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The Dinosaur Feather

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  1,292 ratings  ·  215 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 26th 2011 by Quercus (first published 2008)
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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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Den første videnskabelige roman i serien om politimanden Søren, jeg gik ind til den med stor spænding, og blev da både overrasket og lidt skuffet…

Bogen er velskrevet, gode dialoger, men ind imellem lidt for fyldige og tunge videnskabelige termer – det ødelagde en smule af læseoplevelsen for mig, og gjorde det svært at fastholde fordybelsen… Men skal retfærdigvis sige, at et stykke inde i bogen begynder den at gro på mig :)

Persongalleriet er mangfoldigt, og selv om nogle er bedre beskrevet end an
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
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
Ray Palen
Who would have that the scientific debate over whether or not the dinosaurs evolved into birds or were a completely separate species would get so intense that it would incite one to murder.

That is the general premise of this dynamic and highly original Scandinavian noir thriiler, THE DINOSAUR FEATHER. A young PHD hopeful named Anna is out to impress her despised and feared graduate advisor with her thesis on dinosaur and avian research. When the despised Dr. Lars Helland is found brutally murder
Lana N.
Well, boy, I dk what to think, still one of the strangest books, I ever read! I sure couldn't get into all the talk about dinosaurs having evolved from birds.

Of course, I knew that Troels was the killer of one of the main characters, Johannes, which, speaking of I read & learned more then I ever wanted to about cross dressing goths and the smdb humiliating/submissive/dom. relationship, Johannes thus had w. Troels, I didn't know who the killer of Professor Helland was but then no one could s
Jan Underhill
A thoroughly absorbing whodunit with more than an undercurrent of personal, social and sexual intrigue. It paints an entertainingly grim portrait of scientific academia and the cutthroat competition to survive in an underfunded world, adding in the particular challenges faced by an ambitious female PhD candidate/single mother who is struggling both to manage her life and her temper.
Jan 20, 2014 Linden rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adult readers

The Dinosaur Feather by S. J. Gazan, translated by Charlotte Barslund

At the turning of every year, I make a point of listening to the book recommendations from Maureen Corrigan of Georgetown University on NPR's Fresh Air. I find I can credit her suggestions.

(Recommendations are a useful thing whether the recommender reflects one's own taste or not. I discovered years ago when I lived in Florida that praise-worthy movie recommendations from a particular local reviewer were guaranteed to be preci
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.
The book was interesting when the plot was being developed and some of the information about dinosaurs was fine. When it side tracked into character development and background, it was boring, long winded, badly edited, and rather poorly done. It had some facts wrong like the professor living on Vancouver Island next to the University of British Columbia. (Try about a five hour ferry and car ride between the two.) It made me wonder about the biology facts which I am much more ignorant of than geo ...more
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