DC Gary Goodhew is a traditional police procedural protagonist. He is thorough, dependable, quirky and very likeable. He also lives in Cambridge, EnglDC Gary Goodhew is a traditional police procedural protagonist. He is thorough, dependable, quirky and very likeable. He also lives in Cambridge, England. If you were wondering what the DC stands for it is Detective Constable for us Yanks on this side of the pond. Trivia note: Constable is the lowest rank of a police officer in England.
The Calling is the third book in the DC Gary Goodhew series. I have not read the previous 2 books but as soon as I get through my backlog they will be immediately requested from the library. Fortunately for me, while I missed out on some of the relationship details that were obviously addressed in previous books, I never felt that I was missing any pivotal details.
In the calling Kaye Whiting a young promising lady goes missing the day before her grandmother’s 80th birthday party. An anonymous caller calls the police info hotline saying that Kaye is alive and that Peter Walsh was the culprit. Initially the question is can Gary save Kaye. The mystery unfolds smoothly with none of the cheap tricks I have encountered in many other police procedurals recently.
What made this story stand out to me more than the mystery was the changes in the characters through the story. Alison Bruce’s characters were a very pleasant surprise in a genre known for surprises. I found myself caring for not only Gary, but most of the secondary characters also. After reading The Calling I need to read Cambridge Blue and The Siren if for no other reason to learn more about his mate Bryn and what makes Sue Gully blush so frequently.
Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to visit Cambridge yet. When I do I hope that Alison Bruce would be willing to show me around. If the previous two Goodhew books are as descriptive as The Calling after reading them I may start a Cambridge tour service. Amazingly this great description enhances instead of detracts from the mystery itself. I also like how she incorporated contemporary works into the story. For instance the Cross and the Switchblade a novel I greatly enjoyed when I read it in High School appears as well as some well known art work that isn’t being stolen. I feel Alison Bruce’s ability to bring all these environmental elements together smoothly is what elevates The Calling far above other police procedurals.
I loved this book, but (there is always a but) the narrators voice was very difficult to read. The book was written in third person omniscient, except when it wasn’t. The narrator would bounce from omniscient to limited perspective at random. Worse there were a few places I swore was first person, although after re-reading them I discovered I was wrong. The problem here was the fact that I felt I needed to re-read thee section specifically because of the narrator and not because I thought I missed a clue. Also the limited point of view sections did not hide clues that would have allowed you to solve the story earlier. I still can not understand why Marlowe’s name was hidden for so long. All it did was annoy me that I was following a character for chapters and I didn’t know her name. The worst part about this issue is I believe Christine would have likely put the book down, it is one of her pet peeves, and I believe she would really be missing out.
I recommend this to anyone that likes a good police or detective story. For those of you whom are queasy about such things there are explicit descriptions of sex. They are pertinent to the story and I highly suggest that you read it anyway....more
Even after finishing this book and thinking about it for a while I am torn as to the type of review to leave. While I was eager to get through the booEven after finishing this book and thinking about it for a while I am torn as to the type of review to leave. While I was eager to get through the book it was mostly because I wanted to know what would happen. In the end though I had a feeling of why was this a story worth telling? Mina has a hard life, mostly due to things outside her control. She isn't very religious, and the story doesn't have a strong religious message. Things do not turn around much for her even after she learns more about life and how to cope.
In the end I feel this was a well written story, but the story did not feel worthy of the author. It is possible that not being Jewish I missed something that would have made this a more worthwhile story....more
Lets start with the positive. Steve Trek: The Galapagos Islands has very good descriptions of scuba diving in a beautiful place. An interesting premisLets start with the positive. Steve Trek: The Galapagos Islands has very good descriptions of scuba diving in a beautiful place. An interesting premise. I really liked the idea of a tycoon using the facade of looking for Atlantis as a cover for getting away with business ventures that would not have been allowed otherwise. It is also very short.
Now lets briefly discuss what is wrong (very summarized). Terrible dialog, unbelievable plot, most of the book was exposition, I hope the next book does a lot more show and a lot less tell. Just to top off the writing problems the protagonist are tortured for over a week, beaten until they are unconscious, but still are able to get away by using herculean feats of strength.
