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The Dinosaur Feather

(Søren Marhauge #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,785 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
How could one man inspire such hatred?

Professor Lars Helland is found at his desk with his tongue lying in his lap. A violent fit has caused him to bite through it in his death throes. A sad but simple end. Until the autopsy results come through.

The true cause of his death - the slow, systematic and terrible destruction of a man - leaves the police at a loss. And when a s
Paperback, 536 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Quercus Books (first published 2008)
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Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Having received much praise when it was released in 2013, I was pleased to explore Sissel-Jo Gazan’s debut novel, balancing that Scandinavian noir mystery with a strong science component to keep the reader guessing throughout. The origins of birds is apparently a hotly-debated topic in that ivory tower known as paleo-ornithology. Could it be possible that birds were once dinosaurs? Even more controversially, could dinosaurs actually have had feathers? A great deal of it comes down to evolution a ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
There are too many things I dislike about this book.

1. Pointless back stories - In the first few pages, we have a fairly interesting murder take place. Then follows 200 pages of back stories. Characters are introduced quickly followed by a tonne of history, all of which have nothing to do with the central mystery. And all this delivered in the rich prose found in a phone directory.

2. Everyone is angry - Yes EVERYONE. Our lead character Anna Bella Nor is an angry young woman who yells at everyone
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gustó mucho, aunque me cuesta explicar por qué. De hecho, se me haría más fácil argumentar los fallos que le encontré y que, lamentablemente, están relacionados con la promoción que se hace de la novela y que genera falsas expectativas: Mejor Novela Negra Danesa de la Década… no es sólo un trepidante thriller científico repleto de intriga psicológica, sino también una apasionante historia de amor.

Pero no, definitivamente eso no es lo que vamos a encontrar. A pesar de que inicia con la intriga
Rick Urban
Sep 21, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"The Dinosaur Feather"'s first chapter is something of a synecdoche. It is a long, rambling account of our main character, Anna Bella Nor, who seems to be an archaeologist in the 1870s who is uncovering the remains of Archaeopteryx, an ancient bird, while on a dig in Southern Germany. The chapter even begins with the heading "Solnhofen, Southern Germany, April 1877". It depicts in fine detail how Anna has been there for months, covered in dust, having philosophical arguments with the head of the ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently being named Danish Crime Novel of the Decade is like being the Checkers Champion of the Oklahoma Panhandle; a distinction of no distinction.

While the book is a terrible disappointment from every angle, the book is readable, and there is a mystery plot (view spoiler), but the selling of this book as a mystery is false. The selling of this book as a science thriller is false. The selling of this book as a crime novel is false. The academic subplot is
Richard Derus
Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: How could one man inspire such hatred?

Professor Lars Helland is found at his desk with his tongue lying in his lap. A violent fit has caused him to bite through it in his death throes. A sad but simple end. Until the autopsy results come through.

The true cause of his death - the slow, systematic and terrible destruction of a man - leaves the police at a loss. And when a second member of Helland's department disappears, their attention turns to a postgrad
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
January is often a very good reading month for some reason. That alone doesn't make a lot of sense - it's normally hot enough to melt the tin on the roof, which isn't conducive to concentration. Making THE DINOSAUR FEATHER look like a rather risky choice. At 535 pages it was way too big for any struggle with concentration, and after starting the book and finding myself deep in discussions on paleo-ornithology and not a lot of "crime action", I was feeling somewhat sceptical to say the least. Add ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Siempre he tenido debilidad por los autores de los países nórdicos; por lo que, mi apreciación lleva sesgo.
Me gusto la historia, me gusta conectar con los personajes y que éstos despierten emociones en mi; la mayor parte del tiempo odie a la protagonista por su egocentrismo. En ocasiones, sentía que se le pasaba la mano con los aportes científicos, pero al final la disfrute enormemente.
I always had a weakness for the authors of the Nordic countries; so, my appreciation is biased.
I like the story
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book clubs - there is a lot to discuss here
This claustrophobic mystery takes place in Copenhagen. The present-day scenes (2007) are confined to the insular world of academe, where researchers can labor in the same building for decades but have acquaintance only with colleagues in the same field. Anna Bella Nor is a post-graduate student under pressure to complete and defend her doctoral dissertation, a proof that birds are descended from dinosaurs and not from an archaic pre-dinosaur ancestor as Canadian bird paleontologist Clive Freeman ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
The Dinosaur Feather is a very different book from the norm. It is compared to the Millennium Trilogy but the similarities are few and far between.

