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Cape Fear: A Novel

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Evermore convinced of MacDonald's brilliance. True, the Bowden family could have been given a few more warts, but what is important is that they are meant to be average. In the midst of a page turner of a thriller, MacDonald also examines the effectiveness of our legal system, the frailty of life, the effect of fear on the individual -- all while painting the picture of everyday terrorifying menace which is much more believable than thethriers where the body counts are in double digits. Starting to reach conclusion thatMacDonald is the most complete mystery writer of all.
The Inspector Erlendur Series, Books 1-3: Jar City, Silence of the Grave, Voices

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The Erlendur series earns equal comparison to the Wallander series. In some aspects, the series feel almost interchangeable in terms of the aging man, bachelor by divorce, trying to navigate a troubled relationship with his daughter. Both series feature the existential journey of its protagonist as the primary aspect of the read. Erlendur's plight is even more stark than that of Walander's, his perspective less sentimental. What I appreciate about Indridason is that he makes his plots, particularly this one, interesting without taking it over the top and past the bounds of believability. This book weaves three realistic and engaging story lines, the two families implicated in the cold case murder, and Elendur's coming to terms with his comatose drug addled daughter.
The Last Child: A Novel

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Stand by Me meets Silence of the Lambs in North Carolina. The preceding description doesn't quite capture the book but comes close. Last Child contains some of the small town elements that made To Kill a Mockingbird so memorable, but no where as nuanced or refined. Levi Freemantle is this book's Boo Radley, the innocent mammoth developmentally disabled adult. I found the over the top action, over powered the book's stronger but more subtle story line. I found the writing somewhat pedestrian, the book good but not excellent. Again, I didn't need a mound of bodies to make this book interesting, instead I thought it weakened the book's impact.
The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

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Excellent conclusion to an excellent series. The best part of the Wallander series is the progression of Wallander. I thought the mystery itself was compelling, definitely pulled you and made you want to unravel what was at its core. But more compelling was Wallander as he enters the later chapters of his life, his interactions with his daughter and former wife, granddaughter and former lover. For me, Mankell's ending for Wallender was pitch perfect. Someday, I hope to have the leisure to read them all again.
Headhunters

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Very pleasantly impressed. Reminiscent of a nordic Don Winslow with a little more substance. THe set-up is terrific and very convincing. I am a sucker for book's that involve art heists, although, the art heist in this novel is a Maguffin of sorts. Roger Brown, the main character, has a authentic and convincing voice. The action is a bit over-the-top, the Quentin Tarantino references are well-arned. ALthough there are several laugh out-loud sections; the book does loose some of its credibility. Ultimately, I think the book may have been stronger relying on the real emotions that were created early on. I found the epilogue to strain believability even within the books own constructs. I have not yet read any of the Harry Hole books, overall, I did enjoy this stand alone.
Silence of the Grave

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The Erlendur series earns equal comparison to the Wallander series. In some aspects, the series feel almost interchangeable in terms of the aging man, bachelor by divorce, trying to navigate a troubled relationship with his daughter. Both series feature the existential journey of its protagonist as the primary aspect of the read. Erlendur's plight is even more stark than that of Walander's, his perspective less sentimental. What I appreciate about Indridason is that he makes his plots, particularly this one, interesting without taking it over the top and past the bounds of believability. This book weaves three realistic and engaging story lines, the two families implicated in the cold case murder, and Elendur's coming to terms with his comatose drug addled daughter.
Kule u zraku

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This is the Star Wars of Swedish mysteries. Salander goes face-to-face with her Darth Vadar of a father. This a multi-layered comic book good read. Much of the action is centered around the production of an expose newspaper article and trial preparation for crimes earlier perpetrated on Salander. To some extent the book is unsatisfying as it seems to be setting up relationships that are going to be a later source of tension and drama that we are never privy to. Is the Millennium Triology the best of the Swedish offerings? There are others that I believe to have more "substance" than this series; however, I doubt any other mystery series creates such a rich mythology. Definitely worth the read.
After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story

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I very much enjoyed this book, part memoir and part thriller. It is the story of a man trying to figure out the riddle of his father's death, while discovering who his father was, and putting his own life, mortality, mother and family into context. His mother is great. There is some things she says that produce some genuine laugh out loud moments. Chicago is a supporting character which is always a plus. Definitely worth the read.
Ritual: A Jack Caffery Thriller

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Ritual suffers from the same problem as so many first installments of a series, the unbelievable misfortune of being close friends with a serial killer. There were so many other fulfilling ingredients to the story that I was surprised and disappointed when this book chose this well worn path. I like the characters of Flea and Cafferty, I thought their noirish back stories were interesting and believable without being overdone. I found these two be two believable trying to do their jobs through the filters of their personal perspectives while trying to understand their work place attraction. I thought scuba diving a muti, African witchcraft, to be interesting backdrops which Hayder convincingly developed. It wasn't until the former best friend became the killer that the book started to miss the mark. I did immediately start the next book in the series, I did like the fact that it carries over elements of this book and the first crime.
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