Starting off the year with two 4 star books makes me a very happy girl.
As someone who grew up idolizing John Douglas and dreaming of working for the FStarting off the year with two 4 star books makes me a very happy girl.
As someone who grew up idolizing John Douglas and dreaming of working for the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, I can't believe I had never heard of this case before. I even took a Serial Killers in Literature class in college. It surprises me that the Monster of Florence (the serial killer, not the book) isn't more well known in America. Then again (general) we are notorious for being embarrassingly unaware of anything going on beyond our own borders. Regardless, I guess knowing absolutely nothing of the case worked in my favor because it made for a riveting read. Or listen, since this was an audiobook. It helped me satisfy my Law and Order SVU cravings (a binge I've been on since getting sick in November - 6 seasons down, 8 to go) whenever I had to do responsible adult crap like dinner/laundry/dishes/errands. I also own a print copy, which was handy for the obligatory crime scene and key player photos that can be found in the middle of every true crime book. Good stuff.
You know, I can't properly review this book without spoiling something. What I can tell you is that:
1. I had high expectations going in (years of anti You know, I can't properly review this book without spoiling something. What I can tell you is that:
1. I had high expectations going in (years of anticipation will do that to you) 2. My expectations were met, if not exceeded 3. The atmosphere creeped me out enough that, at 1:30 in the morning, when I realized my husband forgot to turn the sprinklers off, I almost left them on all night rather than go out in the dark to the side of my house and turn off the water. (Granted, I am kind of chicken shit. I always check behind doors and closed shower curtains, and I've been known to sprint up the stairs after turning off all of the downstairs lights.) 4. I am bummed that it is over. I didn't want it to end, yet I couldn't put it down 5. This would make a badass movie
And for more atmosphere, add about 80% of Radiohead's music - especially Amnesiac & Hail to the Thief - to the songs below and you've got my Night Film playlist.
**Edited to add (July 28) - I was thinking about this last night and I had to come and update my review. I loved this book, but -of course- it is by no means perfect. One of the biggest problems that I had was Pessl's inability to "dumb down" character dialogue when it was necessary or appropriate. Characters would go into long monologues of explanation and I couldn't help but be jarred out of the narrative a bit. Most people do not talk like this, especially in the situations they were in (I wish I could be more specific, but spoilers and all that). For example (and keep in mind, these quotes were spoken out loud by characters:
"I was doing inventory in the back, when suddenly I was aware that all the light had retreated from the store, as if the sun had fled, cowering behind a cloud. Alarmed, I glanced up."
"When men desire each other, they crash together like wrecking balls, quenching their need right then and there, as if the world were about to end."
"... you felt as if you were following a beautiful twinkling light, luring you into the woods. As soon as you lost all sense of direction, were unable to find the way back, it turned on you viciously, exposed you nakedness, blinded you, burned you."
Great writing, but not really believable in context. Letter or journal writing, sure. Conversation? Not so much.
My least favorite of the three, but absorbing nonetheless. I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. The Irish accent and delivery of theMy least favorite of the three, but absorbing nonetheless. I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. The Irish accent and delivery of the lines, especially the dialogue, added a level of authenticity that I would have been unable to replicate in my head had I been reading the print version. ...more
So, I had the misfortune of listening to the end of this book while I happened to be making a dinner that involved ground meat and ricotta cheese. I wSo, I had the misfortune of listening to the end of this book while I happened to be making a dinner that involved ground meat and ricotta cheese. I won't go into any detail, other than to say it's a slightly stomach churning combination. My timing may have been bad, but the book itself was FUN. And hey - at least I wasn't eating my dinner yet....more
I listened to the audiobook. While it was nothing to write home about, it did provide the right amount of entertainment and distraction to get me throI listened to the audiobook. While it was nothing to write home about, it did provide the right amount of entertainment and distraction to get me through a weeks worth of housecleaning. ...more
I am one of only 10 or so people - worldwide, it seems - who thought The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sucked. I'm ok with that. The world would be a boI am one of only 10 or so people - worldwide, it seems - who thought The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sucked. I'm ok with that. The world would be a boringplaceifwealllikedthesameblah blah blah. But it did make me wonder, am I somehow missing the chromosome that is responsible for enjoyment of Scandinavian and Nordic crime fiction? Because people love this book. I entered the Good Reads giveaway for a copy of Hypothermia with the intent of answering that question. Plus, the description sounded pretty cool.
Guess what? Arnaldur came through! This book is actually the 8th in a series, but I didn't feel out of the loop by having not read the previous books (some of which I don't think are translated to english yet). The central mystery of this story is interesting: the victim is a suicide. Inspector Erlendur embarks on an unofficial investigation in the hopes of understanding just what drove this woman to such an end. Erlendur himself has a back story that's just as compelling, if not more.
I used to read a lot of crime fiction when I was younger. Not the hardboiled variety, more the CSI/Law & Order kind. I attribute that to the dream I had of one day becoming a criminal profiler for the FBI (until I realized I was to chickenshit to become a cop). John E. Douglas is still one of my personal heroes. My aspirations have since turned to medicine - primarily pathology - but it all boils down to the same interests. I like the puzzle. The helping people part is cool and all, and a really great bonus, but the assembling of clues and seemingly random bits of information into one coherent story is what really pumps my nads.
Arnaldur does this well in Hypothermia. Even when I knew where all of the puzzle pieces would go - and I fully believe it was not due to my stellar deductive reasoning, but because it was Arnaldur's intention all along - I was still just as interested in seeing them fall into place. I think what I liked most, though, was the atmosphere Arnuldur evoked. If I had synesthesia, I would probably describe this book as gray.
I began to gravitate away from genre fiction years ago*, but books like this remind me of how moronic it is to disregard entire classes of books rather than judge them individually on their own merit. Arnaldur has not only induced me to read more of his work, but he has also managed to renew my desire to read some of the other similar books on my shelves: Faceless Killers, Echoes from the Dead, The Unit, to name a few. So yeah, regarding Stieg Larsson? I guess I'm just weird like that.
*Embarrassing confession. I remember the moment this gravitation began. I was at the library in 1999, looking for a Patricia Cornwell book (shut up) when, due to the alphabetical vicinity, I came across Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend in a Coma. The rest is history....more
This is a difficult book for me to rate. I want to give the first half 4 stars and the conclusion 2 stars. The writing itself was wonderful and I readThis is a difficult book for me to rate. I want to give the first half 4 stars and the conclusion 2 stars. The writing itself was wonderful and I read the book in one sitting. However, parts of the story were predictable and I wasn't too thrilled with the end. Even so, an overall positive reading experience....more