Just enough suspense to keep me rushing through the book. Author Craig Johnson has said he writes 'whodunnits for people who don't care whodLoved it.
Just enough suspense to keep me rushing through the book. Author Craig Johnson has said he writes 'whodunnits for people who don't care whodunnit'. I think Atkinson does the same. This isn't really a thriller, & the initiating mysteries may serve as a spine for the novel, but they're not really the engine, if you know what I mean. No, the engine is really ex-cop Brodie & his slightly fcked-up life. Someone's trying to kill him, but hell, it could be anyone.
I guess I took a star off my review because a) the final FINAL revelation about the initiating crime kinda fell flat for me. I saw it coming, but I thought it would be bigger, more gruesome & visceral. And b) the cover blurb implies the mysteries will all come together, & so I spent a lot of time trying to guess in what remarkably intelligent way these 3 disparate mysteries spread across decades might actually entwine. But they entwine basically only geographically, in a series of coincidences that are kinda fun, but not the mind-bendingly neat pattern I thought I might get.
Oh, & here's another way they entwined: poor police work at the time left killers loose &/or accurate conclusions unmade! In a way, Brodie is a kind of force if righteousness, addressing old, unsettled scores and miscarriages of justice. I really liked him, & I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is a smart, anti-authoritarian, urban SF story, which is what attracted me to reading it. The world-building is outrageous gonz**spoiler alert** This is a smart, anti-authoritarian, urban SF story, which is what attracted me to reading it. The world-building is outrageous gonzo cyber-punk (or post cyber-punk, I'm told) -- which is why I didn't enjoy it. Just not my thing. But if that sounds like it's right up your proverbial, you should totally read this series. It's vivid, busy, & detailed. It's also kinda ugly & sorta just downright nasty at times. But sometimes that can be fun, right? Not for me, though. Well, not this time.
I switched to skim-read mode right before #4 On the Stump started, when anti-hero Spider Jerusalem announces, "I'm Spider Jerusalem, and fuck all of you! Ha!" Now, he may've just been talking to the cops that beat him up (the cops that beat him up for daring to add honesty to his journalism during a staged "riot"), but I couldn't help but feel that Spider meant me, too. The reader. And if there's one thing I hate, it's stories that hate its readers. I mean, I hate the human race as much as the next angry, anti-authoritarian rage-junkie. But I try not to make it personal, you know?
And another thing: if you're going to write a story that's confronting & challenging & just plain in-your-face enough to have a naked man open a door to a voluptuous young ex-stripper -- oh, & he's holding a 'bowel disruptor' like it's a loaded gun -- don't be coy. Show his damn genitals. I know the penis is apparently the last holy relic on Earth and Must Not be Shown for Fear of its Mighty Power on The People, but honestly. Be a man about it. Have the strength of your convictions, eh? ...more
Much more of an academic history and exploration than a self-help book, this early Seligman volume traces his beginnings, from the traditional PsycholMuch more of an academic history and exploration than a self-help book, this early Seligman volume traces his beginnings, from the traditional Psychology approach of studying "what was wrong with individuals and then how to fix it" (from the Preface to the Vintage Edition) to the new study of "Positive Psychology". Very exciting stuff! I can't wait to read his later works. Next up: FLOURISH....more
Hilarious account of living and working for a big, dumb corporation in the big, dead place known as Antarctica. And yes, there are penguins.
Johnson sHilarious account of living and working for a big, dumb corporation in the big, dead place known as Antarctica. And yes, there are penguins.
Johnson spent time working in the kitchen and in rubbish removal and his "deep research in this area (sometimes to the bottom of the bin)" pays off, with details that us non-visitors would probably never guess at. Such as: the stations established for human habitation smell mostly of diesel & can be spotted miles out in a place that lacks any other smell whatsoever. Or: Antarctica's main export is waste. Or: 'Polies have told of pissing a blend of steam and crystals.' Or: the fact some early explorers scrubbed their eyes with cocaine to ease the pain of snow blindness. And: the fact Antarctica workers don't quit because of the climate. They quit because of the bureaucracy.
The author has also done a thorough job of researching the history of discovery in Antarctica, finding most explorers either dishonest or narcissistic (or both), and his cynical and witty observations on the population of Antarctica, both contemporary and historical, are one of the delights of the book. As is his sense of the absurd:
"You have come to the pristine and stark seventh continent with images of adventure involving physical endurance and rugged beauty. It is the middle of the night on a Wednesday, and you wake up to pee. You emerge from the women's room. A man in the hall runs past you with a frozen pig under his arm, pursued by a lurching, drunk clown."
Yes, it all sounds a little undergrad, but that's just part of its charm. What I didn't like about BIG DEAD PLACE? There are exactly two too many chapters on the bad bureaucracy that plagues the place, especially when it comes to the punitive HR system employed by the National Science group patrols McMurdo Station. And there's an entire appendix outlining a practical joke to ridicule one of the co-workers which - even given the guy was apparently a jerk in real life - comes across as mean more than funny. But what the hell am I complaining about? This is a group of people who dumped a frozen pig in a drunk clown's bed.
If you skip those little flaws, you're in for a fun, informative read....more