Even though the topic (conflict between wholesome Midwestern values and Hollywood-land materialistic-fame driven ones) was not of particular interest...moreEven though the topic (conflict between wholesome Midwestern values and Hollywood-land materialistic-fame driven ones) was not of particular interest to me, I read this because I loved the co-authors' last book, A Heart Divided. But this one felt pretty flat to me. The combination of a too-good to be true family and the glitzy/empty/druggy life in L.A. just didn't appeal to either one of the polar sides of my brain. I yawned through the endless descriptions of the high life, and skimmed the earnest churchy ponderings. None of the characters had much depth, fitting neatly into categories like the recovering drug addict best friend you know will ultimately let our heroine down, the TV star boyfriend she falls for, etc.
Probably a worthy book, exploring worthy conflicts and attitudes, but somehow lacking in ooomph. (Like this review!)(less)
First half of the book, not too bad, though characters unsympathetic. But the second half is so convoluted and sick I simply don't understand why this...moreFirst half of the book, not too bad, though characters unsympathetic. But the second half is so convoluted and sick I simply don't understand why this book was such a bestseller.
I had read another Gillian Flynn and disliked the characters so much I thought, never again. But several people told me how compelling it was, and it was a huge best seller, so I thought, give the author another chance.
Now I know for sure this author is not for me. I skimmed the last half, just to find out how it came out, not because I cared what happened to the characters. I usually have a high tolerance for less than sympathetic characters, but this was just too much.
**spoiler alert** Loved reading this book, not so much because of the mystery (I guessed the outcome two thirds of the way in, because in my opinion R...more**spoiler alert** Loved reading this book, not so much because of the mystery (I guessed the outcome two thirds of the way in, because in my opinion Rowling handled a relevation in a clunky way that clearly pointed the finger at a certain individual) but because of the characters.
I loved Cormoran Strike, and Robin, while superficially too perfect, has enough surprising aspects that she felt like the ideal foil for the overweight, clumsy yet oddly attractive Cormoran. I also thought JKR did a great job of depicting faddy, high style London (I almost wrote "swinging London" before realize that would give away my age :-)) with its boozed out, pill-popping, air kissing celebs that she must be all too familiar with since her own rocket to fame.
My only complaint, as I said, was that she gave away the killer's identity in a too obvious way (Dame Agatha would have handled the revelation much more cannily) and why do authors always set things up so that their detectives meet their antagonists for the final confrontation in a lonely place, at night, and without protection? Nay, why do they have their detectives SET UP this confrontation without using any of the personal back-up you would have thought a half-wit would know to put in place?? Not only does Cormoran arrange the meeting with the killer without stowing a witness next door (preferably with a weapon), he takes off his prosthetic leg and falls asleep, naturally awaking too late to secure it back in place. I'm sorry; Rowling has made us respect Cormoran, and it is too obviously for the sake of drama that she has him behave so ineptly. The fact that every other mystery writer, for the sake of that drama, falls into the same pit, is no excuse.
Can't wait for the next Cormoran, though, I really like him! (less)