**spoiler alert** In the not-too-distant future, the sharp divides between rich and poor grow even more rigid, while earthquakes and environmental dis...more**spoiler alert** In the not-too-distant future, the sharp divides between rich and poor grow even more rigid, while earthquakes and environmental disasters devastate populations. In an effort to save themselves from the lost city of LA, a couple heads out into the woods and claims an abandoned shack for their home. Things grow more complicated when a pregnancy is discovered, and their semi-comfortable isolation is replaced with a longing for other people that might help their child survive.
The first 100 pages of this book are fast paced and fascinating, presenting a future America that could actually happen. A lot of detail is offered to allow you to see what they're looking at, and how conclusions are drawn. It's a bit of a mystery why going feral meant summoning your inner Little House on the Prairie and hunkering down for some woman's work (like endless laundry) but who said sexism is dead? Things really fall apart when the hunt for civilization begins.
I don't understand why they were never curious enough to follow August. It's unclear why Cal feels so afraid of "the Spikes"; there's nothing presented in the description of Mr. Miller's investigation that left me a sense of anxiety or reasonable fear. There's no rhyme or reason to the Millers committing suicide. I'm never certain about what Frida looks like, which nagged at me at various places. They seem too mentally sound for people completely alone except for each other, and there's nothing playful about their personalities to indicate how they might amuse themselves. In other words: the central characters are deeply boring. By the time they actually entered the spikes, I felt like I was reading a Lost episode taking place in the Walking Dead's environment. I scanned pages and then began rapidly flipping, hunting for something interesting, shocking, or terrible that might happen and pull me onward towards the end. Finally, I decided to stop reading. The first part was great, but I didn't care what happened to any of the characters, and it's impossible to get through a book with indifference. (less)
The Zodiac murders of the 1960s and 70s were infamous for being unsolved and for the special attention-seeking nature of the perpetrator. This book is...moreThe Zodiac murders of the 1960s and 70s were infamous for being unsolved and for the special attention-seeking nature of the perpetrator. This book is written by Gary Stewart, who believes himself to be the son of the true Zodiac. In the beginning we're provided crucial background about Gary Stewart's childhood, which is the first big reveal that both his biological parents were shady individuals, and that his father was potentially a psychopath. It informed being raised by adoptive parents, and not meeting his biological mother until later in life when she sought him out. As Stewart began to learn more about his family, he unpeeled layer after layer of evidence that his father might be responsible for these crimes. Some evidence is anecdotal; the more disappointing parts delve into wild speculation about his father's whereabouts and motivations, fictionalized to the point of being distracting. However, there are very strong pieces of evidence (I won't reveal to avoid spoiling it for others) that show this isn't an empty pursuit spun out of the imagination of someone who needs to demonize a father who neglected to raise him.
Or is it?
I appreciate the use of the coauthor as it strengthened the literary merit of the work, and the amount of detail, including photos, documents, handwriting analysis, etc., chronicling the journey lends higher credibility. However, there's still that lingering question: why is he doing this? This question is also posed to him in the book by his mother, who has other children who would be harmed through their biological father being "outed" as the perpetrator of these crimes. He doesn't really answer her as to why he persists all the same, and as a result doesn't really answer the reader. There's also no statement from the San Francisco Police Department as to why they've been so uncooperative in regards to resolving this case. At the very least, there should have been notation that the department refused to comment. (less)
I decided to conclude a day of small victories by wandering down to Powell’s to peruse books while slurping on coffee in the adjacent caffeine hut. I...moreI decided to conclude a day of small victories by wandering down to Powell’s to peruse books while slurping on coffee in the adjacent caffeine hut. I snagged “We Were Liars” off their Recommended Reading table and got comfortable. Three hours later I looked up. The book was finished, the coffee shop was empty, and I should have known better than to pick up a book with an endorsement from John “Grief Porn” Green on the cover. The last few chapters are roundhouse kicks to the throat. There should be a list of counselors provided for support. It’s beautifully written, drawing you in to the pulse of every character, and chronicles undoing with accuracy and grace. The suspense is great, the plotting marvelous, and I’m not giving any of it away. Suffice it to say I was left no choice but to stop at the nearest grocery store and use quarters to purchase comfort food I never eat unless the desire surfaces to poison myself. This is the only chance of restoring order to my insides so I can dream of dragons and mermaids tonight instead of seawater that cleanses nothing. This book is horrible. This book is wonderful. I’m never going to Powell’s again. (I’m lying.)(less)
Camille is a reporter with a Chicago newspaper when the murder of a young girl sends her back to the town she left behind. There she quickly connects...moreCamille is a reporter with a Chicago newspaper when the murder of a young girl sends her back to the town she left behind. There she quickly connects two murders with eerie similarities, and considers that everyone in the town is a suspect in the hunt for a serial killer they're desperate to find before the next strike.
