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Monthly Buddy Read Match-Up > April Group #1

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message 1: by Lisa P, My weekend is all booked up! (last edited Mar 29, 2018 07:17AM) (new)

Lisa P | 1984 comments Mod
April Buddy Read Match-Up Group #1 Agnieszka and John

(This is your thread to discuss the book of your choosing)
Have fun!

message 2: by John (new)

John Day Hello Agnieszka, Without a link to you, I have no idea what books you have read or your preferences.
On a matter of principle, I no longer read the top names. However, I will abide by your choice.
I look forward to hearing from you and discussing your choice.

message 3: by Lisa P, My weekend is all booked up! (new)

Lisa P | 1984 comments Mod
John...just wanted to let you know that Agnieszka said she is out of town and won't be back online until April 3. I'm sure she will check in with you then.

message 4: by John (new)

John Day Lisa P wrote: "John...just wanted to let you know that Agnieszka said she is out of town and won't be back online until April 3. I'm sure she will check in with you then."

No problemo! I look forward to her reply, when she is able.
Thank you for letting me know.

message 5: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments Hi John, I'm looking forward to our buddy read and hope we can find a book we both like. Unfortunatelly you have no TBR (now WTR - want to read) so I was not able to see you preferences and the ratings for books we both read were in most cases quite opposite. Now I'm really curious about our choice :-)

When Lisa announced the buddy reads I created the shelf available-for-buddy-reads which includes most of my suspense book I own or can get (usually the German edition) form my libraries - either stand alone or next in series

As long as I can get them from any of my two libraries or they are not too expensive I'm open to other books as well. My restrictions are I'm not reading horror, paranormal and hard-core SF.

message 6: by John (new)

John Day Lisa P wrote: "John...just wanted to let you know that Agnieszka said she is out of town and won't be back online until April 3. I'm sure she will check in with you then."

I have now sent a friend request and mentioned that I was waiting for her suggestion for a book.

message 7: by John (new)

John Day Agnieszka wrote: "Hi John, I'm looking forward to our buddy read and hope we can find a book we both like. Unfortunatelly you have no TBR (now WTR - want to read) so I was not able to see you preferences and the rat..."
OK, may I suggest Too close for comfort.
It is well rated and FREE

message 8: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments John wrote: "OK, may I suggest Too close for comfort.
It is well rated and FREE"

I'm willing to give it a try and hope it's not too gory - we'll see.
When do you want to start? How fast a reader are you? Do you prefer we try to read the same content at roughly the same time and discuss, we read at our pace and hide the comments behind spoilers, or even a different option I've not thought of yet?

The book is 183 pages long, 26 chapters.
If it's not too gory I could finish it in one day or if I don't like it very much it could take much longer. Since I'm mostly home (due to health issues) I'm pretty flexible and willing/abble to fit you pace so please feel free let me know what you prefer.

message 9: by John (new)

John Day Hi, This is my first buddy read and I assumed we just got on and read it. After, we could compare notes and then produce a final review/report. Probably late tomorrow for the comparison of notes.
The story and author are new to me. My only yardstick in selecting was, that it seemed a simple crime story, well ranked and free. I would have tried it anyway, if I needed a book to read.
Whilst I don't follow the popular fad, I still like to research what works and what doesn't. It might help with my own books.

message 10: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments I'll start the book within an hour and will let you know later in the evening if it's realistic for me to finish it by tomorrow.

I love buddy reads/group read and joined or initiated several. If I'm correct there were not two that worked the same but I experienced it's good to speak about some basic expectations/preferences/options to enjoy the discussion more if possible :-)

message 11: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments It looks like I'll be able to finish the book tomorrow during the day. Right now I'm too tired to express my thoughts.

message 12: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments It's going much slower than I expected, sorry.

I like the style very much and when I manage to start it's going right nice until a passage with much slang/colloquial language/mistakes I'm never really sure which one's the case.
Once again I notice I'm much more used to American English than British English and have to look up much more than I got used to in the mean-time.

I like Wendy enough to be curious about the end of the book, I'm not very sure about Culverhouse yet - especially after reading chapter 9 where he so much fixated on Tom beeing the supsect I thought that's not a bit professional but unfortunatelly happening way too often in real life to become realistic again.

After reading chapter 10 I'm pretty sure Richard is the perp and my first incling the 'accident' was staged so he can ingain himhelf into Wendy's life appears more and more propable to me. If Richard would claim to be a journalist I would understand why it appears to be important to learn as much as possible while it's happening - that way I'm not buying it he's an author, but think he wants/needs to find out more about the inverstigation to act accordingly.
I really don't like obvious perps and got so angry I couldn't continue the book yesterday but hope today will be a better day. I'm still hoping I'm wrong and he's not the perp - we'll see about it.

