Sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy this. Selfmadehero’s books are generally excellent, but this let me down. For a start, I couldn’t see the promised sa...moreSorry to say that I didn’t enjoy this. Selfmadehero’s books are generally excellent, but this let me down. For a start, I couldn’t see the promised satire; I mean, it uses Disney characters, but I couldn’t see to what satirical end. Perhaps I didn’t get it. But no matter, perhaps I could enjoy the ‘Die Hard in Disneyland’ action.
Unfortunately not. An unsympathetic lead surrounded by stock characters made it hard to root for anyone. I found the art scratchy and unclear, and often made it hard to follow the action. By the end I wasn’t really sure what had happened or what I was supposed to think of it all.
A rare mis-step from an otherwise impressive publisher. Lovely cover, though.(less)
The bad news is, to get the most out of this book, you’re going to have to read thirty years worth of Jaime Hernandez’ Locas stories. The good news is...moreThe bad news is, to get the most out of this book, you’re going to have to read thirty years worth of Jaime Hernandez’ Locas stories. The good news is, those five collected volumes form one of the greatest bodies of work in comics history.
We’ve seen Maggie grow from a young punk to a slightly isolated middle-aged landlady. We know her well, because Jaime Hernandez has taken such great care and attention in writing her. We’ve followed her life, loves and losses. And because of that, the final section of the book becomes one of the greatest moments of drama in the history of the series.
Jaime Hernandez is simply one of the great artists working in any medium, and this allows him to create heartbreaking works of staggering genius using only simple black and white lines.
A very interesting read; the author interviewed Savile on many occasions before his death - and before the scale of his crimes was known (although the...moreA very interesting read; the author interviewed Savile on many occasions before his death - and before the scale of his crimes was known (although there were always rumours). The book covers Savile’s life, the timeline of the story of the TV expose, and the testimony of many victims and witnesses of his attacks.
What becomes clear is that many people were aware of what Savile was doing for many years, although whether through complicity, corruption (to the very highest levels), or fascination with celebrity, nobody told. When victims did approach people in authority, they were ignored.
This book isn’t just hastily cobbled together, it’s obviously been in progress for some time, although because the investigation is still ongoing there are frustrating ommissions and occasional repetition as the book is rewritten to accommodate new evidence. And Savile himself is an expert at manipulation and obfuscation, so some stories will, unfortunately, never be told; hints of corruption and murder will likely never be resolved one way or another.
It’s well written (I read almost the whole thing in a single long-distance flight), and while it isn‘t a classic true crime book, it’s more than a cheap cash-in and goes a long way in showing how crimes of this magnitude were hidden for so long: really, they weren’t; we just chose to look the other way. (less)
Stephen King still has a knack for dialogue and characterisation, but his days of being scary have gone; this is fantasy with a horror tinge, really n...moreStephen King still has a knack for dialogue and characterisation, but his days of being scary have gone; this is fantasy with a horror tinge, really no more horrific than the Twilight books he mocks. It’s interesting to find out what happened to Danny after The Shining, but that’s over in the first 10% of this book, and from then on we have late-period King, well-written but never particularly excellent. The main problem is that the book is free of peril; with perhaps one exception, the main characters are always in control, which makes the story somewhat less thrilling than it could be. It’s an enjoyable page turner, but I doubt I’ll ever go back to it.(less)
Having read so many good reviews of this, I was quite looking forward to reading it. About a fifth of the way in, I just wanted it to end. It is, at t...moreHaving read so many good reviews of this, I was quite looking forward to reading it. About a fifth of the way in, I just wanted it to end. It is, at times, hilariously badly written. I started highlighting awful sentences until that became too time-consuming.
“a vicious wind howling out of the steppes, hot, carrying with it the smell of Asia and the stench of betrayal” - oh really, what does that smell like?
“I may not be on top of anyone’s list for male lead in Deep Throat II, but I didn’t have anything to be ashamed of” - Deep Throat? That was forty years ago!
“Despite all her years of relentless sex, [the phone call] was to the only real man in her life – her father.”
The worst problem - among many - is that the author keeps telling us how amazing his main character is, without ever really showing us. He’s the world’s best killer, detective, forensic scientist… one supporting character says of him:
”There was one thing: he was clever – I mean, outstandingly clever – at what he did. I remember wondering if all FBI agents were that good.”
But the central mystery of the book is solved through absolute coincidence. By pure chance he’s working on two unrelated cases which happen to coincide. All through the book he gets lucky breaks, make guesses with no logic behind them but always turn out right… really, the one bit of actual detective work he does involves a bit of science that’s absolutely ridiculous.
The main character just seems like a bit of an unlikeable dick. He’s super-rich, arrogant, has an unpleasant streak of misogyny running through him, and apparently has a voracious appetite for drugs (which again, we’re only told about, never shown).
He’s even, apparently, an expert on playing bass.
“‘You’re a good bass player,’ I told him, ‘maybe one of the best I’ve heard – and I know what I’m talking about’”
This, along with his self-decribed ‘dark streak’ makes him seem like a super-agent dreamed up by a 17-year-old boy.
The one thing you can say about the book is that it keeps the pages turning, but that’s all done through the James Patterson Technique - short chapters, with a cliffhanger in almost every one. It also uses the cheap trick of hiding information from the reader although we’re supposed to be present with the narrator at all times.
“I opened the plastic bag, took out the device I had purchased and headed towards them.” - What device? Why didn’t you tell us when you bought it?
The narration is often confused, talking in the third person then suddenly breaking into first, as you realise that it’s the narrator somehow telling us the private thoughts of other characters.
If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess that I can’t recommend this book at all. A grand waste of my time.(less)
I’m not sure what to think about this. It’s certainly an engaging read in that it keeps you turning the page, but it rarely challenges you or steps be...moreI’m not sure what to think about this. It’s certainly an engaging read in that it keeps you turning the page, but it rarely challenges you or steps beyond a standard thriller template. The book relies on being a tale told orally from one character to another, but the dialogue never sounds real; would someone really say “… churning a morbid April sky”? On top of that it runs out of steam and rushes to a conclusion, wrapping up the central mystery in the last 30 pages with an awful lot of exposition.
While a decent time-passer, I’d hesitate to recommend this to anyone.(less)
Like many people, was reminded very much of Raymond Briggs; it’s slightly the art style, but more the tone and the pace. An excellent allegorical stor...moreLike many people, was reminded very much of Raymond Briggs; it’s slightly the art style, but more the tone and the pace. An excellent allegorical story which uses its central concept cleverly, raising it above a one-joke book to explore modern life and the safeties of conformity. The pencilled artwork is *beautiful*. I have no hesitation in recommending this.(less)