Engrossing mystery/thriller taking place for the most part in Franco's Spain. The plot surrounds the disappearance of a high-ranking member of the govEngrossing mystery/thriller taking place for the most part in Franco's Spain. The plot surrounds the disappearance of a high-ranking member of the government and the (extremely) tangled web involving a multitude of people.
Our hero is Alicia, a sort of less mobile, pre-internet Lisbeth Salander. She works for a shadowy government investigative team and is teamed up with a more by-the-book, veteran cop to get to the bottom of this mystery. (Sounds like a cliché, but it doesn't play out that way.)
I devoured this book. Alicia is a fascinating character and her relationship with Vargas is a good one. The whole plot is like an onion, with layers continually peeled back as it heads to the climax. There's fascinating detail about Barcelona and the machinations of the fascist state.
I wanted to give this book 5 stars, but thought it went on for too long. There was a "natural" ending but a coda ("Julián's Book") continuing the story around the son of one of the main characters was superfluous. I also found one of the characters who functioned (at least after the early parts of the book) as comic relief was a too-broad, corny caricature. I found myself more and more annoyed at his "clever witticisms."
Finally, for context, when I bought this book I had no idea it was the final entry in a series of four novels. (Whoops!) You can read it as a stand-alone. I will admit to sometimes getting confused about how all the characters were connected, and flipping back and forth in the book. (This would be a good one to read on a Kindle where you could search for names, etc.) Though I'm not sure reading the prior books would have made me sharper on the family trees and connections....more
Wow, we have been completely misled by Hollywood and pop culture about Frankenstein. The book, the doctor, and his creation. His monster is no big greWow, we have been completely misled by Hollywood and pop culture about Frankenstein. The book, the doctor, and his creation. His monster is no big green lunk with bolts coming out of his neck. (He may be more sinister looking, actually.) And the good Doctor is no "He's Alive!" exaggeration.
I dare say this book is Romantic, with a capital "R." Much of the book takes place in mountains, lakes, and on the coast. The descriptions of the natural world are quite beautiful. Amidst these scenes of the natural world, we are privy to the turbulent thoughts in Dr. Frankenstein's mind regarding the aftermath of his actions.
And the book deftly asks, what responsibility does Dr. Frankenstein take for his creation? What does he owe the monster? How is he supposed to live in the world? The chapters narrated by the monster are astonishing, as he learns about language, the written word, and human relationships. It's also quite heartbreaking. The reader see-saws back and forth between sympathy for the creature and disdain for his horrific violence.
The scene with both Frankenstein and his monster and very memorable, as are the monster's last words (kind of like a soliloquy) at the end of the book.
To think Shelley was a teenager when she wrote this book makes it even more astonishing. This book is a masterpiece.
I should also mention I bought this book because of the Daniel Clowes cover and seeing the episode of Drunk History about the genesis of the story....more
A hard to put down thriller. The kind of book you miss your subway stop for because you were too deep into it. Great New York City detail, an interestA hard to put down thriller. The kind of book you miss your subway stop for because you were too deep into it. Great New York City detail, an interesting use of social media as a plot device (which could be dumb as hell), and a lead character who is more cunning than you think. Disturbing, sometimes deeply so, and engrossing....more