The basic plot is the same as any whodunnit- in this case a scientist is killed horribly. It's seen from the perspective of three characters- Anna Bella, a student studying towards her thesis, Soren, the detective in charge of the case and Adam Freeman, an American scientist who is the murdered scientist's big rival.

The book isn't about the murders,
Mar 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My reading time could have been better spent.

1. I don't like the main character Anna Bella Nor. Her anger issues, sneering, and constant stomping away become old quickly. In other books with an unlikeable main character, the reader is supposed to feel dislike; here I sense a certain expectation to sympathize with - to like - the unlikeable Anna Bella and I just don't.

2. I don't like the secondary characters. The reader spends way too much time reliving everyone's bad childhood and it (mostly) ha
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You ever have that moment where you are really excited to read a book that you put aside all the others (yes, I did say others as I usually have about 3 to 4 books open at the same time) you are currently reading? Well that is what I did when this book arrived. I quickly realized that sometimes a book may sound good and the cover is cool but that does not make the book good.

I got to about chapter three and than realized that this book and I were not going to become good friends. The storyline g
Nick Davies
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
An interesting mixture, plenty that I liked about this, several aspects that weren't to my taste.. overall an enjoyable read despite being slightly inconsistent in places and a slog because of being longer than it maybe should've been.

The story follows an investigation into the suspicious death of a university professor, focussing in particular on the detective investigating the crime and on a young female post-grad student being supervised by the dead professor. I thought the plot was intricate
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virkelig velskrevet og underholdende. Persongalleriet er troværdigt, og plottet flyder godt frem. Dog går det lidt for stærkt til sidst, som om forfatteren ved pludselig indskydelse skulle binde en sløjfe på historien og komme videre.
Sidste kapitel virkede skørt. Havde Anna Bella lært noget om sig selv og forsøgt at ændre sig? Igen var sløjfen vigtigere end personudviklingen, og det var en skam.
Alfonso de Castro
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realmente me ha gustado. Nada que ver con otras de serie negra. Muy especial y su protagonista... me recuerda a ti, Isabel!!! ;))
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kam-Hung Soh
There's three narrative threads, Anna Bors a student preparing to defend her Ph.D thesis, Philip Freeman a Canadian professor of a disputed theory of bird evolution and Soren Marhauge the detective investigating a murder which should link all the threads. Annoyingly, after investing time in reading all three, only one thread really matters and the others fizzle out.
Howard Cincotta
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Danish literary establishment did first-time novelist S. J. Gazan no favors with its high praise for The Dinosaur Feather, and if this is the country’s best crime novel of the last decade – as the blurbs claim – then Danish literature is in serious trouble.

Which is sad because the book is a respectable first-time effort with an intriguing plot premise that Gazan does not yet have the skills to deliver. A Scandinavian mystery featuring a beleaguered single-mother graduate student, strange co
After something of a dry-spell with finding Scandinavian mysteries that live up to their reputation, I nearly passed this one up. Though its premise initially intrigued, my recent strikeouts with the subgenre and with translated fiction in general gave me pause. But after hearing a rather mixed bag of reviews, I decided that I would just have to try it out for myself...

