Obviously I'm missing something. I work at a library, and Sue Grafton's books are very popular; many readers have praised them and urged me to pick onObviously I'm missing something. I work at a library, and Sue Grafton's books are very popular; many readers have praised them and urged me to pick one up. Since I've recently been trying to expose myself to a few new bestselling authors, I decided to give a Grafton a try, and being the anal person that I am, I chose to start at the very beginning of her Kinsey series.
So is that where I went wrong? This book just didn't catch my interest in any real way. I keep scouring the online reviews, searching for indication that the series dramatically improves with time, but I have yet to find anything particularly encouraging.
As a character, I didn't find Kinsey very appealing, nor very interesting. (A good character has to be one or the other!) I also think Grafton was a little heavy handed in her use of irony. Maybe at the time this book was first published, these kinds of twists and turns were novel, but I've seen the same kind of tactics too often to be surprised by them now.
The writing was ok, but I never really found myself emotionally involved in the story. I felt detached during the climactic finale, and the end of the book seemed overly abrupt. The final explanation was plausible, but not particularly intriguing, and I would have been interested to read more on the repercussions of what ultimately went down.
I don't plan on reading any more letters in this alphabet, unless someone convinces me that B through W have something redeeming about them....more
Coromoran Strike, a struggling private detective, has had a particularly rough morning, and things don't improve with the unexpected arrival of RobinCoromoran Strike, a struggling private detective, has had a particularly rough morning, and things don't improve with the unexpected arrival of Robin Ellacot, a temporary worker from an agency that he can no longer afford to pay for their services. While the situation seems increasingly bleak for Cormoran, a glimmer of hope arrives in the form of another unexpected visitor, a wealthy, prospective client. John Bristow is the brother of legendary supermodel Lula Landry, who met her death three months before in a supposedly suicidal leap from her apartment balcony. Despite a police investigation that eliminated murder as a possibility, Bristow remains unconvinced that his sister committed suicide, and he's ready to hire Cormoran at twice the usual rate to track down the truth. As unlikely as he believes Bristow's allegations to be, the chance for Cormoran to get back on his feet financially proves too tempting to refuse.
While I've read a few mysteries, they aren't my usual choice in fiction. So, despite the starred reviews I noted when I made the decision to purchase The Cuckoo's Calling for my library branch, Robert Galbraith's work didn't make it onto my already overflowing list of potential reads. J.K. Rowling, however, I can manage to make room for. (Funny how that works, isn't it?)
The Cuckoo's Calling reminds me of the works of some of the traditional British mystery writers. Character development is key, the different steps in the investigation are what move the plot forward, and the thriller element is minimal--practically nonexistent. For this reason, I suppose some readers might not find this book engaging, and the plot development, slow. It is slow, but it's like enjoying a meandering drive through the countryside versus speeding down a racetrack. Both approaches are enjoyable, but for entirely different reasons.
The storyline was intriguing, the characters were interesting, the quality of the writing was solid, and the conclusion was plausible. I can't really ask for anything more. Rowling/Gilbraith is expected to revisit the characters depicted here, and I look forward to seeing more of them.
I was really disappointed in this book. I've read one of McCrumb's Ballad series and found it to be an enjoyable read, and my husband, a big fan of heI was really disappointed in this book. I've read one of McCrumb's Ballad series and found it to be an enjoyable read, and my husband, a big fan of hers, handed me this book with an earnest expression on his face and said "I think you'll like it." I wanted to like it, but wanting does not make it so.
First of all, as another reviewer noted, this book comes off as a little dated. It was written in 1985, and technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then. While the outdated equipment doesn't have a major effect on the storyline, it does jar the reader when it appears. I certainly felt like rolling my eyes a time or two.
Secondly, I found the characters one-dimensional. Perhaps their transparency is somewhat a function of the novel's short length, but I've read short stories that created characters with more depth than these. Elizabeth "Elle" MacPherson, the main character, is just plain "blah," and the other characters hardly move beyond the first impressions you get of them.
And lastly, I was very disappointed in the story's resolution. I think the reader is supposed to sympathize with the guilty party, but I find it difficult to forgive someone who committed a cold-blooded murder, and certainly not one committed for the reasons given in the storyline. The whole thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I felt like throwing the book into the air with disgust.
