I loved the characters. They are all very themselves and very unique although some of them live a bit of a cliché, which is okay and convincingly writ...moreI loved the characters. They are all very themselves and very unique although some of them live a bit of a cliché, which is okay and convincingly written by William Shaw. The story itself is not new and therefore lives from those characters. Breen is old-fashioned and introvert, a bit shy and yet curious. Tozer is his absolute opposite, loud and present and she demands. She wants to do things, wants to get their investigation to the next step and she pushes Breen to go on and further, where he would have gotten trapped in his mind-maze. He however manages to slow her down when it is appropriate to tread more carefully. I loved their dynamic right from the start.
The minor-ish characters are all very individual and I really like it when authors have the ability to show so many different personalities. Not just puppets that get used to let the story continue, but who make you curious for their very own personal backgrounds. A bit sad was the lack of atmosphere. London 1968. I expected some more… yes, atmosphere and not just the casual dropping of brand names from that era here and there. There was so much more potential and it just rippled away a little. It is definitely a good crime novel but it is not a good 1968-crime-novel and since it was not really letting the reader “feel” the year the narration was set in. I still like it though.(less)
I love all kind of apocalyptic and dystopian stories and of course “The Walk” piqued my interest when I read the description. At first we meet a very u...moreI love all kind of apocalyptic and dystopian stories and of course “The Walk” piqued my interest when I read the description. At first we meet a very unsympathetic protagonist. A selfish, weepy prick who – which is understandable to a certain degree – seeks to not get into any further trouble in the city that became a nightmare after the earthquake and as he wanders the streets to get home to his wife.
Very soon there is more about it than just the journey home. I figured out the “plot twist” a whole while before it was actually revealed to the reader but it still was a moment of silent contemplation. I liked the idea (and can’t say more about it here without any major spoilers).
It was not quite what I expected when I bought the book, but I enjoyed reading it. There were some rather comical and yet bizarre scenes in it, that as odd as they may have seemed, they could actually happen exactly int he way Lee Goldberg wrote them, because humans are always acting predictably the same in the face of such radical events.(less)
It is impossible for me to put into words what the work of Richard Siken does to your heart and your mind. His words are so enormously fantastic. Viole...moreIt is impossible for me to put into words what the work of Richard Siken does to your heart and your mind. His words are so enormously fantastic. Violent and heart wrenching. Sometimes gentle but always from a restlessness that takes you away and tosses you from page to page into tragedies and and stories about love, requited, unrequited, answered, unanswered. It doesn’t matter who you love or loved. You will understand as long as you had loved at all.
It took me a bit to get used to the writing style. It differs from chapter to chapter between first person and third person narration. Once I got the...moreIt took me a bit to get used to the writing style. It differs from chapter to chapter between first person and third person narration. Once I got the hang of it, I found it very fitting for the story itself. What was most strikingly was the blurred line between “good” and “evil”. This wasn’t a story about the good police officers taking the bad guys from the gangs to the station. Both sides get their view points, characters on both sides get their voice and their depth. The middle part was a bit very easygoing on comparison to the beginning of the book, that took us right into the middle of what was going on in the life of DI Kennedy. The final was equally thrilling but took the arc of suspense even further and I was glued to the pages and felt like I couldn’t read fast enough to get to know what will happen next.
The writing is – even apart from the change of first and third person narration – very unique. I had some trouble to grasp everything that was told but that doesn’t derogate how much I enjoyed reading this book, that I found purely by chance and bought out of a feeling in the guts that it will be one of those works that don’t get much attention although they should. A great, unique and very interesting read.(less)
What a story! What a fantastic storytelling and the writing was superb. I fell in love with Harry Hole – like so many others apparently – and Sean Bar...moreWhat a story! What a fantastic storytelling and the writing was superb. I fell in love with Harry Hole – like so many others apparently – and Sean Barrett is an incredible narrator.
He finds the right voice to underline the murk of the story, this undertone of melancholy that ever so often swings in between the sentences. The characters were so well developed and even with this being my first book of the entire series (there are 10 in the whole as far as I’m aware of) I hadn’t any trouble to take to them.