Compared to "Dark Places," this novel is exactly meh. I figured out the bulk of the plot 30 pages in, and by page 98 I knew the whole thing. The total absence of suspense is irritating. With such an obvious case with no other suspects that surface as anything other than laughable (and no, I don't consider the brother a reasonable suspect, particularly because it was never explained why he would be considered one in the first place) it's baffling that it took an entire book to piece it all together. Then there are all the unanswered questions (SPOILERS):
1.) If her mother is so uneasy about surprise guests, why doesn't Camille call first and tell her that she's coming? 2.) If Camille, mom and sister all went clothes shopping for a party, when was the party? 3.) SERIOUS SPOILER: If a band of thirteen year-old girls was ultimately responsible for the deaths of two young girls, how exactly did they transport the bodies? Who drove? Did they not have to drive? How did they manage to arrange a body presumably killed elsewhere in an ally in broad daylight without the aid of a vehicle? 4.) One of the girls (Jodes, I think?) is repeatedly referenced as being uneasy, uncomfortable, miserable around the other girls in the pack. Why does no one ever ask her what's wrong? 5.) Considering that Camille is supposed to be someone who got through college and got a job, how can we believe that she never suspected her mother of causing the illnesses of her sister, particularly when she was so uneasy around her mother? It might have been believable if she had this dream relationship with her mother, but the fact that she never enjoyed her company makes the absence of curiosity just...odd. 6.) Each of the girls murdered is considered smart and a little bit off, but it's never explained why girls considered smart would trust anyone as overtly creepy as Little Sis.
Then there's the repeated references to how beautiful Camille is. Sigh. It got so silly by the end that it was reading like Barbie's murder mystery. I kept going all the way to the end because I really appreciate the author's ability to piece together a deeply disturbed family. The ways in which neurosis and misery endure the test of time and pass from one generation to the next is the type of sour psychological soup I really get into. The emotional distance and need for physical pain presented as believable, even if Alan was a non character and it never became clear what dear old mum generally did with her time. I wonder what Flynn would do if she simply gave herself more space to work with through a book series, or let mentally unstable characters interacting with the mundane drive the plot of the novel, instead of trying to present a mystery that isn't mysterious.
Those who found this remotely interesting should check out "Dark Places," because it's truly good. This one is exactly okay.
I picked up this book after reading "Dark Places," which I thought was amazing.
Gone Girl alternates between two perspectives: Nick, a man in the mids...moreI picked up this book after reading "Dark Places," which I thought was amazing.
Gone Girl alternates between two perspectives: Nick, a man in the midst of a midlife crisis and unexpected career collapse that informed moving back to Missouri to open a bar with his sister, and Amy, his wife who is described as brilliant but appears to have no personality aside from her husband.
By the twentieth page, I called exactly half of the plot. I hate this.
What I called (but never happened) is the following: SPOILERS
I thought for sure that at some point, someone would call Nick out for being completely inconsiderate and controlling. I get that both characters were meant to be completely self-serving and unappealing, but the closest we ever got to a full-on call out is various parties admitting to considering both of them "crazy". Since they are both manipulative compulsive liars, it's pretty easy to make a case that they deserve each other. But what do we get out of this if it's not a twisted love story, and up until the very end we're supposed to perceive on party as the victim? Major let down.