And though the first chapter is far from intriguing (the dream landscape is frankly alienating and sets the stage for an entirel
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Never judge a book by its cover they say. The cover shouted, "If you liked The Killing, you will like this book". How wrong the publishers were. Cheap publicity stunt that. The book is a discourse on biology of birds coupled with detailed personal histories of a smorgasbord of very different characters, in the backdrop of a couple of murders. A thriller, in the strict sense, it is not. I had to skim through the pages having content which would interest only the most hardcore of biologists and pa ...more
I guess technically this is a murder mystery, since two people die mysteriously of unnatural causes. Except that once you have all the information, the who, the why, and the how become quite clear very quickly - which is to say that the mystery is not the most important part of the book. It is a story about parents and children, loss, obsession, fear - and yet manages to be uplifting in the end because it is also a story about redemption and second chances. And there are dinosaurs, woohoo! This ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As much an exploration into the long term effects of childhood events as a murder mystery, The Dinosaur Feather revolves around the horrific murder of a respected Danish scientist and the ripples this causes across the international world of paleo-biology. The novel is not without flaws, and towards the end one might wonder why Soren, the detective, even bothers, but I found the back stories to Anna Bella, Soren and Clive Freeman, the murder victim's arch rival, compelling and the subtle interpl ...more
Bogen ville alt, alt for meget. Det var ALT for mange baggrundsfortællinger, og de fik ikke hver især nok plads. Men alligevel fyldte det meget, og hovedhistorien forsvandt lidt i baggrunden... Syntes hellere ikke *jeg* fik følelsen af at være med til at "løse" mysteriet...
Men jeg er ikke i tvivl om at Sissel-Jo Gazan SKRIVER godt, hun vil, desværre, bare alt for meget med tanke på hvad sidetal hun arbejder med.
Rasmus Paulsen
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kriminal
I was very impressed by this book. In particular, I liked the characters. The setting at the institute for Biology, KU is fun (since I know it). The mix of scientific discussions and murder mysteries worked very well. Even though it is exagerated, I can still recognise the fight for funding and the internal university politics.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Dinosaur Feather sounds like it should be right up my street but I just couldn’t get into it.  There is a slow start, where Anna (the main character) is caught up in a dream before it moves onto pages and pages of explanation of who she is and why she was having the dream – she is due to finish her doctorate on whether birds are descendent from dinosaurs.   The pace never picks up.  I didn’t check the page count but it has to be 100 or so pages before we get to the murder Anna has to solve t ...more
Lew Watts
Jul 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I failed to finish a book...
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dinosaurs are “sexy,” and the question of what became of them is glamorous.

Where do you draw the line between birds and reptiles in the evolutionary timeline? This is a debate that has gone on for decades. In the world of academia, where competition for funding is fierce and disagreements over how to interpret evidence can take the form of decades-long feuds carried out in academic journals and at conferences, media coverage means more publicity, and that means more money. Anna Bella Nor has ess
Rita Berk
Mystery set in Copenhagen with a large amount of information on birds and dinosaurs, there are two murders, one with a bizarre murder weapon. Detective Soren Marhauge tries to unravel the circumstances surrounding the murders. There is lots of personal information about him and another main character, Anna Bella Nor. Complicated plot, lots of dysfunctional people but it all comes together at the end.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, science

I was tempted to give this three stars for what I thought were some of the excesses and inconsistencies of the plot, but in the end, I just couldn't resist four stars on the strength of the real dinosaur science embedded in the book (courtesy of the author's biology background) and the fact she took the trouble to give us full back stories on nearly every major character, including their childhoods, their personal crises and their family dynamics.

I also was intrigued by the fact that both the pr
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Biologist and author. Currently living in Berlin.
In 2008 she published her 4th novel Dinosaurens fjer.

Other books in the series

Søren Marhauge (2 books)
  • Svalens graf
“Then she drank a glass of water, switched on her computer, checked her e-mails, proofread the conclusion of her dissertation for the umpteenth time, chewed a nail, scratched her head, and when she had finally run out of displacement activities, she called Ulla” 0 likes
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