It took me really long time to finish this book and I kept dropping this book to read something else interesting. What kept putting me off is the terrIt took me really long time to finish this book and I kept dropping this book to read something else interesting. What kept putting me off is the terrible language. I can understand the author's intention to write real-life dialogues rather than just dialogues centering around the plot, but Carlene definitely overdoes it here. There is a lot of irrelevant detail in this book, and after painstakingly developing characters and establishing their mannerisms, we see them do something totally out of the character.
I couldn't identify with most characters, but I could least identify with the 5-year old kid in the book, Willow. She sometimes has a vocabulary of a pre-teen and sometimes behave nothing like a child.
Overall, I just wanted to finish the book all the way to the end, simply because I find it hard to stop a book midway and give it up, unless I really cannot digest a book. To me, this book was really not worth my time....more
Overall impression: it was entertaining, gripping, and genuinely created a sense of fear in me.
It was not what I expected. When I read the book descriOverall impression: it was entertaining, gripping, and genuinely created a sense of fear in me.
It was not what I expected. When I read the book description, I expected something paranormal. I thought creepers themselves were sub-human. Even the first quarter of the book still made me expect something to that tune. Especially the albino cat, the mutant rats and the skeletons. Come to think of it, there is no clear explanation given for these asides.
I liked the way the story played out. But 3 things didn't quite work for me. One is the use of coincidence in the story. The second is how all other characters became puppets in the matter of death. And finally, but once in a rare while, the writing didn't work out for me. In one or two places, I sensed repetition (almost as if there was no other way to write the sentence), and a few points that were best left out from the book. However, looking from the perspective of the main protagonist, I would say these two jarring points fit in well with his character, so I won't count against it.
On the positive side, the author's description of the place was very very realistic. I still have a lot of photo images in my head of the building and it's interiors. It was very horror-inducing and even gory for a book. Some of the deaths were just candidates for a Final Destination movie. I couldn't put the book down right from page 1. Of course, I had to put the book down sometimes, but that was since I had no choice. Overall, I enjoyed it....more
This is my first Andrea Kane book, and I was really impressed with her writing. For me, one of the most important criteria in books is the writing styThis is my first Andrea Kane book, and I was really impressed with her writing. For me, one of the most important criteria in books is the writing style, which really scores here. The suspense, the characters, their relationships, the actual events all were truly remarkable. I should say the killer in this book is one of the most horrific minds I have read about. I was actually shuddering at one point and wondering how can a man get this bad. I liked the whys and the whats of this murder thriller. It was different not from the usual mill. I absolutely loved the amount of research Andrea has put into this book. I thought it was stellar. She has done a good job writing about Krav Maga, Greek mythology, the FBI, even about data structures at one point (I was impressed by that, since I work in that area).
I thought the book started really well, and liked how the action starts and builds up right from page one. Though I predicted who the murderer was, after about 1/3rd of the book, it was still done nicely, not too predictable, not too unpredictable. I truly liked Derek and Sloane, and their personal relationship was amazing to read about. :)
All in all, I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a good mystery....more
Holy crap! What took me so long to read a Nesbø book? Oh yeah, I thought the suspense was going to be the everyday run-of-the-mill type which ends upHoly crap! What took me so long to read a Nesbø book? Oh yeah, I thought the suspense was going to be the everyday run-of-the-mill type which ends up either being so far-fetched that the mystery focuses on Alan, Becky, and Charlie, and then ends saying that Zooey, the cleaner in Chapter 1 was the murderer. Or, it would be so obvious from page 1 who the bad guy was. Or, it would be the mix of both - the author would play hard at making it look like Alan was the bad guy, so hard that it would be obvious Alan was not the bad guy.
So although I have been hearing plenty of praise about Jo Nesbø's books, I didn't really TBR any of them until I had to pick an audiobook for a road trip. Into my car stereo, I popped The Snowman and waited until the moment I was going to feel justified. Nada. Never happened. Nesbø had me right from the page one. It was really hard to stop the audio each time I reached my destination.
The Snowman starts off with a suspenseful premise. A boy and his mother stop at a house on their way back to home. The first snow of the season has fallen. The woman tells her son to wait in the car for a few minutes. The few minutes turn into more than an hour as the woman is actually meeting her secret lover. At one point, she and her lover see a snowman glaring into their bedroom. When she finally gets back to the car, clandestine actions over, she finds that her son has been sitting in a freezing car. They drive off, but her son is suddenly very worried. He thinks that they are going to die.
