1.5 stars Uninspired writing, loose plotting, unconvincing leaps in "intuitive" investigative work, reliance on coincidences to further hero's success1.5 stars Uninspired writing, loose plotting, unconvincing leaps in "intuitive" investigative work, reliance on coincidences to further hero's success, cliche interdepartmental strife, insulting portrayals of most of the police force in order to prop up the savant psychological profiler, half-hearted characters, thoroughly uninteresting romantic relationships, mildly annoying sexist and anti-LGBT comments (without payoff/nuance (view spoiler)[and yes, I'm aware of the author's orientation, which makes this doubly surprising. I'm sure the inclusion was meant to show what prejudices people have to face, but this wasn't conveyed well in the way the characters were written (hide spoiler)]), and violence that's somewhat graphic/meant to be shocking, but fails to punch you in the emotional gut.
I admit fully that this book suffers the unfortunate timing of being read a day after I reread the first two books in the Jack Caffery series, which are incredibly violent and sadistic, but also contain well-plotted, well-written mysteries, expertly detailed police and medical examiner work, layered but restrained character development, and some of the most genuinely sad and haunting story arcs I've ever read.
That series is also filled with crazy tension, unlike this limp thing. No surprises here at all.
I also don't really care about anyone in this book, except the one victim POV, but only in the most abstract sense because she's relegated to a teen character that seems written by marking off checkboxes. Also, portraying all the cartoonish sicko's victims as virgins ripe for sex and fame leaves a bad taste in my mouth, since they don't get any more developed than that. They--and we--deserved better.
Second book I've tried from this author, I don't even remember the first from several years back. That's it for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London H4.5 stars Love love love love love.
Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London Hospital's The Elephant Man, all from the perspective of a girl who has been severely disfigured by phosphorous necrosis. This story doesn't shy away from the gruesome nature of the crimes nor the rough realities faced by a woman without position, or a man who was put on display as a sideshow attraction. And yet it is imbued with a transcendent awareness of human dignity, and the beauty of soul and intellect.
Writing is textured and sharp, yet exquisitely restrained, the setting is vivid, and the historical details are seamlessly integrated. (I had such a good time looking up various figures and events referenced in the story!) I hope this author writes more historical fiction, because he has a knack for storytelling, an ear for dialogue, and an empathy for his characters that gives readers the rare sense of being completely immersed in the world he created. I felt the same level of excitement when reading this book as I did when reading my first Marcus Sedgwick and Sarah Waters novels, and I don't say that lightly.
Review to come. If you liked certain elements of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER or THIS MONSTROUS THING, you'll love this. ...more
ETA: apparently Booklist recommended this to fans of LIVING DEAD GIRL? Oh hell no. That book was fantastic, and this one makes a moSo, so, so, so bad.
ETA: apparently Booklist recommended this to fans of LIVING DEAD GIRL? Oh hell no. That book was fantastic, and this one makes a mockery of the subject matter.
This is a ridiculous sham of a thriller (pervert bad! He has mommy issues! He must kill! He must keep all the pretty flowers/girls in his basement!) and has neither the intellectual nor the emotional capacity to explore the psychology of captor or captive, let alone make you feel anything for either. And the writing is awful. Truly awful.
2.5 stars Quickie airplane read-type thriller that's sort of compulsively readable, even though the heroine is pretty hopeless, every aspect is underd2.5 stars Quickie airplane read-type thriller that's sort of compulsively readable, even though the heroine is pretty hopeless, every aspect is underdeveloped, and the writing style leans towards being excitable and annoying.
The first half is pretty standard thriller fare setup; then things get more interesting for the remainder of the story. It gets too convoluted at the end, but it did keep me reading all the way through and there were plenty of red herrings (some of them ridiculous, but so is much of this premise, so...) to entertain. I might check out another book by this author if I need another quick, mindless palate cleanser. ...more
3.5 stars This 1916 locked room mystery is dated, mostly predictable, and rather forcefully prejudiced, but still so very charming because of the surp3.5 stars This 1916 locked room mystery is dated, mostly predictable, and rather forcefully prejudiced, but still so very charming because of the surprisingly witty dialogue, appealing characters, and fun cliffhangers.
Fun facts I learned:
1. vitriol actually is a sulfuric acid, something of which I was vaguely aware but never heard referred to in its literal/physical iteration until this story. (And it's used in a quite exciting manner, I must say.)
2. The author was a prolific crime writer with many films made from his books, but is best known for inventing King Kong, though he didn't live to see it on the big screen.
This is another book I read through the Serial Reader app, btw! This time I read half the book as I waited for a friend to arrive for dinner, and was so eager to finish that I couldn't wait for the rest of the issues, so I downloaded the Kindle freebie. The next time this happens, I'm going to pony up the $2.99 to contribute towards the premium upgrade, since I appreciate the fact that this app has gotten me to try out books I otherwise wouldn't have time to. (And yes, they're working on an Android version.)...more
3.5 stars Fun! Reminded me of old-fashioned isolated house mysteries, except of course this one's on a boat. Not terribly complex in terms of writing3.5 stars Fun! Reminded me of old-fashioned isolated house mysteries, except of course this one's on a boat. Not terribly complex in terms of writing or character work, which is why I side-eye that this isn't a mass market paperback, but it's a quick, enjoyable read that keeps you guessing. Better than her previous book, too. ...more
Book 4 four GLBT Book Month. Not as squicky as it sounds (crush is handled responsibly), but still not quite a standout in terms of plot or characteriBook 4 four GLBT Book Month. Not as squicky as it sounds (crush is handled responsibly), but still not quite a standout in terms of plot or characterization or writing, either. Everything pretty much is and turns out as you'd expect.
Best handed to a teen on the younger end of the YA spectrum, particularly kids who might be in search of positive representation.
I have to admit, the book started off on the wrong foot with me, as it opens with an unnecessarily long-winded glossary that seemed better suited forI have to admit, the book started off on the wrong foot with me, as it opens with an unnecessarily long-winded glossary that seemed better suited for the back of the book if readers needed it. I appreciate the insight into the British educational system, but to be hit over the head with it before I've even started the story or read a single piece of information about the MC was a bit off-putting.
I didn't get very far into it after that. It's...a diary. It's written with a compelling voice, but I don't get the impression much has been done to edit/structure it with an eye towards publication. And no matter how precocious and funny (I guess? It's more humorous that outright witty.) we are as teenagers, everybody needs editing to be entertaining and focused and relevant.
Chalk this up as not for me. I'd be interested in trying the TV series, which is now streaming on Hulu, however. Maybe the book is better viewed as supplemental material?
An advance copy was provided by the publisher....more
After an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the aAfter an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the abundance of humorless, meant-to-be shocking sex.
But it's enjoyably sociopathic (or psychopathic, depending on how you interpret the MC's behavior), and it's an interesting/different thriller because of its backdrop of stolen art, expensive clothes and meals, money laundering, and assorted hustlers. I was surprised to see the door left open for another installment, as I think the character has run her course? But another bag of potato chips would be hard to resist.
Great plane reading if you have a weakness for thrillers featuring thoroughly shallow and unpleasant people. ...more