Efter "avslöjandet" av Palmes mördare (vilket ju som vi alla vet vid det här laget blev något av ett antiklimax), så hoppade jag, i min nyfikenhet attEfter "avslöjandet" av Palmes mördare (vilket ju som vi alla vet vid det här laget blev något av ett antiklimax), så hoppade jag, i min nyfikenhet att få veta mera, på den här boken. Det är inget jag ångrar, för den förser läsaren med ett fylligare material än vad presskonferensen gjorde, och get också en inblick i den förmodade mördaren Stig Engströms liv. För oss som läst våra true crime-böcker och sett våra dokumentärer på Investigation Discovery så, jäpp - man ser liksom mönstret som så många mördare uppvisat före honom - fascinationen för brottet, hans sätt att håna polisen för deras inkompetens... Hans beteende efter mordet känns också suspekt, med alla dessa otroligt underliga lögner, som knappt ens hänger ihop. Men att han är självklar som mördare? Nja. Tvivlet ligger där. Det finns inga bevis, förutom vittnesmål från brottsplatsen som egentligen är ganska svaga. Det finns inget motiv. Det finns inget vapen. Kanske var Stig E bara en patetisk lögnare, som hade lite för höga tankar om sig själv?
Precis som presskonferensen, ger boken egentligen inget ordentligt svar, vilket, när boken är utläst, efterlämnar en känsla av tomhet, ett slags "jaha". Då är det mer spännande att läsa om Palmes förehavanden i politiken, och politiken i Sverige överhuvudtaget under den här tiden. Ett så litet land, insyltat i så många märkliga politiska affärer... Fascinerande! Och så får man ju förfäras över hur eländigt Palme-utredningen sköttes, också. Man kan nog lugnt säga att lösningen sjabblades bort genom inkompetens, och där hade ju faktiskt Stig E rätt.
Det är på det hela taget en kompetent skriven dokumentär bok som jag rekommenderar. ...more
So this summer, I'm all into Gothic horror novels, apparently (or at least, I've read two, which for me is a lot), and this little book happened to drSo this summer, I'm all into Gothic horror novels, apparently (or at least, I've read two, which for me is a lot), and this little book happened to drop on my lap (actually, it was sold out everywhere in Sweden, so I had to order it from Germany, so... I guess one can say I hunted it down).
I've read my share of horror novels in my days. Gory ones. Creepy ones. Ghost stories. From Stephen King to Scooby Doo. So, I have SOME experience in reading horror, even if not a lot of what I've read has the label Gothic. Mexican Gothic has a LOT of atmosphere. You have this old mansion with the flickering candelabra and crumbling wallpaper, fog-swept cemeteries and a creepy family to boot: all those things you'd expect from your typical, western horror story. And that's a bit my problem with this book. We're in Mexico, right? And Mexico should be different from the dense forests of Transylvania or the foggy moors of England, right? But quite frankly, there is little, if anything, that sets this story to where it's intended to be: there are no markers to define the location. It took me a while to understand that the characters actually speak ENGLISH to each other, as opposed to Spanish, but... they do, and that's a bummer. Why not Spanish? Why not go all in? It would have been so much (more) fun to read a horror novel in an unexpected and unconventional setting - think about the contrast you'd have to work with! Fun, fun!
In any case, over to the characters. Noemi is a spunky, attractive gal with a head on her shoulders and a sports a refreshingly confident attitude that sometimes veers to arrogance: that she's spoiled and independent is clear. To me, would have fitted better in the era of around 1920's, but there we go: it's the year 1950. Never mind. I found her interesting and fun. The rest of the cast leaves a bit left to ask for, as they are all quite one-sided. Virgil, who is the one character who stands out for a bit, is married to her cousin, and a handsome devil, with the emphasis on devil. You see, yet again (this year, I've stumbled across at least three books with this theme) it's pretty clear that THIS is our menacing villain, but OH EHM GEE, isn't he just a sexy beast at the same time? Aren't those rape threats just a little bit tickling? Because he's soooo sexy, but also dangerous. And strong. But our heroine doesn't allow him to get into her panties, no siree bob: she fights back, and that's also a bit sexy.
::insert eye roll::
I'm sorry, but this kind of narrative irks me to tears. Even more disgusting is that there is a bit of victim-blaming hidden in there. I know it's part of the mind-controlling sh*t Virgil puts on, but still, this "wasn't this what Noemi really wanted?" garbage is just so tiring and dated. About as tiring as the whole rape trope, come to think of it. Sadly, the novel as a whole gets a bit cliche at times. It might be a flirt with old horror stories, but with its lack of tongue-in-cheek, it doesn't really hit off well. We have the vulnerable, sick woman who babbles about voices in the walls. We have a lot of walking in cemeteries (why do you even do that? Aren't there hiking trails elsewhere?). We have fog, lots of fog. Always.