There re quite some plot twists in it and – as always when I talk about audiobooks – I had some trouble to keep up. The changes between action and tranquility had been very well balanced and even the smaller side storylines had been very well balanced. They kept the whole story interesting without cluttering it or letting the golden thread vanish under too much information. Everything got brought together in the end and this makes it a satisfying book.
I loved it. I loved the writing, the storytelling, the story itself, the narrator. It was worth the rather restless nights where I forced myself to stay awake for another hour because I had to know what is happening. What better reason could their be to not being able to find some sleep? I definitely tasted blood (pun not intended) and I will definitely read all 9 books.(less)
John Donoghue found me first. He has got a Twitter account and followed my account(s) and this is how I discovered his book. I’m part of a Sherlock rol...moreJohn Donoghue found me first. He has got a Twitter account and followed my account(s) and this is how I discovered his book. I’m part of a Sherlock roleplay / writer community over there and I guess the – as I have to admit – little misleading title I borrowed for my username might have been the reason why I got discovered by him. I had a look at his profile and was immediately interested. Police officer AND author? Take my money! Peoople who know me better will surely get why the next thing I did was buying “Police, Crime & 999″. ;) I don’t know what I expected, the reviews I read had been quite divided but never judge a book by its cover (or in this case its reviews.) First of all: I felt very well entertained. If Mr Donoghue has one thing it is definitely a very cynical gallow’s humour. You either like that or you will have some struggle with some chapters. A bit too many saucy innuendos for my taste, but if you are able to not feel offended the book offers a good overview of the everyday madness (read: people a.k.a. idiots) a police officer has to face during his shifts. His anecdotes and stories made me laugh and they made me think. There are a few, very strong paragraphs where Mr Donoghue actually drops his mask and let me gain the impression this was honestly him speaking and not the cheeky bloke who always knows a catchphrase for any given situation. For example:
However, being a bloke, I wasn’t used to talking about feelings. Not many of my colleagues are. Not even tucking the subject in between the sports and weather. I know it’s not good for me. I know I should be getting things out, discussing them, purging the demons from my soul …but instead, like a lot of my workmates, I bottle it all up and bury those difficult thoughts, horrific experiences and bad memories. You can never bury them deep enough though, and sometimes when you are innocently digging around for something else in your subconscious, you uncover one of those things you thought you had put behind you. I really should learn to be more emotional, more sentimental, deal with issues effectively when they occur, but I just don’t seem to have the ability to open up, I just can’t seem to allow my guard to drop. Maybe it’s been ingrained in me too long. I’ve been a sailor, a soldier and now a police officer. It just doesn’t seem to be the done thing. I can’t seem to let the facade drop. We’re supposed to be the ones people depend on.
I also highly appreciate the “inside” informations and few bits and bites of history and statistics here and there. It was very interesting to read but not too cluttered. It was a very well balanced mixture of facts, inside views, personal view (I really would have loved more of those!) and stories that are funny and occasionally bitter in the aftertaste. One minor thing that was a bit exhausting after a while, was the repetition of the phrase “But I disgress”. I know that it was meant to mellow up the flow and lead back to the golden thread but it didn’t quite want to fit into the entire storytelling itself. Nevertheless “Police, Crime and 999″ is a book I really enjoyed reading and I’ll surely get my greedy bookaddict fingers on the sequel “Police, Lies and Alibis”.
One last thing I’d like to share is a further quote I really, really loved:
I finally had time on my own to sit in quiet reflection. There’s no doubt that being a police officer changes you. Roughly translated, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said something along the lines of ‘Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster’. Repellent as they may be, I don’t really classify the likes of Drew Peacock and Hugh Janus as out and out monsters. I hadn’t yet reached the stage where I stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back at me and then looked away in shame. However, in some way I felt I’d lost what was left of my innocence – that in some ways life had maybe lost a bit of its mystery. Dealing with the worst that society can offer certainly makes you more cynical. To a certain degree, I also felt that I had become de-sensitised to life. Dead bodies, cruelty, neglect – whereas they may have given me sleepless nights in the past – they were now just jobs that had to be dealt with. On the other hand, I’d fitted a lifetime of new adventure into just one year, and had so many good laughs that my sides ached, had real job satisfaction and felt some genuine camaraderie again. Some experiences were good, some were bad, but all taught me a lesson one way or another. They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, except for polio, of course. To me, the pros vastly outweighed the cons (insert your own punchline here). The office of Constable is certainly the best position I’d ever held.
