I was on the last leg of a 600-mile car trip (with a lot of books on my iPad) when I began reading Snakeskin in early November. Initially, I wasn't suI was on the last leg of a 600-mile car trip (with a lot of books on my iPad) when I began reading Snakeskin in early November. Initially, I wasn't sure I would like it and to be perfectly candid, I wouldn't have purchased it based on the title alone—because Snakeskin didn't tell me anything about the book. Plus, I don't read thrillers, because they normally contain too much blood and gore, profanity and/or sex for me. All of the above, though, say more about me than they do about the book itself or even the author.
I had seen C.J. Lyons' books everywhere, so I was familiar with her name and knew she had to be a popular author. But it wasn't until I heard another reader say that Lyons' Lucy books don't have all the usual violence and sex other thrillers do, that I actually bought one for myself. And now I happily count myself among her growing "I love Lucy" fan club.
The main character Lucy Guardino must be based on real-life FBI agents, because I've worked with some of them and Lucy reminds me of the agents I know. So this character rings true. But even more important, she's just like me: she struggles with the demands of work and home, and home and work. Of being a wife, a parent, an employee. She doesn't do any of it perfectly, but she tries really, really hard—probably like we all do.
That Lucy just so happens to go after criminals who hurt children makes her all the better in my book. We could have many more people like her in the real world, and it wouldn't be near enough. Sadly, the real world doesn't offer the same outcome Snakeskin does, but in getting the bad guy, that makes Lucy a strong protagonist and a hero to me. Lyons is a very convincing writer, and her writing does an excellent job of showing the actual damage done by people who prey on children. And as it turns out, Snakeskin is the perfect title for this book.
When I arrived home from my trip, I was about two-thirds through the book, so when I couldn't sleep that night I stayed up for at least two hours to finish reading it. (That's another thing Lyons has going for her: she kept me turning the pages. Not a small feat, let me tell you.) Now I can't wait to read the next one in the series—and would have before now, if I wasn't trying to wade through the big pile I'm trying to conquer. Both on my nightstand and on my iPad.
Loved, loved, loved this book! It taught me a lot about myself and showed some amazing insight into the world of psychology and how little things becoLoved, loved, loved this book! It taught me a lot about myself and showed some amazing insight into the world of psychology and how little things become big things. I wasn't sure at the outset how Gladwell would tie in a suicide craze in Micronesia with Hush Puppies worn in Manhattan, or HIV in Baltimore, Md., with NYC's plunging crime rate. But he did, in a fascinating thread that left me a huge Gladwell fan....more
I finished The Good Earth in Hillsboro, WV, today. That's where Pearl Buck was born, and I wanted to be there when I turned the last page. After a touI finished The Good Earth in Hillsboro, WV, today. That's where Pearl Buck was born, and I wanted to be there when I turned the last page. After a tour of the house, filled with Chinese artifacts from Buck's life there. The Good Earth was great. I felt a connection to O-Lan, who actually did kill her own child—unlike me, who only planned to do so. (And which I relate in my book.) In that sense alone, even if in no other, this book deserved the Pulitzer Prize: to write about filicide during the early 1930's took a supreme amount of courage. It also shows the progressive character Buck displayed throughout her life. Which is why she's one of the country's most beloved authors....more
While I was impressed with her writing (How could I not be? She's Anne Lamott!) the storyline seemed to drag along. However, that being said, it was vWhile I was impressed with her writing (How could I not be? She's Anne Lamott!) the storyline seemed to drag along. However, that being said, it was very easy to picture myself there with the characters. I just wish Elizabeth, mother to druggie teen Rosie, had gotten her head out of the sand much, much sooner. I kept saying "wake up!" but she didn't listen. Loved James, the good-natured stepfather, and wanted to smack Rosie. More than a few times. All in all, a great depiction of how well addicts live a double life and hide their ugly deeds from the people who love them—and how often and how easily we let them....more
Boy Still Missing reads like a haunting tale, its melody remaining long after the reader finishes the last lyrical word.Haunting, lyrical and melodic
Boy Still Missing reads like a haunting tale, its melody remaining long after the reader finishes the last lyrical word. A cross between southern writers Bobbie Ann Mason and Flannery O'Connor, northerner (and Cosmo editor) John Searles proves that Yankee men can write a good "southern" story, too. Searles' style captivates the reader, effortlessly carrying her (in this case) through not just this fictional coming-of-age story, but also into the recesses of her own mind, life and experiences.
