This was a tiny Kindle single, I suppose a little filler/teaser before the new book comes out later this month. It’s a little vignette where Flavia stThis was a tiny Kindle single, I suppose a little filler/teaser before the new book comes out later this month. It’s a little vignette where Flavia stumbles upon a copper corpse in a bathtub. It was cute, but ultimately unsatisfying since there really wasn’t much of a plot or storyline. Still I did enjoy visiting with Miss Flavia, if only for a half an hour. ...more
Joyland is a Stephen King novel, but it is not a typical Stephen King novel. First and foremost it’s short – just under 300 pages. Second, although thJoyland is a Stephen King novel, but it is not a typical Stephen King novel. First and foremost it’s short – just under 300 pages. Second, although there is a ghost and a young boy who could be psychic, that’s not the heart of the book. The heart of the book is Devin Jones, a college student who has recently had his heart broken. Taking a summer job at a second rate amusement park called Joyland Devin becomes obsessed with the story of the ghost of a young woman who was murdered in the park several years earlier. Along the way he learns all about carny life, makes life-long friends and meets a unique little boy who ‘knows’ things and helps Devin in his search for the “Carny Killer”.
I really enjoyed this book. The main character was really likeable and King portrayed his broken hearted angst perfectly. And the book ending packs an emotional wallop. It was a perfect summer read and if you are a King fan you will enjoy this departure from his usual horror fare. Even if you aren’t a fan of King I recommend the book, it’s not scary at all. ...more
I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this book. On the one hand it’s a well-written look at family relationships in varying connections; siblingI have a lot of conflicting feelings about this book. On the one hand it’s a well-written look at family relationships in varying connections; siblings, husbands and wives and parent and child. On the other hand it’s very dark, with really unlikeable characters and some improbable scenarios.
The story takes place during the course of a dinner at a very exclusive restaurant. Two brothers, Paul and Serge and their respective wives Claire and Babette are having a night out, but it becomes clear that this is anything but a casual dinner. There are undertones and hints of something very serious involving their children, cousins that seem to have done something very bad and most likely of a criminal nature. The book is told through the voice of Paul, who seems rather staid and unremarkable. It soon becomes clear that Paul has secrets that are slowly revealed and lead to the questioning of his reliability as narrator.
At the start of the book I was very engaged and felt that this would maybe turn out to be the psychological thriller that was advertised. The story soon became bogged down in so many details of the dinner and the restaurant that the suspense slowly drained away. I really didn’t need to know the name of every dish and drink ordered, descriptions of the manager, the serving people, the owner and how the food was prepared, ad nauseum. I found it peculiar that people would leave the table for what seemed like long periods of time and nobody remarked on it. It just started to get tiresome, waiting for something, anything to happen. By the time things to start to happen it’s a just a little too late and I didn’t care very much.
While the book does provide some interesting topics to contemplate, including the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, for me it was a slog to get there and in the end I found the resolution a little unbelievable. ...more
This is the second book in The Hangman’s Daughter series. I read the first book and liked it enough to pick up the second book, unfortunately I don’t This is the second book in The Hangman’s Daughter series. I read the first book and liked it enough to pick up the second book, unfortunately I don’t think I will be picking up the third.
It’s Bavaria 1660. A local priest has been found dead. When it is determined that he has been poisoned Jakob Kuisel, the town hangman, his daughter Magdalena, Simon the town doctor and the priest’s sister set out to discover who killed him. In the course of their investigation the clues begin to point to the Knights Templar and a mysterious treasure.
There were a number of things I didn’t care for in this book. Here are the main issues:
The only character I liked at all was Jakob, he’s smart, principled and a good person. Magdalena and Simon, supposed lovers, are annoying; Magdalena is always whining about Simon and Simon is always whining about having no nice clothes to wear; he’s also slow to figure things out even when they are obvious.
The plot is very reminiscent of The DaVinci Code and not in a good way. Portraying most of the Templar’s as mad men was derivative.
I am not fond of coincidences in mysteries, but I can deal with one maybe two. This book had about a dozen, far too many.
If you are going to write historical fiction it pays to be accurate. People were not able to carry around boxes of matches because they would not exist for another 200 years after the time frame in the book. In addition, and I am not sure if this was a translation problem, but there were a number of modern expressions used. I am reasonably sure that a bunch of drunkards would not be referred to as stoners. When mistakes like that occur they wrench you out of the book and it’s quite frustrating.
Give your readers some credit; you don’t need to repeat things over and over. Mentioning that the hangman and his family were ostracized because they were dirty and nobody would marry the hangman’s daughter or sit with the family did not have to be mentioned at every turn, it just got tiresome.
At 542 pages this book was overlong by at least 200 pages. Editing would have picked up the pace of the book. Those last hundred pages were a real slog.
The book garners three stars only because I really enjoy the character of Jakob and enjoyed all the scenes he was a part of. I hope the next book focuses only on him, that is the only way I will read it. ...more
This mystery writer is being compared to Larsson and Nesbo, but I beg to differ.
The mystery begins with the body of a young child being pulled from aThis mystery writer is being compared to Larsson and Nesbo, but I beg to differ.
The mystery begins with the body of a young child being pulled from a fisherman’s net. When it becomes apparent that the little girl was murdered, it hits close to home for Detective Patrik Hedstrom since he is friendly with the parents of the murdered girl. Alternating with this story is another story set in the past; this story will ultimately tie in to the present day mystery.