BTW I'm not strong on sarcasm and I'm somehow glad the author doesn't use it, though I understand your POV - especially since my sister's living and breathing irony and sarcasm.
DS Wendy Knight is initially portrayed as a wimp and DI Culverhouse is belittling her, whilst supporting a less experienced male called Baxter. - I don't agree with you on Wendy Knight, in my oppinon she's a typical rookie and needs to gather more experience and confidence in her abilities to 'grow up' or mature. On the other hand I agree with you about the entire issue with Baxter and was glad her first comment about the perp beiing right handed was correct and the way Baxter embarrased himself on the crime scene and than topped it by trying to hide it.

On Michael I hope he's having some real merrit to be in the story beside blowing up the page number of the story. OK I understand it was more about Wendy's personal background but I'm not sure yet it was necessary those scenes needed to take that much space.

10% in and nothing much has happened. I agree with you the book starts pretty slowly though I'm not sure if it's not rather common for police procedural stories. Usually I love good action but I'm not missing it in this book yet - perhaps because of the flowing and interesting writting style.

message 13: by John (new)

John Day I think you mean Robert, Agnieszka, not Richard. Perhaps you nodded off while reading it, like I did.
Here are my observations about the book.
10% in and nothing much has happened. DS Wendy Knight is initially portrayed as a wimp and DI Culverhouse is belittling her, whilst supporting a less experienced male called Baxter. Not a particularly subtle priming of the readers feelings towards the cast, so far. I have seen this ploy used too many times to be acceptable. For goodness sake, lets have characters with depth, not worn out stereotypes.
The 2 murdered females are par for the course as well, at least we can feel something for them.
The Bowline knot seems to have more significance than it should. It isn’t a knot a strangler would use, there is no slip in it and you can't tighten it under load. Seems odd to tie it around a neck if you can't strangle.
The cutting of throat seems iffy. The murderer would be blood soaked and so would the ground and surroundings if it was the cause of death. Not so much blood loss post mortem. So, No strangled and no exsanguination? Bored to death perhaps?
13% Michael, Wendy's brother's flat. A grot hole, but nothing wrong in that. Just that there was a missed opportunity to introduce a bit of humorous sarcasm. "I like what you have done with the place." Springs to mind.
15% I feel the story is moving now. Got a better feel for Wendy as a person and regardless of the poor portrayal, I thought she should be liked. I thought, how uncharacteristic though for her to go to a pub and drink whisky (a drink she didn't like) as a result of a tiff with her junkie brother.
Story telling greatly improved and story is pointing somewhere.
The brother has popped up again. Wendy is going to look after him. Strikes me he has a bigger part to play. No indication he is intelligent or mucked up enough to be the killer.
76-87% the pointless argument and misdirection using cherry picked facts and not the logical approach a professional detective would use resulted in me dropping off to sleep with the kindle still in position. I ran through my mind the possibilities of who dunit. Robert was the prime suspect because all the inferences and plantable evidence was pointing to him. I was less inclined to believe it was him because it was so contrived. Culverhouse had a beef about women, but that didn't hold water, just misdirection. What was the point of Michael still being in the story? I expected him to have been phased out once the tender and caring side of Wendy was revealed. There is no point in him being so prominent now, unless he is the killer or saves his sister in the nick of time. I feel he is the killer because it seems so unlikely and, lets face it, the story needs a surprise.
88% looks like the story is off again. Suggesting Wendy is walking into a thinly veiled trap laid by Robert.
89% perhaps Culverhouse is following Wendy, but why would he, even if he was the killer. I think this is a blind. He wouldn't know she was going out and Michael would be at her home. No, this is not the trap it seems.
90% OK Michael is the killer and has decided to bump Wendy off. Either she has fighting skills we didn't know about or Culverhouse is following her to Roberts and saves her hide. Can't say I actually care. No sane detective would put herself in harms way.
92% Seems like Michael has issues. The character is too thick to be a psychopath. If he had been, these issues might have been an underlying driver to murder, but he would not voice them. The face the man took to drugs because of the issues, rules him out, profile wise, as a serial killer. It is just easier to take drugs and to hell with settling scores with his sister and prostitutes. I would have been more convinced if it had been Culverhouse. An intelligent man, forensic aware and has certain personality traits of a psychopath. His issue with women could well have been his driver. I would have expected him to murder Wendy and fabricate evidence to place Robert in the frame. Like Wendy fatally stabbing Robert as he killed her. Culverhouse could have closed the case and behaved himself for a while and remain free to kill in the future.
Conclusion: A thin story at best. A single dimension plot that a regular reader of this police procedural crime would feel cheated over. The biggest surprise was there was no surprise.
Characters were lacking in depth. I warmed to Wendy and then she tanked. I disliked Culverhouse. That sort of person riles me and his attitude is despicable for a man in his position. I felt he was the strongest of all of them. Michael was a side line junkie and of no consequence as a character. Deserving no pity or emotion from me. He could have been a bright, witty extrovert and quite likeable character after moving in with Wendy. I would have felt more 'let down' after liking him and then he turns out bad. That would have been a good thing.
Robbert… Who? Starts off as a charmer and had he had a few sinister episodes of misdirection or circumstantial evidence against him than knots and knife, I could have been convinced he was the bad guy. Add to it some intelligence and humour, he would have been a more substantial figure in the tale.
For me, the book was a total waste of time. Therefore, I can only award it the full 5 stars as it meets all the requirements of a best seller.

