I knew before reading this book that it was a mystery thriller, so after the first few chapters, I still remember wondering if Amazon had screwed up aI knew before reading this book that it was a mystery thriller, so after the first few chapters, I still remember wondering if Amazon had screwed up and sent me the wrong book. The story doesn’t pick up until after about the first quarter, when the plot elements finally come together and I start having a better idea of where the mystery part of the story was going. Several themes like the ugly truth of violence (especially against women), fascism, and financial crime are also interwoven into the main story along with multiple plot lines, and after a while you start to see how it all comes together. At times shocking and unpredictable, by the halfway point of this book I was completely hooked and I couldn’t put it down until its conclusion....more
Not wanting to wait, I jumped right into the second book of the trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Again, more thrills and investigations when thNot wanting to wait, I jumped right into the second book of the trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Again, more thrills and investigations when three people are murdered on the same night — and Lisbeth Salander is the main suspect.
I didn’t like the second installment as much, since once again it was slow to take off and took even longer for the story to take shape. Also, I loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the mystery and the clue-hunting by the novel’s protagonists. On the other hand, The Girl Who Played With Fire, while having its mysterious elements, is more a thriller than a mystery. Again, there are multiple plots and themes, but they all come together less coherently that I would have expected. The focus here also clearly shifts to Salander, though Blomkvist still plays an important role in trying to prove her innocence.
Despite its flaws, The Girl Who Played With Fire is still a solid book, even if it doesn’t pack a punch like the first one did and drags on at times. At least I liked it enough to continue with the third and final book in the series, and I’m glad I did....more
In a way, I like to think of The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest as one big novel. For one thing, the latter picksIn a way, I like to think of The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest as one big novel. For one thing, the latter picks up right where the former left off so we don’t miss a single beat. In this one we go hunting with Blomkvist for the people who framed Lisbeth for the murders and turned her life into a living hell. It is a book about collecting information, preparing for a trial, and ultimately bringing those who are responsible to justice.
If you read the second book, the third one is a must. It. Is. Good. Again, perhaps not as strong as the first novel, but definitely in my opinion better than the second while providing it with a satisfying conclusion which answers all the questions and ties everything up beautifully as well. For the ending of this book alone, I feel both are worth reading. What a shame it is that the late Stieg Larsson will no longer bring us more adventures of Blomkvist and Salander. After finishing this book, I was actually overcome with a little sadness....more
I've been reading a lot of fantasy lately, and decided to try something different for a change. I asked around for recommendations of some classic mysI've been reading a lot of fantasy lately, and decided to try something different for a change. I asked around for recommendations of some classic mystery, and Dorothy L. Sayers was suggested to me. Hence Whose Body? was my first exposure to Lord Peter Wimsey.
Anyway, the book starts out with a naked dead body found in a bathtub. You just know there's going to be a good story there.
My first observation was that this book was written in the early 1920s, and it really showed in the writing as well as in the language and mannerisms of her characters. Dorothy L. Sayers is in no way a bad writer, but I couldn't help but notice some very awkward sections where the author attempts to tell the story from another point of view in the form of letters, and you just gotta think to yourself, Surely no one ever speaks or writes like that!
Still, I took it all in stride, and didn't even mind too much the overly verbose nature of Lord Peter Wimsey. Having mistakenly thought he would be a stuffy old lord, what I didn't expect was his dry sense of humor ("Well, if he only murdered me you could still hang him--what's the good of wasting a sound, marriageable young male like yourself?") and I liked him right away.
I later realized that Whose Body? was not only the first Lord Peter Wimsey book, but also Sayers' first detective novel. It is no wonder that I found some of the "mystery" aspects of the story amateurish. I guessed who the murderer was very early on, and later his explanation didn't even really make a lot of sense to me. In a few sections, I felt the author was a bit unsure of which direction to take, and some of the clues and explanations came through feeling a tad forced. Like one reviewer said, at times the novel felt like a parody of a detective story, complete with a few satirical touches.
I am not going to judge the rest of the Wimsey books by this one alone, however, as I know how "rough" first novels usually are, and no doubt Sayers goes on to polish her writing because of how successful her detective works became. Furthermore, even though Whose Body? didn't really do it for me as a mystery, as a novel I found it to be a very pleasant and fun read....more
This one's definitely getting filed under "weirdest books I've ever read". Even now I'm at a loss as to what to say about this book.
I had been intereThis one's definitely getting filed under "weirdest books I've ever read". Even now I'm at a loss as to what to say about this book.
I had been interested in reading China Mieville for a long time, after hearing such great things about "Perdido Street Station" and "The City & The City" from my friends. To be fair, I was warned by people who have read "Kraken" that it is not like his other books, which made me wonder if it was such a good idea picking it for my first taste of Mieville. Even knowing what might be coming, it was still nothing like I expected.
