I found this unreadable. Not to say it is a bad book. Plenty of people seem to enjoy this and I am definitely in the minority - but I don't like the w...moreI found this unreadable. Not to say it is a bad book. Plenty of people seem to enjoy this and I am definitely in the minority - but I don't like the writing style. The story seems to be a good one though and I hope it will be made into a film because I think I'd enjoy it as a film. It is one of my favourite genres and the blurb and cover hooked me. But the voice of the author is not one I can relax with and enjoy the story. For readers who don't feel as strongly about the voice I am sure this will be a great read. Plenty of pages and a bestselling author at that. So just me. Being sniffy. Not everything can please everyone and I am the one this book didn't. Such is life.(less)
I go into a Minette Walters novel with expectations set high. So when I place this on my disappointments shelf it is in relation to what I expected fr...moreI go into a Minette Walters novel with expectations set high. So when I place this on my disappointments shelf it is in relation to what I expected from a Minette Walters novel. Compared with some other crime novelists this is still a great read. But for me it was a bit Midsomer Murderish. If I hadn't liked the female protagonist so much I might have given up on the story. As it was I stuck with it and it was a fairly easy read. It just didn't have the wow factor I was craving.(less)
This is a very long book. It felt like a very long book as I read it. It is unarguably well written and has 'classic' stamped all through it. But some...moreThis is a very long book. It felt like a very long book as I read it. It is unarguably well written and has 'classic' stamped all through it. But something didn't quite hit the sweet spot for me. All the right ingredients, good characters, interesting story, well drawn place and time, words doing their best to tell it all. But still, a bit like a very long four or five course meal after which you feel stuffed full but it didn't satisfy you and so you kept on eating until the very end hoping it would fill you up. But it doesn't.(less)
I spotted this book mentioned in Linda La Plante's bio as having been written by her husband. I read this many, many years ago and elements of the stor...moreI spotted this book mentioned in Linda La Plante's bio as having been written by her husband. I read this many, many years ago and elements of the story have stayed with me for over twenty years. I must get hold of it again to see if it still lives up to what I remember about it. As I remember it had a great feel of place and time and I remember liking the main protagonist and being very interested in his background and how he identified with the killer. I recall it being extremely gory but I can skim over stuff like that if the writing is good enough to keep me interested in the people and the story so that wasn't a huge problem.(less)
Oh dear. Perhaps it is because I have just read two extremely well written books in this genre that this one seems so clunky and awkward? I simply can...moreOh dear. Perhaps it is because I have just read two extremely well written books in this genre that this one seems so clunky and awkward? I simply cannot force myself through it. I am on page 54 and already I want to hurl it across the room in irritation.
I have just finished reading The Distant Echo by Val McDermid and Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin. This is no coincidence as I was shopping at the Range and they were selling crime novels at two for fiver and these are three of a set of four my mum and I purchased together.
I can't remember what the fourth one is because my mum is reading it at the moment but I hope it is better than Blind Fury.
I think the story will be fine for people who don't mind dialogue that sounds as if somebody wrote it as a 'serving suggestion' for actors to later add their own characterisation, accents and personality and maybe even change the words a bit to make them sound more believable. But for me it makes painful reading.
The female detective has gone to a prison - she is an experienced officer and yet every step needs to be explained to her as if she has never even watched a police drama on tv. When she gets there she is then told in huge detail all about the set up at the prison and then told that as she is an attractive woman they want to protect her safety!!! This all delivered in a language that would not be out of place coming from a Victorian governess rather than a prison governor/officer. In contrast McDermid and Rankin (and Knots and Crosses was his first novel) give their characters dialogue that can be read and each character identified from how they say things and what they say. In Blind Fury everybody speaks with the same 'voice' except for a Dick Van Dyke type caricature of a 'bird on the game' who lurches between various stereotypical speech patterns such as one minute saying 'nothin' and then later 'nothing' and so on and so forth. Which is fine in a script because you can let the actor catch that type of thing as they overlay it with their interpretation but for me as I'm reading it - aarghh!!
Oh well. That's just me. This is a bestseller and Lynda La Plante isn't going to be suffering from my personal dislike of her style any time soon. My mum didn't like it either although she read it to the end because she tends to finish things once she's started and is in her 80s and is retired. I have a busier lifestyle and I am more impatient so I won't be doing so. I am not interested in the characters and couldn't care less whodunnit.(less)
A very quick read being quite short and to the point. Interesting because it is Ian Rankin's first novel and my edition has an introduction from the a...moreA very quick read being quite short and to the point. Interesting because it is Ian Rankin's first novel and my edition has an introduction from the author himself telling the story of how the novel came to existence. I have a great deal of awe for crime writers. Being a perfectionist myself I quail at the research required to get the procedural details correct and I am eternally grateful for those who manage it so superbly. If they didn't I wouldn't have such a great selection of novels to choose from.
