I generally appreciate that Karin Fossum tries new storytelling techniques with each novel, but this one really missed. It is told from the perspectiv...moreI generally appreciate that Karin Fossum tries new storytelling techniques with each novel, but this one really missed. It is told from the perspective of the murderer, and Inspector Sejer doesn't even come into the story until 60% in (thanks, Kindle). The main problems with this book are a) is is completely lacking the the fun of a mystery-- figuring out what happened and following the investigators as they piece it together; and b) the voice of the narrator was completely unengaging-- almost stream of consciousness-like. I need dialogue! Plus nothing really happens. There was no suspense whatsoever because a) we know Sejer closes every case (literally); and b) the murderer is so stupid-- Inspector Clouseau could close the case! If you're reading the Sejer books, skip this one!(less)
I guess I keep looking for another Into Thin Air. I remember the experience of reading it for the first time, of literally being unable to put it down...moreI guess I keep looking for another Into Thin Air. I remember the experience of reading it for the first time, of literally being unable to put it down, ignoring a large pile of end of term marking and staying up all night. The natural human drama combines with Krakauer's storytelling to form a masterpiece. And I keep hoping for that literary rush again. Unfortunately The Other Side of Everest did not provide me that rush. It is no Into Thin Air. That said, I did enjoy reading it. Knowing the story of 1996 on the south side inside and out, it was interesting to see things from the north side. I also quite liked Matt Dickinson; he wasn't always likable and respectful, but I appreciated his honesty. He is also very British (if that makes sense), and I like that I sense his personality so strongly in his writing. I also appreciate that he is self-depreciating. One of the things that let me down, however, is that he focused quite a bit in the beginning on his relationship with his wife and his motivation. I was waiting for him, after the Everest climb, to complete his commentary on these subjects: How had the climb affected his marriage? How had his attitude towards increasingly more dangerous adventures been altered by his experience? He just seemed to gloss over these points, as if his editor said, "Hey, Matt, you set your reader up with these questions, now you need to answer them." The response was a quick paragraph paying lip-service to these issues. But the meat of the book, the disaster and the climb, was enjoyable. I guess I'm just fascinated by the people who do stuff like this, so I want more insight into their makeup. (less)
Really,Camilla Lackberg? Ghosts?! Ugh. While I am usually just annoyed by the overly simplistic, unbelievable saccharin nature of the protagonists' pe...moreReally,Camilla Lackberg? Ghosts?! Ugh. While I am usually just annoyed by the overly simplistic, unbelievable saccharin nature of the protagonists' personal life, in this case even the mystery let me down. This book was lazy and disappointing. While Lackberg often uses the parallel story device effectively, here it is so bad (read: obvious what is going on) that it is laughable. And normally I enjoy the slow unravelling of the (detailed) plot, but in this book my attention wasn't captured because the red herring was so lame that I never thought it a viable explanation for the crime. There was no "aha" as things came together; rather it was a "phew" because it was done. (less)
This book started with such promise. For the first while I was impressed that perhaps Nesbo had ventured into more literary territory than his usual p...moreThis book started with such promise. For the first while I was impressed that perhaps Nesbo had ventured into more literary territory than his usual page-turning Harry Hole mysteries. In Headhunters, Nesbo creates an initially interesting character, a narcissist who borders on psychopathy. However, once the set-up is over and the main plot begins, it gets silly. It literally goes down the toilet. I am left wondering if Nesbo intended this to be a farce...(less)
I kinda feel sorry for all mountain disaster books that follow Into Thin Air, for they will always be compared to Krakauer's masterpiece. On the other...moreI kinda feel sorry for all mountain disaster books that follow Into Thin Air, for they will always be compared to Krakauer's masterpiece. On the other hand, they do benefit from the resulting popularity of the genre and probably earn a lot more money thanks to Krakauer.
