The Jack Caffrey series has yet to return to the punch-in-the-gut intensity as the first two novels, Birdman and The TrWell, I think that's it for me.
The Jack Caffrey series has yet to return to the punch-in-the-gut intensity as the first two novels, Birdman and The Treatment. I may have mentioned in those reviews that the crime fiction genre has become so saturated that it takes something very special to stand out from the rest. Those two novels did that in spades. In fact, they were so disturbing that I was very selective in who I would recommend them to (yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition. Leave me alone).
Throughout the rest of the series, Jack's personal struggles have since been resolved somewhat, and we have been left with a typical crime detective series that, unfortunately, fails to stand out from the crowd. This has caused increasing disappointment for me because that aspect is what has kept me in the series. I don't think she plans on ever going back, nor do I think there is a reason to at this point. And for that reason I'm out.
Also, in this novel she seems to have taken a page from James Patterson's playbook and that is the use of maddeningly short chapters. I used to really enjoy this format (see Patterson's Kiss the Girls for a harrowing example), but in this novel it served to disrupt my reading momentum rather than fuel it.
Don't get me wrong, Mo Hayder has fine writing chops and a deviously clever mind and I wouldn't hesitate recommending her to anyone looking for a good thriller. And this is a good thriller setting a backdrop of an institution for the criminally insane that may or may not be haunted...
I'll still go back to Ms. Hayder, she has shown that she can rise above the rest and be special, but this series is getting thin, for me at least. Thanks for the first two brilliant ones though, Mo....more
Sorry, Atwood's run-on, fancy, comma ridden, elegantly poetic, prose simply doesn't work for me. I felt like I was reading something for English classSorry, Atwood's run-on, fancy, comma ridden, elegantly poetic, prose simply doesn't work for me. I felt like I was reading something for English class. I'm moving on to something entertaining. ...more
Well, I sure like where this is going. But I won't spoil things, so never mind.
Looking back on my three star review of Mr. Mercedes, the first in thisWell, I sure like where this is going. But I won't spoil things, so never mind.
Looking back on my three star review of Mr. Mercedes, the first in this series, there was mild disappointment there. While it is always so good to have this guy back in my head, it seemed that this was King trying on the crime thriller genre for size. I tolerated his indulgence, and enjoyed the ride for what it was. But knowing that there were two more books to come really was a less than optimistic outlook for my reading plans. At least I had Revival on the list ahead of me.
Well, I still haven't read Revival yet, and the strong reviews I had been seeing for Finders Keepers rekindled my interest. And what do you know? Finders Keepers is very much better than Mr. Mercedes. In the vast landscape of crime thrillers, I didn't think Mr. Mercedes stood out from the crowd much. Finders Keepers certainly does. And I'll tell you a couple of reasons for this:
Firstly, the first part of the novel show's King's storytelling ability as good as he can do it. The setup for the rest of the novel is a deep hook. Secondly, and I can't really go into details here, but King throws something in here that is unmistakably King Universe. Hot damn, you just don't get this kind of stuff in crime thrillers.
Now I can't wait for the third in the series. There are those who will tell you that these can be standalones, but I disagree. I highly recommend reading Mr. Mercedes first, and then this one, because King is building something really cool here.
I only have one gripe, and that is Jerome's nauseating slippage into his Tyrone Feelgood persona, the black slave jive talkin'. It was only a few lines this time, but really, Uncle Steve? Even your character himself admits that it has worn way thin. I'm not offended by it, I simply think it's too cutesy and stupid. Hopefully it will have disappeared totally by book 3....more
I don't read much science fiction anymore. When it was great, it was all about man and the Big Idea, or First Contact. It was all about the discoveryI don't read much science fiction anymore. When it was great, it was all about man and the Big Idea, or First Contact. It was all about the discovery of revealing concepts and bizarre things. But after the 80s, Speculative Fiction, as 'they' preferred to call it, brought more of a social consciousness to the stories and explored political structures and how they affected whatever new world we were in. It didn't take long for me to get sick of it and abandon the genre.
What the...? Did Bill get his reviews mixed up?
No, stay with me. I know what I'm doing. The Power of the Dog has nothing to do with science fiction. This is an incredibly well researched story about Mexican drug cartels. It is fictionalized, but several reviews that I've seen from news sources have said that this book was so well researched that it could very well be non-fiction, with key names changed. It is absolutely stunning to get a grasp on what the drug trade in Mexico is all about. Once you realize how the so-called War on Drugs inter-relates the DEA, CIA, police, Governments, Colombia, El Salvatore, Left-Wing Guerrillas, the mafia, the church, it's mind boggling. There are bad guys everywhere, and a LOT of money changing hands, making good guys bad guys. So strangely enough, I was thinking about the speculative fiction I had read in the past, and the clever little political worlds that these authors had thought up. And I was thinking, sci-fi, you ain't got nothing on this. With the clusterfuck that is the War on Drugs, you simply cannot make this shit up.
The Power of the Dog takes this incredible stage and follows an obsessed DEA agent who is trying to clean up the Mexican drug cartels. 'Clean up' is a euphemism here, kids. This is a violent book. Some very nasty things happen to good and bad people. It was an excellent read and expose on what is going on down there. Having said that, I must also say that this is also a very long read and I was tiring of it with 100 pages to go. Shootout after shootout, and I just needed an ending. For this, I dock a full star. It's a solid read nonetheless and recommended as a both as a crime thriller and eye opener. ...more
Blake Crouch followed up the intrigue of Book 1 with more intrigue in Book 2, avoiding the dreaded lull that plagues most Book 2s of trilogies. Now, cBlake Crouch followed up the intrigue of Book 1 with more intrigue in Book 2, avoiding the dreaded lull that plagues most Book 2s of trilogies. Now, closing things off in Book 3, he firmly continues the 5-star level of entertainment.