The plot is interesting, the logic streeeeeeeetched. The resolution is climactic and silly at the same time - and satisfactory, even if it's not entirely traditional according to horror novel standards.
So... It's all neatly done, but nothing new. Just like the whole plot, to be honest. We've seen it before - but it's entertaining, so it doesn't really matter. If you're a hardcore, die hard horror fan, don't bother with this book. If you like a bit of a chilling read that's a bit gory but not too much, and that has a bit of love in it, and a fun heroine, then go for it!
PS: Writing this review, I suddenly remembered what this book reminded me of: in the late 70's and early 80's, we had this book series in Sweden. It was called "Mysrysare", which roughly translates to "Cozy Chills". They had names like "Flowers of Evil", "The Spanish House", "Memory of Evil" and such, and the premise was almost always that of a young, beautiful woman who experiences a series of mysterious and supernatural events. There is often a handsome villain, a love interest, and... fog. And the endings follow the same recipe as this book. I shall say no more....more
Two stars, meaning exactly what Goodreads says as you hover over the row of stars: "It was ok". Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, this is yeTwo stars, meaning exactly what Goodreads says as you hover over the row of stars: "It was ok". Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, this is yet another hideously popular book that I just couldn't get into. I'll try to tell you why.
You see, some books are flat to me. I have no idea why, but it's all one dimensional. Flat. The music is kind of lacking, and I don't... hear it. This might simply have to do with a writer voice that doesn't resonate with mine. It could be dialogue that is too wooden. It could be characters that don't feel real. I think in this book, it's all of that.
The main problem with this book is that the writer voice is too present. It butts in where it shouldn't, adding details that throws me out of the story - and when that happens, it's extremely difficult to get back into it, no matter how vivid the details of the nature is. Let me give you an example:
Kya was dressed in white cutoff denims, setting off her long legs. A black braid fell over each breast. The group stopped talking and stared. Knowing she couldn't run up to him burned her heart with the wrongness of things. (chapter 29. Seaweed)
See what happens there? I mean... who is describing her? The boy she's watching? No, because in the next sentence, we're in her head, hearing her thoughts - so it HAS to be her. But would anyone randomly describe themselves like this? Would you? Does this feel natural to anyone? No! Just no.
The next glaring example shows up on the next page, where the main character Kya buys a newspaper, for the first time ever in her whole entire life "because the headlines mentioned a marine laboratory that was to open up the coast nearby", and oops... IN THAT NEWSPAPER SHE STUMBLES UPON SOME REALLY DEVASTATING NEWS THAT CONCERNS HER PRIVATE LIFE! OH EM GEE!! That's some co-inky-dink! Oooooor... an example of how something has been shoehorned in to fit the story line. And this isn't the first or last time this happens - you can find different versions of these examples over and over again, which is, quite frankly, off-putting.
Along with this, you have the remarkable notion that this story could have taken place any year, in any era. If there wasn't a year at the beginning of each chapter, I would have had absolutely no idea when this story was set. There are, you see, no markers to pinpoint the era, apart from the occasional and flippant mentioning of the Vietnam war. In a book taking place from the 50's up to the 70's, you think this would have been an easy thing, and even fun for the writer to do, but it just doesn't happen. Compare this novel with Norris Church Mailer's "Windchill summer", which is a coming-of-age novel set in the same era, also involving a murder (read that instead?). It's positively dripping with time markers. Okay, so maybe this isn't needed to propel a story forward, but it's a damn nice element.
The main character comes off as meek and a bit boring. By the end of the book, when there is a secret to be unraveled, you don't get anything from her, even as you move inside her head, and basically should get SOMETHING from her thoughts. This is a common pet strategy for writers when they want to keep the readers guessing, but to me it's oh-so-annoying, because it's simply not natural. If something has happened that you're involved with, you will never NOT think about it at one point or another (especially not during a murder trial). Also, she starts out with a thick accent (another thing that didn't sit well with me), but by the end of the book, she suddenly doesn't have one. Is this because she went on that one trip to the big city once? Or did she just lose it one day? Like, oh, dang it, where's my accent? Gone! It felt strange, and a bit... disloyal to the rest of the characters, who were stuck with their accents. I wish they could all have dropped them, by the way. A Scottish accent is fine. A French one as well. But when the characters all sound like they come straight from an episode of Swamp People... Nope, sorry, it just isn't very charming.
