The reader will get drawn into the story from the first chapter, which is an ideal beginning, but then when the reader is 2/3 into the novel, the readThe reader will get drawn into the story from the first chapter, which is an ideal beginning, but then when the reader is 2/3 into the novel, the reader will realise that the storyline is formulaic. And to think that I am or was a Stephen King fan. I think I prefer the earlier work. I think that his work started slipping after Buick 8. Joyland and Under the Dome were equally disappointing, but Mr Mercedes takes the cake. The story reads like it has been plotted well in advance with its progression and token sidekicks and for that reason alone, it fails. A disappointing novel from King. I didn't even bother reading the epilogue and will think twice before picking up another novel. He is no longer a horror writer. I'm not sure if what he writes now can be considered to be horror and if this novel is anything to go by, it's a pastiche of suspense and detective genres, which fails. The other side of becoming proficient at novel writing is that writers become so great that they they think that they can churn out novels via a formula and end up producing work that is lacklustre, because they're so caught up in their over confidence. This is what Mr Mercedes is and to read hints of it being a trilogy is all the more amusing. I'm not compelled to invest more time. The idea of this being the beginning of a trilogy is laughable. Seriously, what are the publishers thinking? After 'Under the Dome', I was wondering if King should retire. After Mr Mercedes, I'm convinced he should. If Mr Mercedes was written by an unknown and sent to an agent or publisher, it would have been rejected first hand or been dumped on a slush pile, but this novel sells/is published because of the name Stephen King. The thing that annoys me is that King should have known better than to pass this off as a quality novel. Even an antagonist has to have some redeeming qualities, but King was hell bent on annihilating the antagonist and the reader to the point where it became ridiculous to go further. But I'm guessing money speaks louder than quality and King has lost the plot. Why wouldn't a retired police officer go to the police when the police have the resources? Talk about a glaring error and balls up. Mr Mercedes is a disappointing novel and not a 'race against time' thriller novel, more like a novel approaching the snooze at the halfway mark, when the reader has to then force themselves to read it out of some type of reader duty or obligation. Well, Mr King, you've lost me. No more. There are so many writers out there that make an effort and deserve an investment of time. King has become a sell out and is stingy on the quality. Even Carrie is a way better novel and it was published ages ago.
This novel focuses on the day in the life of an alien colony on earth and (without revealing spoilers) that average day in the life is more horrifyingThis novel focuses on the day in the life of an alien colony on earth and (without revealing spoilers) that average day in the life is more horrifying than the X Files. Isserley is a scout of sorts and she is chosen and physically altered to blend in. The writer explores the issues that lurk beneath the scenery. Themes that are woven through the narrative include corporate expansion, demand and consumption, as well as an examination of the female body and bodies in general. There are a couple of unresolved questions left at the end that do raise the possibility of a sequel.
Not sure what all the fuss is about. When I got up to the part that indicated yet another zombie tale, I stopped reading. The writing is mediocre. EveNot sure what all the fuss is about. When I got up to the part that indicated yet another zombie tale, I stopped reading. The writing is mediocre. Everything from the dialogue to the plot to the descriptive elements (where?) was predictable. I'm sure it makes for perfect Hollywood film fodder. ...more
The introduction of this book outlines the limited scope of the title. According to the author the book is based on one personal experience with a psyThe introduction of this book outlines the limited scope of the title. According to the author the book is based on one personal experience with a psychopath and the author’s chief aim is to be a messenger. Already the reader is made aware of the personal mission, perhaps a personal need the author has. But does this singular experience justify their own generalisation of what a psychopath is without references to related scholastic literature? I will review each chapter:
From the outset the author avoids references to the literature that she mentions and this does not enable a reader to delve further to obtain other opinions. For example, any work discussing the profile of a psychopath ought to mention Cleckley’s Mask of Insanity as well as any recent work or research in the area of psychopathy [e.g. the work of Dr Robert Hare]. Instead, the reader is given the type of generalisation one comes across on TV shows such as Criminal Minds. A general definition that does not do any justice to the complexity of psychopaths. In my view, the author’s definition of a psychopath is a poor definition - any one who is ‘afflicted with a defective personality’. This definition needs to be changed or amended to reflect the complexity with a note to the reader to remember that definitions change over time. There are many people with personality disorders, but that does not automatically mean they are psychopaths. This authorial error is a concern and I wondered if the book merited further reading.