I have read that Nesbø's books usually start with a prologue that he eventually ties in with the plot, towards the ending. So I was curious to see what role this incident had to play. When it finally came, it was just jaw-dropping. How the same scene can be played from multiple perspectives! I'm a big fan of writers who can play that trick well - everyone doesn't see the same thing when they look at a picture. It is amazing to see how different people can project their bias and baggage onto a picture and form opposite conclusions.
In The Snowman, women have been getting murdered or going missing and a snowman seems to always be at the scene. The killer thus gets the moniker of The Snowman. To the reader, there is a hint of a connection between these women, but to Harry Hole, the detective, there is none. The eventual conclusion isn't arrived at easily. There are a lot of things to figure out before getting there, and Nesbø takes his time, planting clues, snatching them away, and turning the picture around. By the end of the second disc, I thought I had the scenario fully figured out, but that scenario morphed a lot before the killer was revealed (who wasn't anyone I guessed but not so much of a non-entity that it was improbable).
The detective, Harry Hole, is clearly brilliant. But he is missing his ex-girlfriend, Rakel, who had just started seeing a doctor, and her son, with whom he shares an excellent relationship. That doesn't stop them from having an affair, though. The murdered victims described in the book have obviously been through a very torturous experience, but what is a crime thriller without some gory scenes. Harry Hole works on the murder cases with another inspector, Katrine Bratt, who seems to be a mystery - her actions and her private life do not seem to go in sync, but it takes a while before any of it comes to light. There are several other minor characters in the book whose presence I enjoyed and a few that gave me the creeps.
This is apparently the seventh book in the Harry Hole series, but I had no trouble reading it nor did I feel as if I missed any references. Knowing that there are 10 books in this series so far thrills me to bits, more so because I don't really like reading thriller novels and when I find one that I enjoyed, it's great to anticipate more such books. I listened to this audiobook and the narrator, Robin Sachs, does a fabulous job of narrating the story. He places all the right pauses, inflections, and stresses that it sounded very genuine to me....more
I should say at the outset, that I really enjoyed this book. I liked the buildup of the mystery, the well-etched characters and the whole ride throughI should say at the outset, that I really enjoyed this book. I liked the buildup of the mystery, the well-etched characters and the whole ride through the book. While I enjoyed Twisted better, this book was great as well.
Sloane's and Derek's relationship was pleasant to read. I was really rooting for them to get over their issues, and was pleased by the maturity with which it was handled. The whole concept of art theft ring was engrossing, especially with the amount of research that Andrea Kane put in.
Also, while initially it appears as a set of independent crimes, I really liked how it was all tied in together, without leaving the reader crying 'coincidence'!
Overall, a great suspense! A definite recommendation....more
What the Dead Know has some very vivid characters. I could almost love or hate some of the characters strongly. The woman-in-accident was a vibrant chWhat the Dead Know has some very vivid characters. I could almost love or hate some of the characters strongly. The woman-in-accident was a vibrant character, who I hated from page one. That's saying something since a major chunk of the book is from her perspective or focuses heavily on her. I do believe that Laura Lippman dressed the woman-in-accident in a persona that will be disliked by the reader, for reasons you will understand on reading the book. That was a clever ploy and served to both giving a convincing touch to the woman-in-accident's claims and also building an initial bias within the reader (Something to be careful about!).
Dave, the father of the two sisters, was a person who insisted on openness and sharing within families. His grief when the girls disappear is so palpable you could feel it through the pages. Till the day he died, he kept hoping for them to turn up. Miriam, his ex-wife and the two girls' mother, gave up on hope instead, so that she could grieve. It was interesting following her life, but for the most part, I was unimpressed. She always struck me as a mild woman. Probably the girls' disappearance changed her, but the hardening of her character didn't really convince me.
Also, am I being bad if I said that I totally disliked the eleven-year old child Heather for her "manipulative"ness?
The prose switches between the present and the past (from the day of the girl's disappearance to the day the father died). The narration of the past introduces way too many details, which I didn't appreciate initially. But once the mystery was solved, what I was especially fascinated by was how many countless chips came together to bring about the disappearance. Now I wouldn't call that coincidence at all, because it wasn't. But there were several ordinary everyday events that one day led to something extra-ordinary. I applaud how these seemingly irrelevant matters were suddenly made significant in the light of the girls' disappearance, without feeling contrived.