Alright, so I promised myself not to write a bad review, because it seems that is all I do these days... but... just couldn't help myself, it seems. But hey, it's not THAT bad. There IS a story there, and it's okay. I even realized that the story and the whole setup of the book is kind of retro, like a memory trip down Sidney Sheldon lane or a nostalgic walk in Danielle Steele land. I swear, I can see this story as a mini series, with Mia Sara as Kya and a theme song by Richard Marx. Which is cool. But not really my thing. Let's leave it at that....more
This is me, the author, rating my own book because I clicked the bloody stars and now I don't know how to undo it!! Do I like my own book? Oh, I think This is me, the author, rating my own book because I clicked the bloody stars and now I don't know how to undo it!! Do I like my own book? Oh, I think it's fabulous, but don't take my word for it, because I'm kinda biased. However, I also, truly, honestly, want you to find out for yourself, so I'd be completely over the moon if you gave it a try. Maybe you like the story, maybe you hate it - either way, let me know! Also, alternatively, you can let me know how to undo a review when the book is your own.
Anyhow, IF you're going to read this book (if you do, I'll love you forever), be sure to grab Book 1 in the series before you do. It'll make the story easier to understand, trust me. Book 1 is currently free on Smashwords, B&N, Apple books (well, everywhere except on Amazon, due to Amazon rules). Happy reading!...more
**spoiler alert** This is the fourth book in the series, and I've read all the previous ones, which is about a cult or sect, run by the charismatic ps**spoiler alert** This is the fourth book in the series, and I've read all the previous ones, which is about a cult or sect, run by the charismatic psychopath Franz Oswald. We follow the protagonist, Sofia Bauman, in her struggle to break free from both the cult and Franz. We are there when he harasses her, abuses her both mentally and physically, rapes her (yes, RAPES) and later stalks her. In a kind of redeeming act in Book 3, he saves Sofia's daughter Julia's life (because he has a crush on the 16 year old (which is a bit yucky seeing he's 43 himself, but hey - he's a complete loon, and in those days, this was categorized as a thriller series and he was the antagonist)), before he has a stroke that nearly kills him.
Now, I liked the first three books. They were fast-paced and entertaining, and Franz Oswald is a pretty nasty antagonist that we love to hate and Sofia Bauman is a likable protagonist that we root for. Lindstein did a good job of telling the story, plain and simple.
Book 4 isn't much different: Lindstein is a strong writer, and she KNOWS how to keep the reader reading. BUT... I feel that she missed the mark on this one. Totally. In truth, it feels like this is pure fan-fic, written by a very talented fan.
In Book 4, Sofia Bauman is no longer the main character, but it's instead her 20 year old daughter Mary Sue Julia who takes center stage. Julia is naturally beautiful, but also totally smart. She wants to be a journalist when she grows up, and apparently, without any education and despite her lack of experience, she just oozes talent, because after a short while of working as an assistant to the editor-in-chief at a large glossy magazine, she gets a shot at her first scoop, which involves interviewing the enigmatic Franz Oswald. The downside? She has to spend time with him on Fog Island, while he performs a social experiment with some losers, in the quest of reforming them to decent human beings. She asks her mother, and Sofia is like, no way, but Julia is like, but Moooom, this is my DREAM, so Sofia's like, oh, okay, but only if you tell the bad man to keep his paws off. So, without knowing that Sofia was once brutally raped by this man, off to the island Julia goes, because plot.
Our dear Franz is like the secret love child of Christian Grey and Charles Manson, with Patrick Bateman as his dear cousin. He is a psychopath, which is kind of shoved down our throat throughout the whole book. He is also hot. There is basically no end to the descriptions of his animal magnetism, his otherworldly good looks, his supernatural willpower and his macho manly masculinity. In addition to this, he's super smart and rich and so mysterious that Gandalf Grey is like an open book in comparison. This description hasn't changed a lot from the other books in the series, but an addition in this book compared to the others is that some chapters are written from his POV. The reader is now served a tender glimpse into a torn and broken soul of a man who just wants to be Loved, which is totally weird. It can be argued that the writer wants us to have this glimpse to show us just how manipulative he is, and I would quite frankly be okay with that, but like I said, the story reads like fan-fic, and Franz Oswald is painted out as a dark and troubled hero, and there is just no balance to show us that he isn't. Creepy.