No Way Down is a decent book-- not great, but decent. I like the way Bowley tells the story through his different characters, tracing each part of the story from the perspective of those involved at that stage of the disaster. First he lets us get to know them, then he tells us of their fate on K2. For example, the first people we get to know are a trio of Norwegians. They are the first to summit, so we follow their journey up and then down. (I shall leave out the details so as not to spoil the book.) We then pick up the story from the next group approaching the summit, and so on to the last climbers to leave the mountain. However, where this book lets me down is in the fact that while Bowley gets me to care about the characters, he never really makes me feel their peril. And this is a story wherein 11 people died. On K2. Yet I never really felt much adrenaline, or "Oh no!" moments. Maybe this is because, unlike Krakauer, Bowley himself has no mountaineering experience. He has never felt fear or danger on a mountain, so how can he impart these feelings on the reader? Furthermore, while Bowley alludes to contradictions in the stories of what happened and who may be blamed for certain aspects of the tragedy, he never gets into it. I felt this left some of the important conflict out of the story. And I felt that a writer who had set out to tell me the truth about what happened on K2 let me down. (less)
I suppose the mark of a successful book is in how much it stays with you after you close it and how much you want to talk about it. This book meets bo...moreI suppose the mark of a successful book is in how much it stays with you after you close it and how much you want to talk about it. This book meets both criteria-- it is gripping, thought-provoking and well-crafted (to say more about the author's stylistic choices would spoil it). I can't remember the last time I was so engrossed by the last 100 pages of a novel. (less)
This is my second Harry Hole book in as many weeks, and I am once again impressed. While Nemesis is perhaps a little more conventional a crime mystery...moreThis is my second Harry Hole book in as many weeks, and I am once again impressed. While Nemesis is perhaps a little more conventional a crime mystery than The Redbreast, it is only because the latter used the element of flashback to historical fiction as its subplot. Nemesis, however, is every bit as complicated and, consequently, satisfying. What stood out for most about this one is that even at the end, I can't tell you which was the central crime. There are really two (if not more) mysteries going on in this book, and part of the mystery is figuring out how they're linked. Like with the previous book, Nesbo puts all the strands in place, but doesn't weave them together until the end. So you read with a sense that you kind of know somewhat how it's all connected, but you really don't. Great suspense technique! What I found is that as I sensed I was in the home stretch and the solution was forthcoming, I couldn't put the book down, desperate to find out how everything fit together.
Beyond the skillful unraveling of the crime(s) plot, what makes the Nesbo books so enjoyable are the characters. They are complex and varied, and Harry himself is a complicated hero. We shouldn't like him, yet we do.
As soon as I hit "save" on this review, I'm staring The Devil's Star. I guess that says it all.(less)
Another enjoyable (though dark) mystery from Iceland. No cheer in this Christmas story, but interesting (if odious) characters. Great atmosphere and t...moreAnother enjoyable (though dark) mystery from Iceland. No cheer in this Christmas story, but interesting (if odious) characters. Great atmosphere and the character of Erlendur gets even more interesting. Like other great damaged Scandinavian literary cops (Kurt Wallender, Harry Hole), he's a mess, but you like him. (less)
I appreciate that Fossum's books differ from the usual procedurals, and I also appreciate how each of her books is unique in its storytelling style. W...moreI appreciate that Fossum's books differ from the usual procedurals, and I also appreciate how each of her books is unique in its storytelling style. While I often feel depressed by the tragedy and sadness of her stories that generally revolve around unfortunate circumstances and unfortunate characters, I do love that her stories make me FEEL, dark as those feelings may be.(less)
Not much to say here that I haven't said in my last two Jo Nesbo reviews. Once again he manages to have a fairly complicated plot that is engaging as...moreNot much to say here that I haven't said in my last two Jo Nesbo reviews. Once again he manages to have a fairly complicated plot that is engaging as you seek to tie everything together. But Nesbo won't let you, maintaining the suspense and interest throughout the novel. The new layer in this book is that the character of Harry Hole is losing control. Firstly, it is unusual to see a popular writer do this to his protagonist. Hole is certainly not your typical "good guy." Secondly, I appreciate seeing the character actually develop. So often in a series this doesn't happen, leaving you feeling little reason to continue reading. Who wants to read the same book time and time again? I also appreciate Nesbo allowing his character to develop honestly. Hole's an alcoholic; alcoholism isn't pretty and those suffering from it struggle. The fact that Nesbo allows this to happen with Hole is a departure from so much popular fiction where believability is often sacrificed for happiness.(less)