Where to start? I found the writing to be scattered. There were so many plot lines that there was no focus. A lot of the characters, especially in the police department, were to be polite – morons. The police work was so sloppy it was laughable. Perhaps the worse offense of all is the depiction of the women in this book. In general they were shrewish, mean and unlikeable, with the exception of Patrik’s partner Erika. She is clearly suffering from post partum depression, but all Patrik can do is wait for her to snap out if it. Really? In 2012 this supposedly astute investigator doesn’t realize there is something very wrong with her? It is very disheartening when a woman writes such cardboard women characters. At times the book read more like a soap opera, with a father finding out he has a teenaged son, a young man with Aspbergers, a child with ADHD who abuses other children, two neighbor’s bent on destroying each other, child pornography and for good luck a woman who is so evil she made Joan Crawford look like Mommy of the Year.
So if you are into the Nordic mystery genre re-read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or try Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman but don’t bother with this one. ...more
This is my second book in the Harry Hole series, and while I greatly enjoyed The Snowman I found The Leopard to be convoluted, improbable and hugely oThis is my second book in the Harry Hole series, and while I greatly enjoyed The Snowman I found The Leopard to be convoluted, improbable and hugely over the top.
I like Harry Hole he is a deeply flawed man, consumed by his demons and yet still has great instincts in understanding the mind of a serial killer. At the start of this installment in the series Harry is in Hong Kong where he is drowning his sorrows over the end of a relationship. When he is asked to come back to Oslo to help with a new set of related killings he refuses until he learns his father is dying. Slowly he gets drawn back into helping his former boss and trying to solve the case.
Nesbo knows this character inside out and really portrays Harry’s pain and isolation. His writing is taut and the plotting complex. The main problem is that the plot became a little too complicated, there were so many twists and turns and so many characters that I had a very hard time keeping them straight. In addition the murders were extremely gruesome and described in excruciating detail, after a while the narrative became tiresome. In addition Harry, a long time alcoholic, smoker and drug user, escapes death with what can only be called super human powers requiring a complete suspension of belief. After having the rug pulled out from under me a few times I just wanted the book to end, it seemed interminable. My final complaint is the ending. I am not a fan of books telling and not showing. We get to the end and there are pages of the killer explaining to his next victim how and why he “did it”. I found that very unsatisfying.
I think that three stars maybe a little generous, but I do like the main character and I like the writing in general. I would like to read another book featuring Harry Hole, so I think two stars was a little harsh; it is a rating I give for books that are below average and this was along the lines of an average read, I was just expecting more. ...more
This book and author is getting a lot of hype as the successor to Stieg Larsson. I don’t actually agree with that assessment but it is still worthy ofThis book and author is getting a lot of hype as the successor to Stieg Larsson. I don’t actually agree with that assessment but it is still worthy of a read if you like twisted mystery stories.
The book opens on a cold night in Norway; the night of the first snow. A child is in a car waiting for his mother to return from the house she walked into a few minutes earlier and that is when the terror begins.
This is not a book for the squeamish, serial killer tales rarely are. What sets this book apart is the writing and the main character, the deeply flawed Detective Harry Hole. An alcoholic trying to stay sober Harry is the expert in serial killers is Norway, a country not known for this type of crime. Substituting an addiction to work for his other addiction Harry is drawn to the case and he is quite good at putting puzzle pieces together. There are plenty of twists and turns, more than a few red herrings and more than one surprise. Still Harry soldiers on and the book becomes impossible to put down as you wait for Harry to find out who The Snowman really is.
I enjoyed this thriller in particular because I liked Harry; he is a complex character, as are most of the main characters in the book. There is a lot of attention to detail and the plot rings true throughout. The setting of Norway adds a lot of atmosphere to the story and there are parts that are read with the lights on worthy. This is crime fiction at its best and I will now be reading through Nesbo’s earlier books. ...more
Jackson Brodie, Kate Atkinson’s flawed yet likeable in spite of himself retired detective, is back in book four in the series and it’s as entertainingJackson Brodie, Kate Atkinson’s flawed yet likeable in spite of himself retired detective, is back in book four in the series and it’s as entertaining as the first three.
Atkinson’s mysteries are quite complex and this one is no different. Events begin in 1975 when two police officers find a dead body and a child who had been in the home with the body for three weeks. Skip ahead to the present day where Jackson Brodie is looking for the birth parents of a child, now an adult; we begin to believe she is that same child. In addition we have Tracey Waterhouse, one of the police officers who was on the case in 1975. Now retired and working security in a mall Tracey makes a spur of the moment decision that will somehow connect all of the pieces of the puzzle the author introduces.
This book requires patience; it is told from multiple viewpoints and frequently switches back and forth to different time periods. It isn’t hard to read however, there is humor, especially when dealing with the story of the dog Jackson somehow ends up with. It does bring forth some of the characters from previous books, but the author does a good idea of giving you just enough information to follow the story line that involves them. There are a few red herrings and some interesting twists and in the end it all comes together; perhaps not perfectly, but realistically.
The book is rated 4 stars in comparison to her other books Case Histories and When Will There be Good news which I thought were slightly better. Still a four star book from Atkinson is head and shoulders above most other books out there. ...more
After retiring from the LAPD for three years, Harry Bosch has been reinstated as a Detective in the “Cold Case Squad”.
This is the 11th book in the BosAfter retiring from the LAPD for three years, Harry Bosch has been reinstated as a Detective in the “Cold Case Squad”.
This is the 11th book in the Bosch series, and Connelly remains a master of engrossing police procedural novels. Over the course of the years the character of Bosch has grown, and the word world weary definitely fits him now....more