Two cultures living side by side interacting and isolating is a trope or motif which I enjoy in most writing. This series presents the small town of PTwo cultures living side by side interacting and isolating is a trope or motif which I enjoy in most writing. This series presents the small town of Painter's Mill and the two cultures--Amish and middle America--struggling to live side by side. In the middle is the intrepid Chief Burkholder with one foot in her Amish upbringing and one foot firmly planted in her new life among the Englischers.
When I first watched An Amish Murder on Lifetime (don't judge me), I liked the mystery. I was intrigued when I saw the movie was based on the novel Sworn to Silence, I thought maybe, just maybe, there was a multidimensional portrait of the Amish and their struggle to live in symbiosis with the English culture. Perhaps there were more of Chief Kate Burkholder's secrets to uncover hidden within the novels because we all know the book is always better, right? RIGHT?
Wrong. By the third installment, the prose has broken down to the point where either Kate or her love interest, Tomasetti, vow to get those evil, Amish hating, sons of bitches. Oh, those sons of bitches--so evil, so full of hate, so needing to be caught. Because they are evil sons of bitches. Sons of bitches who have taken their hatred of the Amish to the level that only evil sons of bitches can. Son. of. a. Bitch.
The Amish world serves as a stage setting, a place for those evil sons of bitches to wreak their havoc. Like the fake town in Blazing Saddles,the farms and kitchens of the Amish look Amish and smell Amish--a lantern here, a buggy there-- but there is little substance underneath. Enter Chief Katie stage left. She remembers those kind, gentle folks and now she is no longer part of their world because of an evil son of a bitch. She understands each ritual as no other person can, but her back is turned to them and theirs to her. A smattering of Pennsylvania Dutch serves as a prop for Kate to question or "overhear" information but a three dimensional portrait of the Amish fails to materialize. I'm not saying chunks of exposition had to be in each and every scene, but it would have been nice if Kate had other memories besides the fact that she was young and innocent until the evil son of a bitch came in and ruined her Amish paradise forever.
There are some good points--the mysteries are compelling. You do want to find out who the evil sons of bitches are and see them brought to justice. While Kate can be repetitive, her past IS filled with secrets and darkness with which she struggles. Her lover, Tomasetti, is also a hot mess and somehow their hot messiness works when they are together.
I doubt i'll be returning to the town of Painter's Mill. Too many evil sons of bitches.
Flea Marley started off as a unique, independent protagonist--a few ghosts, a few demons--utterly manageable. As the series progresses, I find myselfFlea Marley started off as a unique, independent protagonist--a few ghosts, a few demons--utterly manageable. As the series progresses, I find myself thinking of Lena from the Grant County series. Her downward spiral and self destructive reasoning make me want to say "Fix her or kill her!!"
Lo and behold, in the end notes and shout outs, who does Mo Hayder thank? Karin Slaughter. Explains so much.
Kill Flea or fix her.
That being said, this isn't my favorite Caffery novel. So much more could have been made of the Maude or Isaac Handel's story arc. I wanted more from Isaac and a more satisfying look inside Melanie Arrow's head. ...more
Either I am not easily scared, or like Winter People before it, this novel is not what I was expecting.
Don't get me wrong, this book is well-writtenEither I am not easily scared, or like Winter People before it, this novel is not what I was expecting.
Don't get me wrong, this book is well-written and compulsively readable. I finished it in 48 hours. I thought at first this was going to be a dystopian novel set in the future. Turns out, this novel crosses genres combining supernatural freaks with every day police procedural.
The incredibly contemporary blend of social media, millennial self-documentation, with the dangers of the internet make some of the very human characters more monstrous than the misunderstood dreamlike demon taxidermist/artist terrorizing Detroit.
I am also intrigued by the concept of ruin porn--just as soon as I get home and away from the censors of school, I plan to research this idea some more.
