I was drawn to this book because of its relevance in today's world of increasing incidents of school violence and gunmen on campuses. Gudenkauf succee...moreI was drawn to this book because of its relevance in today's world of increasing incidents of school violence and gunmen on campuses. Gudenkauf succeeds in capturing the uncertainty and terror in a small-town school hostage situation by telling her story from 5 different points of view. This can be a risky technique if each narrator does not have a unique voice and perspective. Gudenkauf develops the character of each of her narrators extremely well while keeping the story moving suspensefully along. She leaves each narrator's story hanging at every switch so that it is hard to put the book down.
Two of the narrators, 13-year-old Augie and 3rd grade teacher Evelyn Oliver, are inside the school - with the gunman actually in Mrs. Oliver's classroom. Another two narrators, Officer Meg Barrett and Will Thwaite (Augie's grandpa) are outside the school among those trying to ascertain who the gunman is and what he wants. And the last narrator lies in a hospital bed across the country in Arizona.
I was kept guessing who the intruder was as the tension kept mounting. Good old-fashioned storytelling!(less)
Agent Will Trent still fascinates me and I like his interplay with Dr. Sara Linton in this series installment. We are given a few more concrete facts...moreAgent Will Trent still fascinates me and I like his interplay with Dr. Sara Linton in this series installment. We are given a few more concrete facts about his history with his psycho wife Angie Polaski - and it makes you want him to ditch her even more. Will's partner, Faith Mitchell, continues to struggle with her newly diagnosed diabetes - I don't like too much the weakness this adds to her effectiveness as an Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent.
The main storyline involves the kidnapping of Faith Mitchell's mother, retired Atlanta police captain Evelyn Mitchell. The eventual resolution of the case brings to light a lot of Evelyn's past and the close history she shares with Will's boss Amanda Wagner. I had a little trouble with the number of bad guy characters - I felt confused a lot and in the end it didn't seem to matter that much who they all were and how they were all related. More simplicity would have been better.
In the end, however, it was another Karin Slaughter page turner that I had a hard time putting down and I'm getting better and better acquainted with some intriguing characters.(less)
Just good old escape reading thriller fare - real bad guy serial killer, psychologically and emotionally broken cops, ex con (was he really innocent o...moreJust good old escape reading thriller fare - real bad guy serial killer, psychologically and emotionally broken cops, ex con (was he really innocent or guilty of murder at age 16?). Not for those who are squeamish about violence - Karin Slaughter doesn't seem to shy away from that at all. Are there really that many cops out there that are so damaged? They really seem to find their way into books a whole lot! (less)
Nesbo's dark and brooding trademark atmosphere, anti-hero former detective Harry Hole his usual tortured self, cast of depraved supporting characters...moreNesbo's dark and brooding trademark atmosphere, anti-hero former detective Harry Hole his usual tortured self, cast of depraved supporting characters - it's all there but didn't click for me like it did in The Snowman and The Leopard. What was missing was the psychopathic serial killer on the loose. Here we have very bad drug lords, corrupt policemen and politicians, and a very ugly under belly of Oslo. And Nesbo's plot line with twists and surprises galore. Suspenseful, yes. But it's the psychology and sociology of the psychopathic serial killer mind that drew me to Nesbo in the first place. But Harry Hole's personal demon struggles will bring me back - if there is another story. Nesbo wants to leave us hanging for the time being. (less)
Maria Rasputin, the main character of this historical novel, remained an enigma to me throughout the book. She seemed strong one minute and whimpering...moreMaria Rasputin, the main character of this historical novel, remained an enigma to me throughout the book. She seemed strong one minute and whimpering the next. I never developed any real rapport with her so that made it hard to love this book. And, as with all Russian novels, I really had a hard time with the names and remembering who was who - made harder still because I was listening to it and couldn't go back and take a quick look to orient myself. I stayed interested in the book because I think the Romanoffs hold an attraction for many of us, and Rasputin's role in Russian history is quite fascinating. (less)
This book was an interesting look at New Orleans post-Katrina. The actual story of the Zeitoun family in the aftermath of the storm was a compelling o...moreThis book was an interesting look at New Orleans post-Katrina. The actual story of the Zeitoun family in the aftermath of the storm was a compelling one. There were other parts of the book that seemed a little forced to me that dealt with establishing the religious views of Zeitoun and his wife or establishing the perfectness of their relationship. These are valid background touches to paint, but it was done a little heavy-handedly.
I have to admit that my view of the book is probably colored by knowing that since the book was written, things have fallen apart for Zeitoun and Kathy, and that he is currently back in jail in New Orleans charged with soliciting her murder. This does not seem totally implausible to me because what he went through could have drastically changed anyone, but it does play in my mind that maybe there was a side to him we didn't see in the book. (less)
Many books have successfully woven together stories from different places and different times for me. This is just not one of them. I could have very...moreMany books have successfully woven together stories from different places and different times for me. This is just not one of them. I could have very happily stayed in Pasquale and Dee's story - as characters I loved and was intrigued by both of them. I became restless and fitful when forced to enter Michael Deane's story. And felt the same when he or Richard Burton barged into Pasquale and Dee's story. And I never saw the point of throwing in the story of the Donner! screenwriter. Way too much clutter for me. Maybe my rating would have been higher if I had not chosen this book with such high hopes. (less)
This book was a real conundrum for me. I loved the storyline of Dellarobia - a wonderful character that I connected with entirely and I rooted for her...moreThis book was a real conundrum for me. I loved the storyline of Dellarobia - a wonderful character that I connected with entirely and I rooted for her to find a way to take flight. I loved the character of her son Preston and their relationship. Framing their story within the story of the plight of the monarch butterflies led to some beautiful imagery and metaphor and there were many moments that Kingsolver's writing equaled for me what she achieved in The Poisonwood Bible.
But what tore it all down for me was the heavy handed way she drilled her environmental message. I felt like I kept getting hit over the head with a sledge hammer. Tell me a story, and it's even better if that story has a message. But don't lecture me outright. The main pupose of Ovid Byron's character seemed to be to lecture the reader. I wanted the message to be inferred in a more subtle way. I applaud the author's passion and concern. It just overtook the book too much for my personal enjoyment.
It's Dellarobia that rescues it enough to get a 3 rating. (less)