The reason I chose to read this book directly related to the biography of the author. I would imagine a RN would have more contact with patients, especially in a psychiatric capacity, than any psychiatrist or psychologist would and, as a result, would have a rounded understanding. The reason for this view relates to the mimicry and performance of the psychopath [mentioned by Cleckley, Hare and many other authors] and such mimicry raises many questions, the prime question being whether a psychopath can ever reveal the depth of their complexity or darkness in an hourly appointment with a psychiatrist. This is where the author comes in with her personal experience. Although personal experience is susceptible to an anecdotal point of view, the description of such personal experiences from one who has experienced psychopaths makes for a robust evaluation. It is quite difficult to read a psychiatrists or psychologists account of a psychopath as they are usually limited to their clinical view, textbooks and are subjected to the performance of the psychopath and it is this performance that is always premised on a lie, which leads to the value of the book.
Everyone will experience a psychopath at some point in their life. Whether nature or nurture or a bit of both, the psychopath is not some type of magical or mythical being or monster like Grendel. We encounter them frequently, in different grades. Not all of them harbour serial killer fantasies. Not all of them are hellbent on ruining the lives of everyone that crosses their path. Some may not be aware of being psychopaths. But the common denominator, as mentioned by Junie Moon, as well as Dr Cleckley, Hare, Jon Ronson [The Psychopath Test] is that they leave a negative residue on one’s life. Perhaps they have a higher survival trait than others? No one will ever know, but over time the research and testimonials [both from personal writers such as Moon as well as clinical researchers such as Hare, Cleckley] indicate that psychopaths have - whether they are aware or not - a destructive effect on individuals they encounter and if one is the target, one will not easily forget the experience, which is the reason Moon’s account is relevant, but the personal perspective limits its accessibility. Not all individuals experience psychopaths the same way and when considering the average reader or ideal reader/market, the personal voice needs to be tempered or diluted a little in order to enable the reader to interact with the text [e.g. have citations to access further information], not be lectured to.
However for her book to be accessible to more readers some changes need to be considered, such as the inclusion of a bibliography, citations whenever the author refers to research as well as a voice that is not that of a lecturer and a slight departure from a personal approach. Rather than pontificate about psychopaths, as to what they are, etc testimonial examples can be used instead to illustrate the traits and tactics utilised by psychopaths. I also think that there ought to be reference to personality research. There are so many personality specialists that wouldn’t mind for their research to be cited with respect to relevant traits. For example, the author mentions that psychopaths are incapable of fostering long term relationships. This is not entirely true for all psychopaths. What would John Wayne Gacy’s wife or Robert Yates’ wife say to Moon’s claims? Linda Yates was married to Robert Yates for 26 years and he was a serial killer with 16 kills to his name. And this is the contraction that is evident within this book, which should have been corrected. One cannot write and insinuate that psychopaths are chief manipulators, with an agenda, and then contradict oneself by stating that they are incapable of forming long term relationship. It logically follows that for any psychopath to continue on their trajectory, that psychopath needs to mimic and manipulate, in other words ensure their ‘cover’ is not exposed. How does one do this? By integrating oneself in a relationship. Hence, Moon’s assertion is incorrect. Off the top of my head, there are at least 13 wives of serial killers who were in long term relationships with these killers, even up to the time of their capture. One mind boggling example is Judith Mawson who was married to Gary Ridgeway [Green River serial killer] for 13 years and happily at that, while he clocked up an eye watering body count.
While a personal testimonial is always valuable, it is only anecdotal and limited in its scope. This book needs to be rethought, restructured in terms of its voice and sources. Premises to be carefully considered before conclusions are made [e.g. psychopaths not being capable of forming long term relationships]. Also, one cannot write a book purportedly about psychopaths and neglect to mention significant past and present researchers.