“Pure” left to my astonishment just a fleeting impression. The writing was great – some bumpy dialogues aside, which I’d like to blame the format (aud...more“Pure” left to my astonishment just a fleeting impression. The writing was great – some bumpy dialogues aside, which I’d like to blame the format (audiobook) for. It gets a bit unnerving when each sentence ends with “he said” or “she said”. – the images and sceneries very well written and the atmosphere rather catching, but still… It didn’t “click”. As I wrote in a former review I always had my difficulties with audiobooks but since I gave them another try I found a method to listen to books and actually keep up with the story. I failed with “Pure”. I found it difficult to follow all those little side stories and keep track of them and apparently (I read other reviews) I wasn’t the only one. Audiobook aside. I’ll surely give it a second try and will pay better attention to the whole development.
Another big compliment to the narrator, Jonathan Aris, who read so brilliantly and I’d like to sign a petition that he has to read more books with French vocabulary in them. His sense for languages is drop down magnificent. Contrary to his reading for “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” he didn’t quite manage the distinction between each character he so skilfully used in “Jacob de Zoet”. All in all a good but slightly disappointing “read”, but nevertheless surely worth a try.(less)
The story started great, it had some great parts but all in all I’m quite disappointed. Everything was a bit too far fetched and too forced in my opin...moreThe story started great, it had some great parts but all in all I’m quite disappointed. Everything was a bit too far fetched and too forced in my opinion. It was like Henning Mankell wanted to actually write a book about South Africa and its difficult political and cultural ways (the book was finished 1994) and just thought it would reach more people if he’d sell it under the name “A Wallander Thriller”.
I still loved his approach of Inspector Wallander, who is all but flawless. I like protagonists with personal struggles that make them into believable characters and not the “superheros” that can often be found in other novels. Wallander is a police officer – and a rather good one – but he is also a human being. He hates and detests, worries and makes mistakes.
Mistakes happen. But the amount of “unfortunate events” and mistakes was a bit too constructed for my liking. A telex misses the second page, the second attempt is wonky, as well and in the end the message still reaches the South African colleagues almost too late. Yeah, okay. As well as the woman from the airport who is usually always so attentive but lets on exactly this day exactly this one man go through the check in without paying further attention. I know that those things can happen but I think it didn’t do the story here any good. Way too much forcing the circumstances to fit into the storyline.
Another point that bothered me a little was the translation. I’m not a native English speaker, but I think the translation from Swedish to English was… not one of the best. Some words were a bit questionable in the context they had been used and a few sentences were a little out of order. They still made sense but let me stumble a little while reading.
A fairly good read, but not a good Wallander Thriller, as deplorable as it is.(less)
I had been sceptic. I read works by Julian Barnes before and had very mixed feelings about his storytelling. The first book I read was “A History of t...moreI had been sceptic. I read works by Julian Barnes before and had very mixed feelings about his storytelling. The first book I read was “A History of the World in 10½ Chapters” in German translation, which I loved but found quite verbose in some parts. The second was “The Sense of an Ending” which I absolutely didn’t like. The story was boring, the protagonists idiots. Maybe one can blame the story itself, it was simply not my cup of tea.
And now “Arthur & George”. Like stated before I had been sceptic since “The Sense of an Ending” was (for me!) a little bit disappointing but Arthur & George is a great book! I grew quite fond of Mr Barnes’ writing and I really like it how he gave the two main protagonists their voices back (as well as the secondary characters). I think it must be a real challenge for an author to write a novel about historic personalities and the more famous the person was the higher the bar is raised.
As far as I was able to tell his research and background knowledge about George Edalji’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s lives and whatabouts was absolutely neat and thorough. If he did leave something aside in his story it didn’t make itself conspicuous. He didn’t add what wasn’t to be proven by secondary sources and all in all his approach of a rather difficult topic and two very different and not less difficult personalities was tender and well thought of.
Like ”A History of the World in 10½ Chapters” this book as well had some lengthy parts but the entirety of greatly drawn characters (the lot of them), interesting parts and an insight to two very different life careers whose paths crossed more or less by chance, completely made up for it.