When the revelations started coming out, I can't say that I totally bought what happened during the sisters' disappearance. From that point on, it didn't really strike me as convincing. Nevertheless, it was a well-thought out and intricate plot that had me wanting for answers.
That said, I didn't love the book. I found it too wordy and rambling, so much so that at one point I stopped caring about what happened to the characters and just wanted to get to the end of things. That's never a good thing. I usually appreciate the verbose kind of writing, anything that lets me understand the characters and their situations better is always welcome. Somehow, I felt that there was an excessive amount of that in What the Dead Know.
Title Demystified: Till the end of the book or rather near-end, I was in the dark with regards to what this title meant. When someone comes up saying she personally knows something about a thirty-year old case, the biggest challenge is finding eye-witnesses, ALIVE, to corroborate. In this case, they are dead or mentally ill. The eye-witnesses need not be directly connected to the disappearance, they can be witnesses along the thirty-year journey as well. But when all the leads turn to dead-ends, it almost becomes a case where only the dead know what happened. (Luckily for you and me, there was one never-considered witness who saves things for us.)
Cover Art Demystified I liked this cover, though I can't say I really felt a connection between it and the plot. Going in alive and coming back dead is quite the antithesis of what really happens....more
Brash, sassy John Corey is on the Anti-Terrorist Task Force team, waiting to meet Asad Khalil - a terrorist suspect who had defected. He waits with foBrash, sassy John Corey is on the Anti-Terrorist Task Force team, waiting to meet Asad Khalil - a terrorist suspect who had defected. He waits with four others in the Conquistador Club, for the flight to land at the NY airport. Asad however has other plans, which do not include surrender. Although he was handcuffed and escorted by two armed officers, he manages to escape after committing a puzzling, almost impossible crime. Worse, no one knows what he is up to.
I have deliberately left out some things from the summary, because there is so much to this book than the plain escape of a terrorist. I have to admit, reading about terrorism is so not my cup of tea. So I was definitely pensive about what I will find, going into this book. I worried needlessly. The suspense in this book was simply awesome! Crimes that seem so impossible being pulled off with panache, making you wonder 'How did that happen?' I'm not big into thrillers, and usually pace them out but The Lion's Game reminded me of all the good books in this genre. It's not a 'whodunit' at all. We know the good guys and the bad guys right from page one. Instead, we have an old grudge simmering in a man bent on getting his revenge. And the methods he use! Much as I despised Asad for many reasons, I found myself understanding (not sympathizing) him better too.
The narration switches between John and Asad. Initially I waited for John's chapters for the laughs he provides, but I soon found Asad a compelling person as well. Compelling and psychologically interesting. It's not easy writing from the point of a person hell-bent on terrorism or murder. It's not easy reading either. You don't want to like the guy or feel sympathetic or understanding or even plain interested. So many things Asad did made my skin crawl. At times, I wondered what would have happened to me had I met him in the streets and recognized him, since he believes in erasing his tracks. His character became that alive for me - not in a creepy way but in a more in-this-world feel. And authors who create characters like that ought to be commended.
John Corey, on the other hand, is one heck of a guy. Hilarious sarcasm oozes off him. I was first introduced to him in Plum Island, and he is just as sassy as I remember him. I've saved some of his quotes for you.
Kate was wearing black slacks, by the way, and a sort of Heinz Ketchup-colored blazer over a white blouse. I was wearing what I wore yesterday.
She asked me, "What kind of clearance do you have?" "About six foot, one inch. Sorry, old joke." She wasn't smiling. I said, "Only confidential. Working on secret."
The Lion's Game is however 670+ pages long. It took me quite a long time to get through. While I didn't exactly mind it, I thought it was longer than needed by at least a 100-200 pages. Some of the dialogue could have been reduced even though they contributed to the story as a whole. But since John Corey contributed to quite a bit of those pages, I enjoyed them. Besides, it is fast-paced so I was barely aware of turning the page. If you haven't read a DeMille book, I strongly recommend him. This is my third book by him, and I can't seem to be getting enough of his books. The next book in the John Corey series and sequel to The Lion's Game - The Lion - has been released, and I sure can't wait to pick it up....more