Much better than the Pirate King (previous book), but still not quite as gripping as the previous couple of books set in the UK. I liked the return ofMuch better than the Pirate King (previous book), but still not quite as gripping as the previous couple of books set in the UK. I liked the return of Ali and Mahmoud, Arab spies who are actual English cousins. The internal machinations Russell went through to figure out who was actually behind various plots reminded me a little of Vizzini's thought process when he was having a battle of wits with the Dread Pirate Roberts in "The Princess Bride" which I re-watched recently. I appreciated the Moroccan setting and the historical connections but this book was less of a page turner than some others, still....with my miniscule reading time...I finished it....more
I bought this book in early fall but my work life has been so hellish this term that I didn't get a chance to read this book until now. What a wild riI bought this book in early fall but my work life has been so hellish this term that I didn't get a chance to read this book until now. What a wild ride. This book is the resolution to plot threads that have been building over several books. Gamache's team has been reassigned and only Isabel Lacoste remains along with a number of incompetent people put in place apparently only to belittle and demean Gamache likely at the behest of his nemesis. In the last book his beloved second in command Jean-Guy Beauvoir was in requited love with Annie Gamache but all went to hell and poor Jean-Guy who seemed to be recovering from the terrible wounds (physical and more importantly psychological) he suffered when the team did a raid (Bury Your Dead), instead goes over to the dark side at the end of the previous book (The Beautiful Mystery) and succumbs to his addictions under the influence of Gamache's nemesis Francoeur. The mystery in this book revolves around the last remaining Quint of the famous _fictionalized version_ of the Dionne Quintuplets named the Ouelette Quintuplets. But that mystery is really secondary to the ongoing tension between Gamache and his nemesis Francoeur. 1/3 of the way into the book or maybe halfway through things really get rolling plot-wise. It meant I couldn't put the book down and was up until 2:30pm reading the book in bed with a flashlight sharing a room with my little daughter sleeping in a nearby crib (we are visiting relatives). I am sorry it was over so fast. But the tension was great and the plot was rocketing along. I have to say that when Agent Nicol entered the story I cheered. I have always been rooting for her and I was so happy she was in this story. The ending got rather sappy but it was 2:30 AM when I got there and the characters had fought hard hard heroic battles to get to a happy place. I can see that how Jean-Guy had to face what was eating him was fitting and painful. Is it unfair to say the ending was too happy with some of the consequences that occurred? I am not sure. The title comes from a Leonard Cohen song and Penny mentions he didn't charge anything for her quoting his song so either she offered or he asked that she name a character after his son. To me that stuck out a little as it came in while the plot was racing at 90km/hr. Oh well. Of all the mystery novels I have read that are set in the present day I think Gamache is the only detective not to be cynical, disfunctional, addicted to something etc. I really appreciate that and I think it has been well explained here and there in the series why his character is such and how he is able to bring out the best in his team. I greatly enjoyed this book but would recommend that this not be the first Louise Penny book that someone reads. Especially because of the plot threads in previous books leading to this one. I just wish I could have read it more slowly....more
As others have said, I figured out who did it early on but that didn't detract from the story. I kept reading to see how it would turn out. The characAs others have said, I figured out who did it early on but that didn't detract from the story. I kept reading to see how it would turn out. The characters were very interesting and I wanted to keep reading what they would do next. The protagonist Carl is a burned out detective suffering some burnout and posttraumatic shock from a incident that killed one of his team and left another paralyzed. His character is basically the archetype of a homocide detective who has been on the job a long time. He doesn't play by the rules so he has been promoted to a special Dept Q that works on cold cases. He figures out that the dept is getting obscene amounts of money from the federal gov't for Dept Q and he is seeing very little of it. He continually uses that fact to blackmail his boss into getting things he wants. For one he needs an assistant, who first appears to be some sort of glorified janitor named Assad. But Assad is much more than he appears. His keenness in reading all the case files forces Carl to take an interest as well. As time goes on Assad gets involved more and more. That Assad is a wild card that we have a lot still to learn about I am sure. Carl may be burned out but he still has more detecting skills in his baby finger than many of the police upstairs and he decides to take on a high profile case of a rising star MP who went missing 5 years before. That missing MP is another major character in the book who we learn is not dead but kidnapped and living under brutal circumstances the last 5 years. We learn more about her in flashbacks. The story alternates between Carl and her. The book kept me interested to the very very end. Well done. I look forward to the next Dept Q novel....more
Frieda Klein a psychotherapist has found she is very good at working on murder cases and despite her reluctance to become an official liason with theFrieda Klein a psychotherapist has found she is very good at working on murder cases and despite her reluctance to become an official liason with the police she can't seem to stop herself from getting more deeply involved. Also despite her need for great amounts of privacy and quiet alone time she has an impressive group of close friends. We learn that there is a big bad that will likely pursue her for the whole series of what we presume are 7 planned books in total. I don't have much time to read so the fact that I finished this book in 5 days speaks to it being a real page turner. I await the next book with interest....more
A second Robin McKinley book that goes on my "will-never-finish-reading" shelf? Horrors! She was my favourite author. As many have said, nothing happeA second Robin McKinley book that goes on my "will-never-finish-reading" shelf? Horrors! She was my favourite author. As many have said, nothing happens in this book. And frankly I felt the relationship between Ebon the pegasus and the young female protagonist bordered on creepy. The lack of plot combined with feeling creepy had me put this book down and never pick it up again. Sigh....more
Oh holy wow did this book keep me up at night. I got very unnerved! I don't know why but I can stay awake longer reading in bed if I turn the lights oOh holy wow did this book keep me up at night. I got very unnerved! I don't know why but I can stay awake longer reading in bed if I turn the lights out and read by flashlight. Its not like I need to do that but the sleep deprivation I face now since becoming a parent means that if I set a timer for 12 minutes at night when reading in bed I am mostly asleep before the timer goes off no matter how good the book. I had a deadline for when this book had to go back to the library so I used the flashlight trick. Yikes, considering some of the plot of the book I creeped myself way out by reading this way. Terrific story that examines the wider picture of Ireland after the Celtic tiger has fallen on very hard times. Bravo Tana French for a gripping mystery with a social context. It reminded me of how Ian Rankin says that in order to write a Rebus novel he always had a big question (about life in Scotland or Edinburgh) that he wanted to figure out an answer to....more
I think this is my favourite Camilla Lackberg mystery so far. She has gotten better since her first book for sure but of the ones I have read this isI think this is my favourite Camilla Lackberg mystery so far. She has gotten better since her first book for sure but of the ones I have read this is the best. Her technique of interweaving two related stories in different time periods is very effectively employed here. I was very interested to learn about Sweden during WWII. ...more
Perhaps I have unwittingly started a private reading series that I could call: When life sucked for women XXX BC - 1960sAD. This would be one th thirdPerhaps I have unwittingly started a private reading series that I could call: When life sucked for women XXX BC - 1960sAD. This would be one th third in the series. Being Aristotle's daughter, whom he afforded all kinds of privileges, meant she was better off than most but still, life for women even privileged ones, sucked.