The opening of the story would have been improved immensely with one or both murders taking place. No clues to the perp, just the drama.

message 14: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments John wrote: "I think you mean Robert, Agnieszka, not Richard. Perhaps you nodded off while reading it, like I did...
The brother has popped up again. Wendy is going to look after him. Strikes me he has a bigger part to play. No indication he is intelligent or mucked up enough to be the killer...."

Yes you're right I meant Robert - that's what comes of posting middle in the night - never a really good idea with me - especially in times when I'm struggling with concentration anyway.

I'm glad I'm no more sure now Robert is the perp - there are way too many really obvious hints at his possible involvment so it could be as well a red herring. His reaction when hearing the third victim wasn't a prostitue and switching off the news in the following chapter are pretty strange so now I think he's either really the perp or a journalist pumping Wendy for information - we'll see.

I can't imagine Michael's the perp, but am still wondering what it was he wanted to talk so urgently about before his suicide attempt. I hope it will be answered and is not just one of those plot errors (or how ever you call it in English) where the author changed his mind about the direction and forgot to change this passage or forgot to answer the question at a later point in the story. Unfortunatelly it's happening more often than I would like it.

I'm only 66% into the story so I read your comments up to 15% point but wanted to post my comments since the weather this week is really killing me and I'm sturggling for a change agains migraine and I'm not sure if I can fend it off and finish the book today or if it will get that bad I have to go to bed. So let's hope I can post my final thoughts on the book in the evening!

I'm going offline again to (hopefully) finish the book :-)

message 15: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments What was that? I have I was pretty dissapointed with this book. There were no hints at all Michael is the perp or at least none visible to me - and that's somthing I really hate. In the next chapter after I posted my message yesterday I was sure Robert is not the perp - it was all too convinient, too obviously forced to suspect him, it wasn't believable anymore and as soon as Wendy found the knife I was more than sure he was set up.

After Wendy started to tell Michael more and more about the investigations I got really angry with her. It was not the least professional and realistic - not even a rookie cop acts this way and the way 'evidence' of his involvement/guilt started to float around after that should've make me aware there're only one conclusion left who's the perp - still I was blinded by the fact I couldn't imagine Michael to be the perp. In the last third of the book she started acting like the whimp you called her in the beginning and I stopped to care for her.

I forgot to post yesteday how much I dislike Culverhouse and the secne at the parent's house of the 17 year old victim was the turning point for me. He acted rude, unrealistic, once again set in his bias - just plain unlikeable to me. My other issue was his language - there were only few of his sentences without cuss words in it and if I'm interested in this kind of crap I just open my window and listen to all the drunks outside the kiosk (below my window) though I'm aware it's mostly my very personal issue. Don't understand me wrong I don't mind occasional swearing in books or movies - only when it crosses a point I get rilled up by it.

So all in all - apart from the nice flowing writting style - I didn't like the book very much. There were a few interesting ideas but that was it. I'm still not sure the 2* I rated the book is not too high but I didn't really hate the book so I didn't see it a 1* rating as well.

I would have been more convinced if it had been Culverhouse. He was way too unlikeable to me to even think of his as the killer but agree with you it was a real possibility. One that could be most plausible if the author've it right.
I think if I didn't rush so much to finish the book I would see as well Michael was the only one left and I agree with you in almost everything else you noted about the last third of the book. And now I know why I didn't read this book earlier - I had it on my Kindle for more than one year *grins* - so one more down from my overlowing TBR :-)

What does: I think this is a blind. mean? I never seen this expression before.

message 16: by John (new)

John Day Thank you for a well explained review of the book.
Again, I apologise for choosing it. Please don't hate me...
Your turn next, I hope you will want to buddy with me again.
I trust the migraine has gone now, along with the book of your TBR heap.
From what you said in the review, Secret Cargo might be a good one to read. I would love to hear your opinion about it.