As a resident of the Appalachian region, I did enjoy the local lore the book provided--the references to local flora and the region's history--, but I still can't really recommend this title. A reviewer on Amazon indicated that this was the weakest book in this series, but based on what I've seen here, it would take a lot to redeem the other titles. Think I'll pass on the rest of the Elle MacPherson books, but I may read another one from the Ballad series....more
This book earned starred reviews from four of the major review sources: Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, and Library Journal. This is a rare featThis book earned starred reviews from four of the major review sources: Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, and Library Journal. This is a rare feat, so I was excited to grab this book off the shelf at my library.
On her good days, Jennifer White is a 65 year-old retired orthopedic surgeon, sharp of mind and agile of wit. Unfortunately, those goods days are happening less and less. On her bad days, Jennifer is unaware of where she is, who she is talking to, or even her own name. Jennifer has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and since her best friend, Amanda, has recently been murdered by an unknown assailant, the memories trapped in Jennifer's deteriorating mind are of value not only to herself, but also to detectives involved in the murder investigation.
Writing the narrative from this character's perspective, LaPlante gives us a unique look at a situation that is little understood. Alzheimer's, like death, is a state that no one comes back from, and there isn't really anyone who can tell us how it feels to have the disease (at least the latter stages of it, anyway).
To say this story is about the murder would be an oversimplification of the plot line. It is the murder that drives the narrative forward, but the center of this story is Jennifer--her disease, its affects on her and her family, and the few fragments of memory that she has left. It was intriguing to read from Jennifer's perspective, and it reminded me how thankful I am that there is no history of Alzheimer's in my family. I imagine that this would be a very difficult read for anyone who had firsthand experience with this debilitating disease.
The words were well written, the shifting perspective, very well done. The characters were complex, and, if not likable, at least interesting. There was a lot of story "between the lines," and I think a second reading would be necessary to get a full appreciation. Even so, I had to detract one star from this review--mainly because I felt the plot line was not as strong as it could have been, but also because I never found much to like about Jennifer White, her friends, or her family. The latter judgment is a very personal one and may not be problematic for anyone else, but it made it very difficult for me to fully immerse myself in Jennifer's viewpoint....more
I was generous and gave this book two stars, but that's really only because I got it from the library (thus no financial investment) and read it in twI was generous and gave this book two stars, but that's really only because I got it from the library (thus no financial investment) and read it in two days (thus no major time investment). So I can say, to some degree, that this book was worth the time and money I spent on it.
This series has always been formulaic, and I don't necessarily have a problem with formulaic (particularly for light, summer reads), but I think I've reached my limit here. I've gotten a few laughs from the eccentric characters over the years (love Lula and Grandma Mazur!), but I didn't find much to laugh about here. In fact, the very same characters that I often found endearing ended up being annoying more often than not. (When Lula screwed up yet another plan by doing something incredibly stupid, I cringed both inwardly and outwardly.)
Even the "love story" has lost some of its charm. While the earlier books left a lot to the imagination, thereby making the male sex symbols all the more sexier, Evanovich is getting increasingly graphic in her descriptions of Stephanie's sexual escapades. I'd rather read "Stephanie and ____ had amazing sex" and imagine everything from there, than a get a graphic description of how Stephanie arranges herself in a small car so that she can have a quickie in an alley.
Meanwhile, the indecisiveness in Stephanie's love life is getting really old. I'm starting to wonder why all these men find Stephanie attractive at all--and yet for some reason, she seems to be the object of multiple obsessions, not to mention the lover of choice for both Ranger and Morelli. Evanovich ends this book by hinting that Stephanie's long-awaited decision between the two amazing studs is coming in the next novel, but I'm not holding my breath. Maybe it's time for Ranger and Morelli to move on and find a couple women who are less wishy-washy.
I think I'll probably read through the next few books, but that's only based on the assumption of a "zero-dollar, minimal-time" investment on my part. I think it might be time for us to say goodbye to Stephanie Plum... or at the very least, Evanovich needs to shake things up. An unplanned pregnancy, perhaps?...more