That is what great writing does: It provokes and causes one to pause, to reflect and try to find answers about life. Whether those answers are personal, peripheral or pivotal does not even matter, for Searles has provided the best answer of all--a lovely piece of prose in which nothing is what it seems; Dominick Pindle, a character most sons can relate to; and anticipation for an ending does not disappoint. Don't miss Boy Still Missing, for it will touch you in all the ways that matter, ensuring you spend a rich afternoon of pure pleasure with a writer whose work you will want to follow!...more
My first Picoult book, but not my last! Great writing, and I love the way she told the story from different character's voices. Also, it's a very realMy first Picoult book, but not my last! Great writing, and I love the way she told the story from different character's voices. Also, it's a very realistic when it comes to incarceration and child abuse....more
Knife Music is authentic, well-written, and suspenseful
As a former crime reporter, Knife Music seems like it could have been culled from any of the poKnife Music is authentic, well-written, and suspenseful
As a former crime reporter, Knife Music seems like it could have been culled from any of the police blotters I've seen in many precincts. As a nonfiction author myself, it rings more truthful than most fiction I've read. No doubt that's because first-time Author David Carnoy evidently conducted thorough research to achieve this authenticity.
I'm not sure what kind of music surgeons listen to while they operate on a patient, but I hope it's a soothing, melodic adagio or canon, rather like Pachelbel's Canon in D--one of my very favorite pieces.
Carnoy's suspenseful novel is definitely not an adagio. More like an opera, interspersed with mini intermezzos. That's not to say it isn't good--it is. Quite good, in fact, and Carnoy's writing is measured, with adequate attention given to pitch, tone and tempo.
His main character, Ted Cogan, is a surgeon who first operates on a teenage girl, and then--following her suicide--is accused of being her rapist. Like any well-composed piece of music, "Knife Music" does all it should to hold the reader's attention: it introduces passages, it orchestrates the scenes and it evokes emotion.
Sometimes the emotion is not what one would expect: confusion, angst or even frustration are among the ones you might experience. Confusion over why the seemingly good doctor--a quite likeable fellow--would have raped a beautiful but troubled teen. Angst over her death and her parents' utter failure to effectively reach out to her prior to her senseless suicide. Or frustration over Detective Hank Madden's inability to clearly separate himself from the rape investigation.
Because these are all realistic responses to similar traumatic events one might experience in life, Carnoy's writing comes across as bona fide. He does weave the story back and forth, bringing to mind a good fugue, but that merely serves to keep the reader on her toes.
The only complaint this particular reader had was this: I got bogged down at one point. The story just seemed to drone on in no specific direction, and I was left wondering where Carnoy as the conductor of this work was taking me. Turns out, it was to a finale that was anything but dull and monotonous!
Carnoy accomplishes many things with the melodic story he tells in Knife Music. Among them, he gives his readers an ethical dilemma to ponder, provides them with characters we come to care about, and ties in a social issue that couldn't be more fitting in view of the current Penn State scandal.
But it is the final movement that any maestro would be proud of. This is one reader who will gladly cry, "Encore, encore!" ...more
Maybe Healthcliff is the reason I've gone for brooding men. Seriously, it's just one of the classic star-crossed lover books. You can't rush it, thougMaybe Healthcliff is the reason I've gone for brooding men. Seriously, it's just one of the classic star-crossed lover books. You can't rush it, though. Bronte writes at a level that is beyond most readers today....more