Add some kick-ass female characters like Layla, Cas, and Detective Gabi Versado, and this novel creates a unique world where readers can spend some quality time.
I don't know if it's the translation or the "old world" feel of these novels, but I always end up feeling like everyone is a caricature. Petty neighboI don't know if it's the translation or the "old world" feel of these novels, but I always end up feeling like everyone is a caricature. Petty neighbors, gossip, the social climbing, minding other people's business. All the bugaboos of small town living.
It keeps me from enjoying Lackberg's work more....more
Lots of misfits and fringe members of society populating this novel. I am interested to see how the author draws out the ABSOLUTELY chilling, twistedLots of misfits and fringe members of society populating this novel. I am interested to see how the author draws out the ABSOLUTELY chilling, twisted relationship between Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan. Sometimes in "serial killer" novels, the villain becomes a caricature in the vein of a "sick bastard," and whom the entire PD spends their time trying to catch. Not that this is THAT much different, but the central "perp" to this story is behind bars and way scarier than the killer who is actually killing the girls in this novel. Trust me. ...more
I don't know if this is my favorite visit to Absaroka County but Walt is in fine form. Not only can he commune with Indians, walk through bullets, hooI don't know if this is my favorite visit to Absaroka County but Walt is in fine form. Not only can he commune with Indians, walk through bullets, hook up with a pretty young thing, but in this installment, he is also a horse whisperer.
Fortunately, Walt Longmire has just enough humor and self deprecation to save him from being a cliche. The supporting characters, as always, make time spent in this fictional world feel like we are also riding the wilds of Wyoming, eating at the diner, or having a drink at the AR. Not enough of the Cheyenne Nation in this novel, though. ...more
I usually like Sandra Brown's mysteries. They're fluffy lifetime movies in handy book form. This one just dragged, though. Too many stereotypes.
ClassyI usually like Sandra Brown's mysteries. They're fluffy lifetime movies in handy book form. This one just dragged, though. Too many stereotypes.
Classy, beautiful lingerie designer who will only open for the right man. Testosterone ridden DA with a hard-on only for our heroine. Batty, Southern mother. Black model who loves voodoo. Crazed evangelicals.
Havers, woman, Havers! Havers! I have always considered it appropriate that Barbara's last name is Havers as one can always picture it being shouted iHavers, woman, Havers! Havers! I have always considered it appropriate that Barbara's last name is Havers as one can always picture it being shouted in rage or as an expletive. It's punny and appropriate.
I love this irascible, irreverent, irritating character. I read much of the Lynley series for the interactions with and the antics of DS Havers. This novel, though, is a sorry caricature of the sharp witted, dogged DS. I realize that one of Havers's blind spots has always been her neighbor, Azhar and his charming daughter Haddiyah. It has been tender, complex relationship and often a highlight in this series. Azhar has always treated Barbara with dignity and kindness, seeing in her the soft side that many others often overlook. To have both Azhar and Barbara behave so badly in this novel, it feels like a betrayal. Perhaps it is kinder to have an unattainable love interest brought down, leveled, so to speak, so that the loss feels better. After all, Barbara can never look at Azhar the same. To tarnish him so badly? It seems unfair to the reader. I doubt any of us thought Azhar would ever fall in love with Barbara, but I did always consider him a character with integrity.
Oh yeah. There was a convoluted mystery, histrionic rants, bad decision after bad decisions, and an overly simplistic ending. And Tommy tried fall in love--for a derbygirl, the love interest is proving very dull. We either needed more St. James and Deb or none whatsoever. Can't tell which but almost every character fell flat.
I have always said that George's worst effort is often better than an average writer's best effort, however, this adventure may prove me wrong.
I'm up for another adventure with Havers and Friends but I hope it improves next time around.
Walt Longmire really grows on a girl. Just ask Vic Moretti. There's so much about him that I want to dislike but gosh darn it, he won't let me.
The thrWalt Longmire really grows on a girl. Just ask Vic Moretti. There's so much about him that I want to dislike but gosh darn it, he won't let me.