Being married to an author, and seeing how reviews can effect you I do not like leaving really bad critics of new novelist. This was truly one of the worst books I have read in my life. I want to be fair about this. I think with a really great editor and peer reviewers this book could have been a fun YA novel. I blame the publishers for the state this is in....more
Steve Ulfelder’s Purgatory Chasm is a great way to start off a writing career. I get to read a lot of debut novels, frequently before they are publishSteve Ulfelder’s Purgatory Chasm is a great way to start off a writing career. I get to read a lot of debut novels, frequently before they are published. I feel this gives me more experience in identifying some of the foibles new authors frequently work through in the first books. I didn’t see any of the typical beginner jitters from Steve Ulfelder. Then I googled Steve and found out he is not kicking off a writing career, he has been a journalist for 20 years. Of course converting journalism to novel writing is a difficult skill also and Steve has speed past the competition.
What stuck me most about Purgatory Chasm was that it was obvious that Steve knows Conway Sax very well.
Conway Sax strangely reminds me a lot of Rooster Cogburn from True Grit. He charges into the fray without a plan and some how comes out on the other side mostly unscathed. He also will follow a job no matter what it costs him both financially or health wise even after his client is dead.
The mystery is deep and satisfying. And while Steve has tried to hide the fact, the mystery is not what this book is really about. Because I googled Steve I happen to know that he is working on a sequel to Purgatory Chasm. I am very interested where he will be taking this character.
So why did I only give this book a 4 out of 5? There wasn’t a sympathetic character in the novel. There were a few characters on the up and up, but those were sidekicks that did not change much during the story. There is a hint that Conway is really trying to turn a new leaf, except he still doesn’t see anything wrong with breaking someone’s nose if he feels one of his friends has been wronged.
I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good mystery, especially if they like gritty characters.
I can not claim Fallen is a good mystery, but it was an entertaining read. When I requested Fallen I was not aware that this was part of a series. TheI can not claim Fallen is a good mystery, but it was an entertaining read. When I requested Fallen I was not aware that this was part of a series. The good news is that everything that is truly important is in the novel.
Faith Mitchell is a veteran police officer. When she comes home to a hostage situation, dead bodies and a missing mother whom was the Captain of the Atlanta Police Department and terminated under suspicious circumstances a bad day turns into a her worst nightmare.
The story then unfolds almost entirely through exposition. I do not like this form of story telling but Karin Slaughter was able to keep my interest through the whole book despite it. Her story flowed smoothly with enough information appearing at all the right places to prevent me from wanting to put it down. The multifaceted characters help tame the frequent and very graphic violence that seems to guide the direction of the plot. Be warned if you don’t like to read about copious amounts of grey matter covering just about everything this is not the book for you.
I really enjoyed the ride until the finally. Unfortunately I found the end to be completely unbelievable to the point of almost laughable and almost caused me to give this book less than 3 stars. The reason I am giving it 4 stars is that I really enjoyed the book until the very end and will likely read the other books in the series....more
This is a very sly book. On the surface it appears to be a book about a man trying to figure out his place in the world mostly by comparing and contraThis is a very sly book. On the surface it appears to be a book about a man trying to figure out his place in the world mostly by comparing and contrasting himself with his relationship with his pets. I don't know that I could read this book enough times to figure out all the symbolism, metaphor and other elements that make a good literary book.
I am honestly glad that I was exposed to The Guinea Pigs. It was a though provoking and good read. Unfortunately I don't think I will pick it up again to figure out all the stuff I missed. Even when I thought I saw into part of the depths of the narrative I couldn't bring myself to go back an re-read a few pages a chapter ago to make sure my hypothesis was correct.
Because this book is a translation from a foreign language I want to complement Kaca. There was enough of the original flavor that it didn't feel like it was watered down for my benefit, while being english enough I did not have any trouble following what was happening. I hope that if my wife's books get translated that someone as skilled performs the translations.
I highly suggest this book to anyone that believes they like the literary genre....more