"Kraken" basically follows Billy Harrow, a museum scientist at the Museum of Natural History in London. An expert on mollusks, Billy is also responsible for the preservation of a giant squid, one of the most popular exhibits. When the thing goes missing, Billy finds himself thrown into a side of London he never knew existed, a world full of magic, secret cults, doomsday theories and other supernatural creatures.
The first quarter of the book, arguably the most "normal" part, drew me into the story right away. It was afterward that things started spiraling out of control. But even as it gets increasingly abstract, it's in a way that's more Neil-Gaiman-type-whacky, which in and of itself is fine even if it's not really my thing. I'll even give this book a thumbs up, if for nothing else the entire chapter full of Star Trek references including a live Tribble and an actual working phaser gun.
The main problem for me was the prose that got more and more out of hand as the book droned on, killing the momentum completely. It's hard to get into the world and characters when you're continuously distracted by so much that is superfluous to the main story. In the end, I realized all I wanted to do was get the book over with, find out what happened, and move on. Couldn't wait to get done fast enough. Disappointing, since it had such a good start, such great ideas and such an interesting premise.
I don't think I would read something like this again. I hear, however, that the author has quite a varied writing style and it seems he is more straightforward in some books than others. I still have plans to give "The City & The City" a read, but only once I feel like I've gotten "Kraken" out of my system....more
Everything changes early one morning when Dr. Amanda James gets a call from an old college flame and fellow archaeologist, beseeching her to travel toEverything changes early one morning when Dr. Amanda James gets a call from an old college flame and fellow archaeologist, beseeching her to travel to Italy to help solve the puzzle of a mysterious set of bronze doors at a new dig site. Much to her surprise and bemusement, Amanda also receives an offer of stardom and celebrity from billionaire Luc Renard on the same day. The only catch? The job is in Tokyo, requiring Amanda to leave everything of her life behind including her current work at the Getty Museum. Unable to turn her back on archaeology and all the research that she loves, she turns down the offer, but Renard is not someone used to taking no for an answer...
At the dig site in Italy, Amanda takes up the challenge solving the secret of the bronze doors. Sealed by a code inscribed in ancient languages including Chinese and Egyptian, the researchers believe the doors should open up to an underground vault buried beneath a hundred feet of ash from the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Once inside, Amanda discovers a room full of relics, including two unknown figures eternally locked in what appears to have been a struggle, killed and frozen in time by the volcanic effusion.
It is then Amanda suddenly experiences a shocking vision -- the life and times of the notorious Biblical figure Cain. Through her visions, she learns the truth -- that Cain actually walked the earth for thousands of years, cursed for the murder of his brother. Trapped in his immortal life, this is a story of Cain's road to redemption and fight to resist the devil's temptations.
At first, I thought I would love Wayward Son, based on my love for archaeology and the description of the book on various websites like Amazon and Goodreads. However, the book was nothing like I expected. Don't get me wrong, this was a well written book with a rather creative story. My problem with it isn't so much what the book was about, but with the way it was marketed.
From the synopsis, it sounded like a tale of suspense and adventure, something I would really love. As it turned out, this was not the case. I think I was initially drawn to these particular lines of the description: "Amanda is shocked to discover evidence left behind by a notorioius Biblical killer, who long ago wandered off the pages of history. When a strange relic unveils the miraculous truth about this villain, Amanda must battle sinister forces intent on suppressing her stunning revelation, before it alters the destiny of millions."
While the beginning of the novel started off promising, I have to say that description did not actually reflect the content of the book at all. The bulk of the story itself is actually much more low-key and subdued, and not as heart-pumpingly exciting as the synopsis made it sound. The life of "Biblical killer" who turned out to be Cain played out more like a historical drama, and he wasn't really portrayed like the "villain" as stated. While Wayward Son did have a touch of mystery and suspense, the description is unreliable. I would say this book would be more at home on a Christian fiction shelf.
I'm still glad I picked it up for the synopsis, misleading or not, because I don't know if I would have read this book otherwise. It's an intriguing read, though my only caveat to other potential readers, of course, is to be wary of the novel's descriptions....more
Christine Lucas, the protagonist of this psychological thriller, has a problem. Years ago, an accident robbed her of her ability to retain day-to-dayChristine Lucas, the protagonist of this psychological thriller, has a problem. Years ago, an accident robbed her of her ability to retain day-to-day memories. Each night, her mind erases everything when she goes to sleep, and most days when she wakes, she is unable to remember anything past her young adult years. Her husband Ben is a stranger beside her in the bed she wakes up in every morning, and she is unfamiliar with the middle-aged face she sees in the mirror, still believing herself to be in her early 20s.