The throwback chivalry? On another man, it would be chauvinistic and dismissive. On Walt, charming and thoughtful.
The Indian question? The Bear and the Rez are beginning to take on a 3 dimensional picture and even though Longmire is heap good white man, the Indians are beginning to become less of a caricature.
The one part that still bothers me is the "white man as hero" portrait that keeps being set up in these novels. Not only is Walt saving the red man but in this installment, he's also carrying the yellow man to safety during war time. I realize that fair play, stoicism, and in essence, the chivalrous notion of might for right are inherent in Longmire's character. It stands to reason, then that he would approach any situation with a strong sense of justice. However, he's starting to walk on water just a bit.
In a pivotal flashback scene, a fellow Vietnam soldier Baranski, compares himself to the chosen one--Washington and Patton--able to walk through a hail of bullets and emerge unscathed. Scales of justice being what they are, he pays for the hubris of that comment, but he is definitely set up as a foil to Longmire. Walt performs acts of super human heroism, carrying soldiers to safety, protecting the honor of the fallen ladies of Vietnam, he faces hordes of enemy soldiers armed with only a 45. Unlike Baranski, he never emerges unscathed but he does make a stand for truth, justice, and the Walt Longmire way.
By the end of the novel, the testosterone was so thick, I thought I saw some hair growing on my chest.
Seems like the last few British/Irish detective novels I have read provide a main character with an entire set of Louis Vuitton emotional baggage--incSeems like the last few British/Irish detective novels I have read provide a main character with an entire set of Louis Vuitton emotional baggage--including the garment bag and an overnight case.
Jack Caffery is no exception. A murdered brother, a manipulative girlfriend, and unresolved parental relationships--Oh My!
Still, like The Devil of Nanking, this novel was heavy on gore and the grotesque while offering a mystery with several woven threads that took a while to figure out.
I hope Caffery can unpack some of the baggage should I choose to meet up with him again....more
The parts of this novel that really kept me reading was the portrayal of the police force in Atlanta during the 70s. I liked seeing Amanda as a young,The parts of this novel that really kept me reading was the portrayal of the police force in Atlanta during the 70s. I liked seeing Amanda as a young, unsure police officer trying to get out from the shadow of her father and the sexist behavior of the other male cops. Her struggle and that of Evelyn really bring a lot of empathy to their characters since they come off as controlling matriarchs in much of the other novels.
That being said....I really like the character of Will Trent; I really do. I find his kindness, his humility, and his beta male approach refreshing. He never calls the perps "bastard, psycho, monster, or sick fucks." Nor does he swing his dick around spray the room with testosterone. Even his fear regarding his dyslexia is charming. I want Will to have a nice lady friend who loves him. I just wish it wasn't Sara. Sara Linton is quite possibly the MOST boring character in all of these novels. Although I accept these are Lifetime movies in book form, it bothers me that "traditional" relationships are seen as ideal. Middle class status quo is firmly in place. Even though Sara can't have children, she wants them and is automatically "good" with them. Perpetually understanding, bosomy, a soft place for Will to fall--he even makes her want to cook. Lovely.
I also don't like the fact that by the end of this novel Angie has become a one dimensional caricature of a bad woman. I had a lot of empathy for her in the first novel and while I realized she was damaged goods, it was understandable and her connection with Will was evident. The two definitely had an unhealthy connection but it made sense.
If anyone could make a novel about monks in a remote monastery in the wilds of Canada interesting, it would be Louise Penny and her intrepid chief insIf anyone could make a novel about monks in a remote monastery in the wilds of Canada interesting, it would be Louise Penny and her intrepid chief inspector, Armand Gamache. Unfortunately, I had a hard time sustaining interest. I wanted more inside the heads of the monks. I wanted less in the head of Beauvoir. And the final showdown between Gamache and his superior? Too heartbreaking. ...more