The expression 'a blind' is where the reader/victim is lead to believe something that is incorrect or untrue. Not quite the same as a lie, because you choose to reach that conclusion, by direction. The truth is masked from you by a screen of misdirection.

message 17: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments No need to apologise - I had this book anyway and would've read it sometime (most likely) now I only read it earlier, than planned and so one more down. I have no issue with it if I didn't want to read the book I would say so from beginning. As of next time - except we would be the only two to sign up for the buddy read next month it's rather unlikely we'll be paired up again in next future.
I checked books I want read very soon that include and kind of suspense. After excluding Christian fiction and established authors I have left: The Nearest Exit (The Tourist Series, Book 2) by Olen Steinhauer (2nd in series) Keep the Ghost by Scott Kelly Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel Open Primary (Ameritocracy Book 1) by A.C. Fuller Deceptive Cadence (The Virtuosic Spy, #1) by Kathryn Guare The Recruiter (Chuck Brandt, #1) by Roger Weston . The first three I'll read for sure this month (need them for challenges or committed to), the last three would be great but I'm not sure I'll manage them this month. If you want read them too, I'm open to discus them with you.

So if I got it correctly 'a blind' is similar to 'red herring' only here you are directed to believe something incorrect/untrue and with 'red herring' the author/perp tries to hide/obscure something but in the end it both lead (at least temporarily) to the same result.

The first time reading the blurb of Secret Cargo I got the impression it's historical fiction (and I'm no more fond of these anymore) but reading it again now I realised I got it wrong. Still I'm not fond of treasure hunt plots (unfortunatelly they pop up on a regular basis in my challenges - so I could read it the next time I need one of those. Around the end of this year - if I keep my pace for this challenge - I'll need five books with fire on cover and if I don't like any of those I already picked that would be another good possibility to read it - we'll see).
I'm not promissing to read and review books anymore because I had more and more acute depressive episodes within the last few years and realised I can't plan more than a few days in advance for sure. I still try but fail more often than not and it got too frustrating which led to depression again... (I think you get the picture). Now I trying to plan enough time in-between for something fun or I'm just in mood for.
I'm going to soak in my tube with Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum, #16) by Janet Evanovich - which is absolutely flat but still very fun.

message 18: by John (new)

John Day Agnieszka wrote: "No need to apologise - I had this book anyway and would've read it sometime (most likely) now I only read it earlier, than planned and so one more down. I have no issue with it if I didn't want to ..."

I have gone with Deceptive Cadence as it is free.
I looked at nearest exit and saw a Reacher-esq character and another unbelievable US black ops department reason for being there.
Because you haven't read a John Day book before, I can understand your reluctance. You might also be surprised to learn that I cannot face reading Historical Fiction, yet Espionage London would be classed as such. However, it is just a spy story set in that time period and a spy story is much the same in any time setting. The secret is the plot and great characters.
Still, I would not want you to feel obliged to read them, so we will move on.
I will report back on Deceptive Cadence very soon. Have a great read, whatever you go for.
Best wishes

message 19: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments I know for sure I won't be able to start Deceptive Cadence before the 25th but after reading so much good stuff about this book and getting it recommended at least six times I'm looking very much forward to read it.

message 20: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments I changed my reading plan a bit and will start the book most likely this Sunday, the 22nd

message 21: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments Are you still interested in Deceptive Candence?

message 22: by John (new)

John Day Agnieszka wrote: "Are you still interested in Deceptive Candence?"

I feel I ought to complete it, but will have to see how next week plays out. I will be off island for medical reasons the whole of next week.

message 23: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments In that case I'll start the book as originially planned end of next week.

message 24: by John (new)

John Day I have managed to read this book and here are my thoughts.
A story that should have worked for me, but didn't.
The few action scenes were well portrayed and the scene setting well described. The downfall for me was there was little in the way of intrigue or thrill. It is a thriller, after all.
Was the plot credible? No! But done well, that wouldn't have mattered.
What about the characters? I couldn't have cared less about any of them. Probably if I was actually in the story, I would have just shot Connor just to put him out of my misery.
A lot of dialogue and description could have been ripped out of this book, in my view, just to pep up the pace and holding power. I find this issue with most best sellers as well, far to much jibber jabber to raise the word count. If you don't have much of a story, then develop one, then write it. If you want me to enjoy it.
Considered against the current background of story telling, it is probably a 4 star, but had it not been part of a buddy read, I would never have pressed on to the end.

message 25: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments Sorry I'm still not read the book! I struggled with migraine most of the last three weeks and hope the weather will get stable finally and I'll feel better as well.
Most of my 'reading' during this time were audiobooks and even if I got many pages I got very much behind on my actual reading list :-(

message 26: by John (new)

John Day Get well soon!

message 27: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka (agnieszka7) | 164 comments John, I planned to start the book two days ago regardless of migraine just because I committed to but gave myself two days to decide about it again after seeing you message in the general thread. Today I decided I'm not going to read this book in the next future and hope to erase any links in my mind with you and the way you hurt me several times now. I'll read this book when I accomplished it.

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