I was quite surprised and didn’t expect to enjoy this book so much.(less)
The book is introvert and tranquil. The story is a forth and back between what has been and what is; past and present. Mr. Banville manages it to creat...moreThe book is introvert and tranquil. The story is a forth and back between what has been and what is; past and present. Mr. Banville manages it to creat a very distinct atmosphere. The narrator contemplates over his first love, childhood and how it changed during just one summer. He ponders over recent events, namely the death of his wife. While he does so, the tune of his telling is distant but not free of a certain fondness. He doesn’t go overboard with grief or nostalgia; he reflects. All those events and about himself. Like everyone of us, he as well is not flawless and he knows it or comes to realise it the further he carries the reader through the story. Don’t expect a storytelling novel here. There are two main strings of stories that get told, but they stay in the background as golden threads while the narrator gives us an insight of himself. It is a long, greatly written farewell to childhood and loved ones.
John Banville has a wonderful way with words. I loved his writing and his view for tiny details in a scenery that – stressed out – benefitted the entire atmosphere of a scene described. The only thing that slightly bugged me (but more out of personal preference) was the narrator’s view of women. They are all a bit dull and chubby. His daughter aside. Nevertheless still a very great book, with a lot of unasked questions in between the lines that lets one ponder over oneself, past and present. I liked the little twist on the last 10 pages but this review shall remain “spoiler free”.(less)
Audiobooks and I have a very complicated relationship. We are not particularly friends, but we are getting along. I usually listen to them while slowl...moreAudiobooks and I have a very complicated relationship. We are not particularly friends, but we are getting along. I usually listen to them while slowly falling asleep since my partner is a snorer and my mind apparently always in need for entertainment before finally shutting up.
The problem here is obvious. I fall asleep before a chapter is finished an have to listen to some passages more than one or two times. Often my thoughts start to wander and I lose track of what is happening in the story, but the combination of “lying in bed in the dark” and “audiobook” seems to work astonishingly well. I can’t say that I grasped everything of the story, but like to think that I understood the main threads of it. I’ve never been a huge fan of Japan or overly interested in the culture like many others happen to be (the Manga and Anime culture makes it possible) but I was able to follow the descriptions and understand how different those two cultures – Japanese and Dutch – are and what a living on the edge it must have been for the protagonists.
A very huge compliment to the two narrators, Paula Wilcox and Jonathan Aris. Especially the latter is a fantastic reader. He modulates a unique way to speak for every single character. Even with forgetting their names, which were partly rather complicated when you just listen to them, I was able to recognise the person by the way Mr Aris let him or her speak.
In between it was so thrilling that I forgot about sleep and had to listen to the book for 2 hours straight (and actually fight sleep back), because I simply needed to know what would happen. The end left me with a feeling of sad happiness or happy sadness but I will refrain from giving away too many details. It is one of the bittersweet parts of this entire story.
David Mitchell is a wonderful writer, as far as I can tell, and he gave his characters a lot of depth and personality. All of them. The good guys and the bad ones. His researches on Japanese and Dutch culture, history and language must have taken ages and although I’m far from being an expert, it is obvious to me, that he put a lot of thought into it.
This book will be a companion for a while, because there is just so much to think and ponder over and maybe at some point I will listen to it again, just for the joy of it.(less)
All is ashen. All is grey. This impression is a returning image throughout the book. You get the idea about the world how it now is quite quickly and s...moreAll is ashen. All is grey. This impression is a returning image throughout the book. You get the idea about the world how it now is quite quickly and still there are waiting new horrors and absurdities with every further step "the boy" and his father take. Slowly, very slowly they turn the tables and it is heart wrenching and hurting to witness. Their dialogues are short and often consist of the repitition of the same phrases and words over and over again. There is hardly more to talk about when what you see is always the same and just changing from time to time in the level of anxiety. Even a safe place feels too unsafe after a while and they move on and on till the change is completed... but telling more would be telling spoilers. When you least expect it, McCarthy throws essential questions at you and you stop reading, re-read that one sentence or passage and you have to put the book aside for a moment or a few minutes to let that sink in. It is a depressing and sad story and yet brilliant in its repetition of grey and ashen. The style of writing is odd in the beginning but one gets used to it the farther the story goes on. In the end you can be sure that the fire will always be carried on. (less)