Anyways, what follows is an extremely weird Fifty Shades of Grey love story without any of the kink. Christian Franz Oswald pursues AnaMary Sue Julia, who bravely but sulkily resists his advances while thinking he's hot. Julia makes several completely stupid decisions throughout the book (if you've watched Investigation Discovery enough times, you know they will end in rape and brutal death), but do not fear: former rapist/murderer Franz has a soft and fluffy side, so she's never in any danger. Take my advice here, though, girls: if you have ANY doubts about the man you're with - that he might be a psychopath, or just that you know he's dying to sleep with you while you don't share his affections - then DON'T go with him on romantic walks or agree to star-gazing lying on a blanket next to him. Just don't. Please?? I feel that Julia only survived this book unscathed because the writer wanted her to. Because of this, I just couldn't root for her. In fact, I wouldn't have been very sad if Oswald whacked her - now THAT would have been a plot twist.
Did anyone say plot twist? Ah yes. What irks me the most about this book is actually the fact that there is virtually no character development. The main characters start out on Step #0 and when they book ends, they are still there. No progress, no development, no inner changes: just a whole lotta plot and sexual tension leading to... well, nothing. So, what was the point of the book? Don't ask me. I guess the secondary characters had some life changing experiences (mental and physical torture usually does that to you) but, I mean... they are secondary, sooooo....
All this together ends with a 1,5 star review, rounded up to 2 stars, because however you turn it, Mariette Lindstein IS a good writer and she DOES know her craft, and I did finish the book to see how it ended, which can't be said of all books I've read lately. ...more
I'm not sure what to think about this book... My rating is three stars, verging on four. Three and a half? Yeah, something like that.
See, I loved theI'm not sure what to think about this book... My rating is three stars, verging on four. Three and a half? Yeah, something like that.
See, I loved the heroine, Miranda Crabtree. In general, and now I'm rrrrrrrrrrreaaaaally generalizing, but never mind (it's my review and I doubt anyone'll read it anyway) I find that men often knows how to write bad-ass heroines without veering to Mary Sues or smothering them with schmaltz. Male author's female characters are mostly just human, while knowing how to kick butt. Maybe that's just me, being lucky with the kind of make writers I've picked for my novels, but... Anyways: Miranda feels genuine. To compare with a hugely popular book that everyone gushes over right now (which is also set in the American south and where a young girl has had to fend for herself and make the best of it while hearing shellfish larger than shrimps sing) Miranda really IS a loner and a self-made woman, and she does what she has to in order to survive without getting sentimental or pity herself. The descriptions of her appearance are scarce, settling for giving us a rough clue of how she looks. No black braids bouncing on her breasts while she walks, and no showing off her long legs in a pair of cut-off jeans. Very refreshing. Way to go, Andy Davidson!
It's the same thing with the villains. Male writers know how to make male villains disgusting. I find that all too often, female writers (myself included, so I'm not judging anyone here: only drawing an interesting and judgmental conclusion) are tempted to make their villains a bit sexy and yummy, because... Well, heck knows, actually. We just do. Male writers? Nu-uh. Their male villains are often dirty, disgusting SOB's. The kind you really loathe. This also goes for this novel. There are no handsome bad guys here. On the other hand, they are also bbbbad, without a whole lot of redeeming qualities, and, well... that's generally a weakness. Doesn't have to be, but it CAN be.
I love the settings in this novel. You feel the humid heat. You feel the mud seeping in between your toes. The mosquitoes swarming around your head. It's very well done, and seems so effortless. I wish I could write like that.
The plot is well thought through, but perhaps a little confusing at times. Too much crammed into one story, I assume: it's difficult to keep track of why and what and how, but the main theme is always there: the heroine has a quest, and she follows that to the very last page.
In short, Andy Davidson KNOWS how to write, and he does it so very well. Sometimes, his style goes a bit overboard with the hard-boiled lingo, but overall, his writing is taut where it needs to be, and the action is fast-paced both in style and content. BUT - and here comes my reservation - the problem, that I've also often found with male writers (to continue my horrible generalization), is that it does get a bit too action-packed at times, almost to the point of getting ridiculous. You know the *KAPOW* *BAM* *WHAM* signs showing up in that cheesy Batman TV show from the 60's? It's like that. Lots of fighting and extraordinary dives into gore and violence... and the story kind of gets lost in all the blood and broken bones and body parts and death. I love the goth feel to the novel, and would have wanted the author to stay a bit more around this (he's apparently into Russian folklore) but instead... action scenes. *BAM* *KAPOW* *WHACK* It got a bit tiring. A bit silly. May I generalize here as well? I will, anyway: a bit typically... male writing...
All this puts my grade to a three and a half star. It's a good, solid read, fun and unusual. Something for fans of Justin Cronin, perhaps, or for someone who's looking for a Stephen King novel on steroids (for good and for bad).
(and before you flay me for being too generalizing in this review, yes, I DO know that there are male writers that does not fit in my crude mold, and female writers who doesn't either. Which is all good and how it should be)