My 2nd title is Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin about the wife of Aeneas from the Aeneid. Her father is a king, her life is privileged but of course life sucked for women. And if you were of lower class it didn't matter if you were male or female, life sucked.
The first book in my series is Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers about a french woman adopted by nuns who immigrates to New France (early French Canada). By being adopted by nuns she was fortunate in France,although she was longing to still be with a wealthy patron. The fact that girls were slaving away producing lace as virtual slaves and dying of cholera and the like in the nunnery sucked which is why she and a friend jumped at the chance to become free women or as free as they could be at that time, by taking a ship to New France to become brides for men settling there. Life for anyone in New France sucked.
But what more can I say about the sweet girl? I think I will have to read The Golden Mean to learn more about Aristotle because his part of the story was quite interesting. After his death his will specified that his daughter Pythias would marry her cousin who had been away warring with Alexander the Great for more than a decade. She's not sure when he will return or if he will return so she explores her options: hanging on to her crush on her adopted brother who has disappeared, rejecting becoming the ward of the man in charge of her father's old school because she has intellectually bested him before and feels he will sentence her to endless weaving in a backroom, considering letting herself be adopted by the town madam as a "daughter"/prostitute, or becoming a handmaid to the goddess Artemis at a local temple, or becoming a midwife or becoming the lover of the god Dionysus. By the time her husband-to-be cousin shows up she has covered a lot of ground and grown up a lot. I thought I knew how it was going to end but I have to say I respect the choice she made in the end. I think it was the best one she could have made. She was indeed fortunate to have as many options as she did compared to all the other women who already were committed to the other paths she explored. ...more
This book is so authentic and loveable. For anyone who has ever spent time in Italy beyond the touristy to actually become acquainted with locals in sThis book is so authentic and loveable. For anyone who has ever spent time in Italy beyond the touristy to actually become acquainted with locals in some region you will nod your head and smile when you read this book. And for anyone who wants to know what life is really like in small town Italy this book will inform you. Frances Mayes describes her life living with locals in Tuscany well and this book will take you further into another small town. This book is shorter but I think I might have liked it even better than Frances Mayes. Maria Coletta is so honest and does such an excellent job of letting you see through her eyes and feel through her heart. I felt strong real emotions as I read this book but there was nothing cheap or formulaic about it. It was 100% her life and I thank her for generously sharing it. We are all the better for learning about her and her husband Bob's experiences in Supino. I think there must have been some editorial decisions to restrict the focus of who the characters were that were included in the book but I understand that. Her father was the focus of her first book and even in death he is still a larger character in this book than her mother but of course Supino was his town. This is a fast read full of life and emotion. I finished it a few days ago but I still keep thinking about it....more
It has been a while since I have read an Adamsberg mystery. I did not remember in that past that Vargas spent so much time discussing all the quirks oIt has been a while since I have read an Adamsberg mystery. I did not remember in that past that Vargas spent so much time discussing all the quirks of Adamsberg's team. It seemed to almost be the main action for a while becoming more prominent than the two horrific cases they were dealing with. I like having some of the book set in Serbia and was intrigued to be introduced to that part of the world. I did not guess the murderer's identity but I wasn't trying very hard. All and all a satisfying book. So so far above recent fare by Reichs and Cornwell that it makes their novels (particularly Cornwell) seem, well, embarrassing. I think people who like Louise Penny mysteries would also like Fred Vargas. They compare well. ...more
Better than the first book. In the first book the clue to the murder was planted too obviously and I picked it up right away. True it was near the endBetter than the first book. In the first book the clue to the murder was planted too obviously and I picked it up right away. True it was near the end of the book but still. This book kept my interest the whole way through and I will be happy to continue the series now. Unlike Henning Mankell's Wallander series our hero is young and starting out so he is not ruminating on his vast failings. And probably because it is written by a female we are not subjected to sex scenes and breast augmentation where one feels the writer is living out his fantasies about women (Steig Larsson). I suspect (and hope) that the books will continue to get better as the writer matures. Mankell and Larsson had big social problems and bigger questions they addressed. Perhaps Lackberg will move into that territory too. ...more