crime Novel of the Decade is like being the Checkers Champion of the Oklahoma Panhandle; a distinction of no distinction.

While the book is a terrible disappointment from every angle, the book is readable, and there is a mystery plot (view spoiler), but the selling of this book as a mystery is false. The selling of this book as a science thriller is false. The selling of this book as a crime novel is false. The academic subplot is
You ever have that moment where you are really excited to read a book that you put aside all the others (yes, I did say others as I usually have about 3 to 4 books open at the same time) you are currently reading? Well that is what I did when this book arrived. I quickly realized that sometimes a book may sound good and the cover is cool but that does not make the book good.

I got to about chapter three and than realized that this book and I were not going to become good friends. The storyline g
Never judge a book by its cover they say. The cover shouted, "If you liked The Killing, you will like this book". How wrong the publishers were. Cheap publicity stunt that. The book is a discourse on biology of birds coupled with detailed personal histories of a smorgasbord of very different characters, in the backdrop of a couple of murders. A thriller, in the strict sense, it is not. I had to skim through the pages having content which would interest only the most hardcore of biologists and pa ...more
As much an exploration into the long term effects of childhood events as a murder mystery, The Dinosaur Feather revolves around the horrific murder of a respected Danish scientist and the ripples this causes across the international world of paleo-biology. The novel is not without flaws, and towards the end one might wonder why Soren, the detective, even bothers, but I found the back stories to Anna Bella, Soren and Clive Freeman, the murder victim's arch rival, compelling and the subtle interpl ...more
Bogen ville alt, alt for meget. Det var ALT for mange baggrundsfortællinger, og de fik ikke hver især nok plads. Men alligevel fyldte det meget, og hovedhistorien forsvandt lidt i baggrunden... Syntes hellere ikke *jeg* fik følelsen af at være med til at "løse" mysteriet...
Men jeg er ikke i tvivl om at Sissel-Jo Gazan SKRIVER godt, hun vil, desværre, bare alt for meget med tanke på hvad sidetal hun arbejder med.
I guess technically this is a murder mystery, since two people die mysteriously of unnatural causes. Except that once you have all the information, the who, the why, and the how become quite clear very quickly - which is to say that the mystery is not the most important part of the book. It is a story about parents and children, loss, obsession, fear - and yet manages to be uplifting in the end because it is also a story about redemption and second chances. And there are dinosaurs, woohoo! This ...more
Rasmus Paulsen
I was very impressed by this book. In particular, I liked the characters. The setting at the institute for Biology, KU is fun (since I know it). The mix of scientific discussions and murder mysteries worked very well. Even though it is exagerated, I can still recognise the fight for funding and the internal university politics.
After something of a dry-spell with finding Scandinavian mysteries that live up to their reputation, I nearly passed this one up. Though its premise initially intrigued, my recent strikeouts with the subgenre and with translated fiction in general gave me pause. But after hearing a rather mixed bag of reviews, I decided that I would just have to try it out for myself...

And though the first chapter is far from intriguing (the dream landscape is frankly alienating and sets the stage for an entirel
Howard Cincotta
The Danish literary establishment did first-time novelist S. J. Gazan no favors with its high praise for The Dinosaur Feather, and if this is the country’s best crime novel of the last decade – as the blurbs claim – then Danish literature is in serious trouble.

Which is sad because the book is a respectable first-time effort with an intriguing plot premise that Gazan does not yet have the skills to deliver. A Scandinavian mystery featuring a beleaguered single-mother graduate student, strange co
My reading time could have been better spent.

1. I do not like the main character Anna Bella Nor. Her anger issues, sneering, and constant stomping away become old quickly. In other books with an unlikeable main character, the reader is supposed to feel dislike; here I sense a certain expectation to sympathize with - to like - the unlikeable Anna Bella and I just don't.

2. I do not like the secondary characters. The reader (me) spends way too much time reliving everyone's bad childhoods and it (mo
Martha Bullen
If you enjoy unpredictable, intelligent mysteries in an international setting, this book is for you.

The Dinosaur Feather caught my eye due to its unusual title and a positive review in Publishers Weekly and on NPR. I was further intrigued when I learned this debut mystery novel was named The Crime Novel of the Decade by the Danish Broadcasting Corp. I'm glad I read it.

Set in the cloistered world of academia, where serious scientists are engaged in research at the University of Copenhagen, this n
Dinosaurs are “sexy,” and the question of what became of them is glamorous.

Where do you draw the line between birds and reptiles in the evolutionary timeline? This is a debate that has gone on for decades. In the world of academia, where competition for funding is fierce and disagreements over how to interpret evidence can take the form of decades-long feuds carried out in academic journals and at conferences, media coverage means more publicity, and that means more money. Anna Bella Nor has ess
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In most books published by Quercus readers can expect a lot of information to chew on, and this debut novel by a Scandinavian author is no exception.