Ben does his best to help her cope, keeping her grounded by guiding her through each day with photos, scrapbooks and patience. Then one day, Christine discovers she has been working secretly with a doctor, who has been encouraging her to document each day in her journal. Using it to piece together daily events, she discovers there is more to her past, a past that her husband may have been keeping from her. What do you do when the only person you can trust is only telling you half the story? What can you believe when you don't even trust your own memories?
Before I go to Sleep is like 50 First Dates meets Memento, a dramatic tale that very quickly transforms into a suspenseful, psychological thriller. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel, since beneath the twists and turns lies a very complex theme, a darker truth that many would find difficult to think about. If what makes a person is their lifetime of memories, who are we if we can't recall our lives or even ourselves? Not being able to remember anything is a scary thought. On the one hand, while painful or disturbing memories can be abandoned each night, so will the memories of all the happy times and of those you love. It's a little bit like dying every night, and when I really think about it, I can't help but sympathize with Christine even more.
Given the premise of the novel, I was really curious as to how the author would handle the narrative. Not surprisingly, I found it a little awkward and confusing, but it was nonetheless well executed and better than I had hoped. After a while, I started getting used to the style and structure, and decided in the end that it was the best possible way to tell this story in light of the challenges it presents.
I thought this was a good mystery novel, with a very emotional build up to a startling and explosive conclusion. The only problem with this is that sometimes, I felt like the book was genre-confused, not knowing whether or not it wanted to be a heartfelt drama, or a suspenseful thriller. In the end, I guess it is a little bit of both. If I had known this beforehand, I probably would have liked this book even more, but as it is, I often found myself perplexed with its pacing while I was reading. Some parts of the beginning and middle felt a bit slow, while the ending was anything but.
Still, Before I go to Sleep succeeds at being an entertaining and enjoyable read. It is probably one of the more original stories I've read so far this year, and more thought-provoking than I expected. ...more
It was this book that also made me realize the series is becoming more about the overarching drama that is Harry's life, and less about the individualIt was this book that also made me realize the series is becoming more about the overarching drama that is Harry's life, and less about the individual stories within the novels. In this way the series reminds me of TV shows that start off as monster-of-the-week and gradually evolve into complicated soap operas over time.
I've always loved the drama in Harry's life, but this is the first time I've felt bogged down by it. The entire story was a rather confusing affair. Even as urban fantasy mysteries go, Dresden books are usually characterized by a string of events that follow logically from one to the next. He might not be doing much detective work anymore, but things generally unfold in a way to bring all the pieces together in a way that makes sense. I didn't get that so much from this book. Several loose ends were explained away in a convoluted manner or simply not touched upon at all.
I also didn't much care for the ending, but that's just me.
All in all, I liked Small Favor, but remembering how good some of the previous installments of this series had been, I just can't give it the same high rating. ...more
Worried about spoilers, I didn't start this anthology until I was finished with the game. In the end, I don't think it really mattered. The stories inWorried about spoilers, I didn't start this anthology until I was finished with the game. In the end, I don't think it really mattered. The stories in this collection takes place in the world of L.A. Noire, but none of them were really directly related, though I liked how couple stories provided a little background information into some of the cases.
I liked most of the stories, some more than others. Nevertheless, my guess is that fans of the noir genre probably won't think much of this book, but those familiar with the game might find it enjoyable, or at the very least a fun enough read. Still, not bad for a freebie....more
Never watched the TV show, don't know anything about it. The only reason I picked this up was because it was one of the many free-to-borrow titles inNever watched the TV show, don't know anything about it. The only reason I picked this up was because it was one of the many free-to-borrow titles in the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, and I wanted to use up my quota for the month of December. This caught my eye because a few of my friends have it on their GR lists.
In some ways, not knowing anything about the Castle series was probably a good thing. Unlike a lot of people who've read this, I had no biases or preconceptions, I just jumped in hoping for a good, fast read. And it delivered on both accounts.
I loved the style of "Richard Castle". The "real" author is unknown, but if it's true that he or she is involved with the show and if the writing is anything like the book, I just may have to check it out one of these days....more
I agree with others that this was the best one yet. I really shouldn't have taken this long to get to it, but admittedly I was discouraged by the noveI agree with others that this was the best one yet. I really shouldn't have taken this long to get to it, but admittedly I was discouraged by the novel's blurb. I really hate those hackneyed "protagonist gets too close to the truth, gets blocked by being framed and disgraced" type stories, so I didn't make book three my priority.
Still, the action, thrills and suspense more than made up for it. Unlike the previous two books, this was the first time I felt that Nikki Heat was deep into a mystery and conspiracy much bigger than herself. As the stakes were raised, so was my interest. I tore through this book, eager to get down to the bottom of the case.
I also enjoyed the flow of the novel; the dialogue is humorous without being forced, and it was easy to just get into the story....more