“The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code.” Those words resulted in some conflicted feelings in me about whether or not I wanted to read this book. I lov...more“The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code.” Those words resulted in some conflicted feelings in me about whether or not I wanted to read this book. I loved The Historian but couldn’t stand The Da Vinci Code. As you can see, I broke down and read Blood of the Lamb. The result: not as good as The Historian but certainly better than The Da Vinci Code.
Blood of the Lamb is another example of a biblio-mystery that promises to reveal a particularly damning secret of the Roman Catholic Church. Also, there are vampires. One vampire must team up with a priest in order to uncover where the important document is hidden. Church by church, they solve clues in a scavenger hunt for the truth.
I had fun reading Blood of the Lamb, probably because I didn’t go into it with high expectations. Characters fall into stereotypical roles, and there are no real surprises throughout the plot or with the characters. There is one unfortunately one-dimensional bad guy who trails our heroes like a single-minded bloodhound, and I found myself trying hard not to just roll my eyes every time he appeared. He is laughably bad, and fulfills a bit of the albino’s role from The Da Vinci Code.
The best part of this book was how it takes place in Rome, at various churches, and made me really want to visit the city. As somebody who has art historical training, the descriptions made me long to go and check out the architecture, sculptures, and reliquaries for myself. Also, vampires.
If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you should give this book a try. You’ll probably like it. I found it satisfying as genre fiction and as a light, fun adventure.(less)
I lived in Chicago for an academic year, but didn’t make it off of the University of Chicago campus very often. Reading The Ghosts of Chicago made me...moreI lived in Chicago for an academic year, but didn’t make it off of the University of Chicago campus very often. Reading The Ghosts of Chicago made me wish I’d have explored the city more, or at the very least, taken a tour. Author Adam Selzer is a tour guide for haunted Chicago tours, and while I doubt he was in operation while I was attending classes there, I think I would have really enjoyed taking one of his tours. I got the next best thing, though: this book.
Selzer takes the reader through Chicago’s neighborhoods and historic spots, bringing to light ghosts both real and legendary. I learned about the history of Chicago through his description, and he explains how the city grew and how streets and neighborhoods changed over time. I have little doubt that he’s actually done some research on the physical locations, working to pinpoint historic addresses that have long since changed.
Selzer’s interest in ghost hunting seems to mirror my own. I’m not interested in things like K2 meters or orb photographs. I don’t need to use technology to tell me a place is creepy. Rather, I’m interested in doing what Jeff Belanger calls “legend tripping,” or visiting spots where legends and stories have developed. I care about the history and the stories people tell. Adam Selzer’s book really scratched that itch for me.
The Ghosts of Chicago works as a combination of ghost stories, history, and travel guide. You don’t need to be familiar with Chicago to read and enjoy it, and if you’re going to visit, you may want to have this book on hand to look up some interesting spots (or, if you’re not into ghosts, to know where to avoid!).(less)
Night Film was an absolute treat of a read for me. It started off a bit slowly, and I did roll my eyes at the setup and stereotypical detective noir e...moreNight Film was an absolute treat of a read for me. It started off a bit slowly, and I did roll my eyes at the setup and stereotypical detective noir elements Pessl uses to set the mood, but as I continued to read I became utterly engrossed. Just the like the main character, McGrath, gets sucked deeper and deeper into the world of dark filmmaker Cordova the longer he investigates, the stronger the pull of this book as I read layer after layer. The plot twists and turns in a really fun way, until you find yourself questioning everything about the story.
It opens with the introduction of Scott McGrath, a once A-list journalist whose ill-fated investigation of cult auteur Stanislas Cordova has ruined is career. McGrath lost everything–his job, his wife, custody of his daughter, and his own self-respect. The last thing he should do is pursue Cordova again, but after he sees fleeing beautiful woman desperate for help, then learns it was Cordova’s daughter who later jumped to her death that night, McGrath can’t turn away from the scent.
Despite warnings from all sides that following Cordova will only lead him into the darkest places of the human psyche, from which he may never return, McGrath attacks the case with a vigor he hasn’t felt in years. But just what is he investigating? Did Ashley Cordova truly commit suicide, or was something more sinister at work? Are Cordova’s films simply movies, or film documentary evidence of the depravity of their creator and his followers? Is the devil involved, with magic so black that it will destroy everybody who comes into contact with it?
Night Film is a doorstopper of a book, but I found that I didn’t mind. Everytime I thought the story was wrapping up, it just went deeper. Pessl supports the plot with McGrath’s own case files, so we can read the articles, police reports, and see the photographs that McGrath has collected. It was fascinating to have faces to put with the names in the story, and to feel like I was following along on the investigation as well.
I’m really happy that I was able to read Night Film–it’s one that will stick with me for a long time. It’s pleasantly grim, with characters that are at once attractive and repulsive. Night Film got under my skin.(less)
Dilbert has really grown on me. When I was younger, it was one of those comics I'd always skip in the paper. Since I've started working for real, thou...moreDilbert has really grown on me. When I was younger, it was one of those comics I'd always skip in the paper. Since I've started working for real, though, it just gets funnier and funnier. Adams is great at exposing the stupidity behind much of corporate administration, the idiotic way that incompetence seems to be rewarded so good workers have no motivation to do their best. My favorite moment: showing how every worker has to have a workplace nemesis. Yup. (less)