Conclusion: Don't even bother reading this book. Read books written by professionals in the field like Robert Hare or journalists like Jon Ronson....more
Not sure if my two stars is directly related to the translated version, but even so, this book was not a page turner. Not the type of book that keepsNot sure if my two stars is directly related to the translated version, but even so, this book was not a page turner. Not the type of book that keeps you up late at night. More like the book that has you scratching your head, and not due to the mystery element, but about where the story is really heading. There are good, suspenseful parts, but there are far too many tedious sections as well.
I was expecting something grim, something that was set in Highgate Cemetery, but this was not the case. Most of the action [if you can call it that] unfolds in France, with a stopover in the former Yugoslavia. The narrative jumps erratically, such that one is uncertain about characters and if this is the first title you read, not aware that it is the 8th in the series, then it may not be so straightforward as to who the main protagonist is [Adamsberg or Danguard?].
The last third is really disappointing and I've vowed never to buy any other books that are heavily discounted at my local bookstore. Sometimes books are discounted for a reason and not due to the lack of author PR in a country.
If you've marked this book as 'to read' based on the description summary, then forget it. You'll be disappointed. ...more
This is a book that every adult needs to read. It is not written in that dense and, in my opinion, unreadable, academic style, but I think that this aThis is a book that every adult needs to read. It is not written in that dense and, in my opinion, unreadable, academic style, but I think that this adds to its readability and does not alienate potential readers. In other words it is accessible for most adults and it contains relevant information concerning current [and alarming] trends relating to pornographic depictions. For example, even the average song is no longer safe from overt sexualisation in video format.
Each section within the book contains thought provoking essays from writers from a variety of professions, however the first person accounts [a wife discovering her husband's porn stash, a former stripper and a child abuse survivor] are moving, alarming and evoke discussions that will no doubt raise additional questions and are proof that all is not well in the pornographic realm. A dimension that does not really have the best interests of users [or actors/participants] in mind.
Stephen king is great at maintaining suspense and captures eras, dialogue and character perfectly. What I also liked about this novel is its inclusionStephen king is great at maintaining suspense and captures eras, dialogue and character perfectly. What I also liked about this novel is its inclusion of creepy Derry. The only complaint I do have is the lacklustre ending. This is the second time. Under the Dome also had a less than satisfactory ending. This novel does draw the reader in but drops off at the end. ...more
This novel, like many similar novels, offers insight into the plight of immigration to the USA. The sequel to America,America, the story opens in NewThis novel, like many similar novels, offers insight into the plight of immigration to the USA. The sequel to America,America, the story opens in New York City with Stavros making the final preparations for the arrival of the rest of his family. There is immense detail in this novel and many characters. The dialogue is dense and detailed and the narrative is filled with equally demanding characters. This is not a self indulgent literary fiction novel yet demands the same level of attention....more
I don't know what to make of it. I'm not a big fan of the writing style/perspective that Mantel has chosen. It's just way too much present progressiveI don't know what to make of it. I'm not a big fan of the writing style/perspective that Mantel has chosen. It's just way too much present progressive tense for me to absorb for far too long in any one sitting. The descriptive and characteristic portrayals are apt for the historical period, sufficiently vivid to animate the scene and events, but the perspective and style of writing tend to get in the way of the momentum of the novel at times. Frankly, I don't know what the rest of the world is gushing about when they wax lyrical about this book. I purchased both books (this and Bring Up the Bodies) and now feel obligated to read rather than looking forward to reading them. The rhythm of the prose is far from smooth and if you put down this book for longer than two days and return to it, it's not so smooth to pick up where you left off. I can understand why people are frustrated by the Man Booker prize quality. There appears to be an inherent bias to select novels that focus on British history, in this case the era of Henry VIII. Not sure if I'll finish this book anytime soon....more
**spoiler alert** Slightly unresolved toward the end. Not sure what to make of the fate of the protagonist. Wasn't enamoured with the other characters**spoiler alert** Slightly unresolved toward the end. Not sure what to make of the fate of the protagonist. Wasn't enamoured with the other characters and felt that the character of the tattoist, Rhys, could have been explored a little more....more