This novel starts properly in a graveyard as does the other novel I read immediately after this one - Val McDermid's Distant Echoes - but there the similarities mainly end (apart from the Scottish connection of course) as this is a gritty pavement pounding novel with the policeman centre stage.
I was also reminded of Terry Pratchett's Sam Vimes comedy novel Night Watch. Vimes and Rebus seem to be what I think of as 'real policemen' - flawed, selfless and trying to be the best they can despite the inner beast they recognise in themselves. Also in the same way Ankh-Morpork stands as a character in its own right so Edinburgh holds one's attention throughout this novel. I look forward to reading more Rebus instead of simply watching him on the iPlayer when he pops up.(less)
I enjoyed this novel. Read it quickly and easily. The plot flowed, I liked the characters who rang true and being the same age as I am I recognised th...moreI enjoyed this novel. Read it quickly and easily. The plot flowed, I liked the characters who rang true and being the same age as I am I recognised the era described in the backstory as accurately drawn. I read it hot on the heels of another Scottish crime thriller writer's novel - Ian Rankin's Knots & Crosses. So by the time I'd finished The Distant Echo my mind's voice (which for some reason is usually an educated middle class RP male voice - odd because I'm a female) had transformed into a rather higher version of Lorraine Kelly's - I'm relieved to say things have settled back mostly now apart from an urge to say murrderr like Taggart. So if you are prepared for the possible Scottish side-effects - I'd give this one a go. It's well worth the time spent.(less)
I downloaded this as a freebie the other night and read it in one sitting. I have to admit I skim-read some of it and skipped parts because I wanted t...moreI downloaded this as a freebie the other night and read it in one sitting. I have to admit I skim-read some of it and skipped parts because I wanted to get to the end and find out the answers to various questions.
It is the first book the author published and there are a few creaky bits which hint at a first book - but I have read first books by other super-famous and lauded authors such as Strata by Terry Pratchett and some last books by bestselling genre icons such as Ash by James Herbert which are real stinkers and Coombe's Wood is head and shoulders a better read than those books.
I found the story kept me interested and it was an easy enjoyable read. It was interesting enough that I forgot my editor's hat and became a reader again - this is something I have been struggling with for a year or so - and Coombe's Wood managed it for me.
I read it on my Kindle Fire and it is the first book I've read on it since having it for Xmas as usually when I start reading I get distracted and head off to watch a tv program or listen to the radio on the gadget. So again plus points to Coombe's Wood for holding my attention right up to the end. I always skim read a book the first pass through so that isn't a mark against it either.
I'm looking forward to reading it at a more leisurely pace next time. I will save it for the summer - I can imagine this will be a good beach read.(less)
I had high expectations and this book lived up to them. Kept me engrossed, kept me guessing. Of course I worked it out well before the detectives did...moreI had high expectations and this book lived up to them. Kept me engrossed, kept me guessing. Of course I worked it out well before the detectives did and was as usual getting irritated as to how they could be missing the obvious towards the end - but that is when a good writer comes into their own. I was sufficiently invested in the characters and story to stick with it to the very end. I enjoyed it.(less)
Not my cup of tea at all :( It was interesting from the historical perspective in that I could see so many points at which it had obviously inspired o...moreNot my cup of tea at all :( It was interesting from the historical perspective in that I could see so many points at which it had obviously inspired other writers and that is why I gave it two stars instead of one. I have enjoyed the books that came after it by other fantasy authors. But nowadays when there is so much choice of accessible tightly written fantasy which also chimes with the social mores of current society I find it difficult to believe anyone would genuinely read this for pure enjoyment.
It is stodgy, old fashioned, slow and for my tastes horribly preachy from a white middle-class christian point of view. I can forgive the the preachiness etc if it comes wrapped in engrossing storytelling as in The Princess and Curdy and At The Back of the North Wind - but Lilith has a real flavour of 'look at me, aren't I being incredibly clever and philosophical' which gets right up my nose.
I am most definitely not the audience for this book. I don't like self-conscious writers who waffle on interminably to make a point and I get bored very, very quickly. So this book ticks all the boxes for all the wrong reasons. I'm not christian or clever enough to enjoy this. I think Philip Pullman said much of the same things in The Dark Materials books and I had more fun with those.
I think this is a book to be read if you've been assigned it for a literature class more than for a reader to lose themselves in an alternative universe/world. But for the time it was written and the world George MacDonald was living in it is a very brave and original work. If you are a fantasy reader of contemporary work this would be something to read if you have nothing else to read and you are curious. Which is how I ended up reading it. (less)