I'm not going to go into any plot specifics (I rarely do).
As I said in my review for Book 2, Crouch gets what makes an addictive read: short chapters, an efficient writing style, and short books! I think what's most worth mentioning is Crouch's writing style. His dialogue is realistic, and his action sequences? Wow. I must say that for the most part I hate reading action. Action needs to have an immediate presence. If the prose is drawn out and overly descriptive, I'm falling asleep. Blake Crouch's description of action is very terse, and this makes the action visible in your mind immediately as the sentences are processed. There are very few writers who can pull this off without the narrative seeming fragmented or gimmicky. The guy's a master.
For readability alone, I can't recommend this series highly enough. This is a lot of fun, the perfect vacation read, and it's still stuck in my head even though I'm well into another novel right now.
Definitely, definitely, definitely, reading more of this guy. ...more
The one thing I really hate about series is that they are such a time commitment, and almost invariably, there will be slumps from book to book. Not soThe one thing I really hate about series is that they are such a time commitment, and almost invariably, there will be slumps from book to book. Not so here. Wayward avoids the slump pitfall by taking the situation we now know from Book 1 and building on that for a tight continuation of the story as a whole.
Crouch continues to pace the novel expertly with terse sentences and realistic dialogue.
There's not a whole lot I can say without spoiling things, so again, as with Book 1, I am writing this review while already absorbed in Book 3. Again, the highest endorsement anyone can give to a series. These books are at most 300 pages, and the final one is considerably less than that.
This is what series should be: short books!!! Well done Mr. Crouch, you get it.
Now I only have one problem, and that really has nothing to do with the narrative or the novels themselves. I wasn't going to mention it at all, but hell, I have to say it.
(view spoiler)[ I hate guns. So whenever I read about a character arming himself and the author feels the need to tell me it's a Glock or a Desert Eagle or a Mossberg or a .357 Smith & Wesson, or a Bushmaster AR-fucking-15 as if I'm supposed to be a gun aficianado, it really gets my back up. Spare me the gun hard-ons. I hate guns and I hate what's happening in the States every other day because of their precious right to bear arms. It's whacked and I hate it. Screw your guns. (hide spoiler)]
Otherwise, I do like you, Blake :) Holding steady at five stars.... ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's been a few days since finishing this novel and I'm still thinking about it.
By default, any novel that does that scores a five star review from meIt's been a few days since finishing this novel and I'm still thinking about it.
By default, any novel that does that scores a five star review from me.
A Head Full of Ghosts takes the concept of exorcism and examines the after-effects of it on the family and victim. I got this explanation from the author himself being interviewed on the This is Horror Podcast.
The story is relayed via narrative and a few blog posts, amusingly by a character named after Goodread's very own Karen Brissette. This is about the only point (and his naming a character after another well known author) where I was disinclined to give the book five stars. Nothing against Karen, but this playful aspect took me out of the story a bit.
Anyways, the story didn't really suffer from it. The narrative ran along like gangbusters, and I really, really liked how things ended.
An excellent and scary tale, and one that is still niggling away at me days later. Well done. ...more
With over a million ratings there's not much point in putting a whole lot of effort into this review. I'm not going to go into the merits of the book,With over a million ratings there's not much point in putting a whole lot of effort into this review. I'm not going to go into the merits of the book, but I will tell you this: I read the first two Harry Potter books about 13 years ago, just to see for myself if they lived up to the hype. I found them to be entertaining enough, and I was glad I read them. I was about 40, and impressed that something geared for kids had such wide appeal. This was before YA was a catch-phase. Anyways, I enjoyed them somewhat, and told myself that someday I would get back into the series.
Now, I'm 53 years old (it still makes me stop for a minute to realize how old I am). Recently more Potter reviews have crossed my radar, and these are driving home the fact that the series gets darker and more mature as it goes. So I veered off my official to-read list to read book 3.
The Prisoner of Azkaban, for pretty much the first half of the novel, still reads very much like a kid's novel. But, sure enough, the story did take on a rather darker feel towards the second half. I stayed home yesterday to fight a cold, and tore through the second half the book. This is a good story, and definitely better than the previous two books. It was good enough to keep me very interested in where the story goes from here, and how JK Rowling's writing progresses. ...more
Theft of Swords was a lot of fun. It's your typical fantasy fare, with interesting magic and two heroes you can't help but root for. Hadrian and RoyceTheft of Swords was a lot of fun. It's your typical fantasy fare, with interesting magic and two heroes you can't help but root for. Hadrian and Royce are two thieves for hire. Of course, the jobs they are hired into unwittingly throw them into world shattering political upheavals and they have to rely on their cunning and wit to slide out of them unscathed. I very much enjoyed the characters and the scope of the stories. I will say though, that it lacked some of the depth I look for in fiction. I won't hold this against the author, especially after reading the interview with him at the end of the novel. Sullivan fully admits that, even though he is capable, and does this in other works, he deliberately glossed over the prosy descriptions and character complexities. What he did here was create a story that his daughter can read and enjoy. He did this in spades. The story is simply told, easy to follow, and a lot of dialogue to move things along. When I had the opportunity, I was able to burn through it and have a lot of plot go into my head in just a couple of hours.
If you're a story-first kind of reader and love adventure, this is for you. It's for me sometimes as well, and yeah: I enjoyed it a lot. I'm sure I'll come back to the series....more