In what is hyped as the "Danish Crime Novel of the Decade" (bit early for that, isn't it?) Anna Bella Nor, single mother and aspiring biologist, is only weeks away from defending her thesis on the origin of birds when her supervisor is murdered in a particularly gruesome way.

Soren Marhauge, Denmark’s youngest Police Superintendent, is assigned the

I was tempted to give this three stars for what I thought were some of the excesses and inconsistencies of the plot, but in the end, I just couldn't resist four stars on the strength of the real dinosaur science embedded in the book (courtesy of the author's biology background) and the fact she took the trouble to give us full back stories on nearly every major character, including their childhoods, their personal crises and their family dynamics.

I also was intrigued by the fact that both the pr
I liked this book very much. While others have criticized the book for the extreme science detail about whether birds are descendant from dinosaurs or descendant from a common ancestor and the non-essential back stories of the major and minor characters. I loved the book for the difference.
The main character is not overly concerned that her professor is murdered; she is solely focused on presenting her dissertation and earning her masters of science at the University of Copenhagen. She is angry
Rikke Andrup Jensen
Historien druknede i alt for mange lange baggrundsfortællinger. Jeg mistede flere gange tråden og skulle kæmpe mig tilbage på sporet igen. Der er rigtig mange involverede og de får alle sammen meget "spalte-plads" til deres livshistorie.

Når det er sagt, er der selvfølgelig en historie gemt bag personerne. Men heller ikke denne fandt jeg særlig interessant. Måske skyldes det, at tingene blev for teoretisk og kedeligt til min smag. Opklaringarbejdet blev viklet ind i fortællinger og jeg fik ikke l
Cat clark
Well done mystery but i wasn't sure if I actually "liked" and could empathize with the main character until very near the end. Maybe deliberate on the part of the author to accentuate the characters strength but at times she came across as a stone bitch. Inspector Marhauge on the other hand was lovable from the get go. It was a rare glimpse into the world of Science Academia and indeed the science of biology and paleontology that made this a fascinating read.
Another avalanche of irrelevant detail from the Scandinavians... seriously, as well as all the detailed palaeontology, for the first half of the book every time a character appears and I thought we were getting to some action, we had to have a long account of a troubled (or fine-but-in-retrospect-troubled) childhood. No need for that, nor for the many versions of child-parent relationships, though that is obviously a deliberate theme here. As a result the central mystery, which is indeed pretty ...more
Nene La Beet
Læser ikke rigtigt krimier mere, men med de anmeldelser hendes nye bog (Svalens graf) har fået, kunne jeg ikke stå for halv-pris tilbuddet fra forlaget på denne. Og jeg blev sandelig belønnet - en sjældent velskrevet dansk krimi med et super godt plot og nogle meget veltegnede karakterer. Jeg er ret vild med, at der finder så få mord sted og at morderne ikke er bestialske seriemordere, men ... nå, skal da ikke afsløre handlingen.

Et par steder savnede jeg en skarp redaktør - der er nogle usandsyn
Marianne Meyers
What is the big deal about this book? It was ok. And what is the penchant for filling a book with unlikeable characters for whom there is little sympathy? I find this trend tiring.
Douglas Cook
First sentences

Chapter 1
Solnhofen, Southern Germany, 5 April 1877
Anna Bella Nor was dreaming she had unearthed Archaeopteryx, the earliest and most primitive bird known. The excavation was in its sixth week, a fine layer of soil had long since embedded itself into everyone’s faces and the mood had hit rock bottom. Friedemann von Molsen, the leader of the excavation , was the only one still in high spirits. Every morning when Anna staggered out of her tent, sleepy and shivering in the cold, von
I, too, was lead to this book by NPR'S Maureen Corrigan. I loved the Millennium mysteries, and was not immediately put off by the scientific topic. I was prepared for a thrilling read.

I couldn't wait to finish this book. Not out of a sense of a great read, but more of a college assignment where, by the end, I could care less about the characters. The story p-l-o-d-s. Too many details, too many back stories, too many unfinished stories, even when it comes to the main characters.

Anna Bella Nor is
After reading excellent reviews, I expected this to be a really good mystery with well written dialogue, descriptions, etc. but was slightly disappointed. In the beginning the writing seems first class, but as I read on it became repetitious, melodramatic and at times the translation was not quite English. Also the characters did things that were illogical--screaming at each other, not answering phones, disappearing for no obvious reason.

Anna-Bella Nor is to defend her thesis on the continuing
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