Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

I have not read all of Jo Nesbo's books nor in the right order. So I was a little surprised to learn that Harry Hole had left the police to be a teacher. Nevertheless, you can read books in the order you want, without disturbing the reading or understanding of story. 

In The Thirst, Harry is called, with a lot of pressure, to resume service to track down an individual whose crimes and violence reminds him of his nemesis, the one that has always escaped him. He therefore agrees to return to service, to finish this chapter of his life. 

So we find the Harry we know but in a happier style than usual. Because Harry, for once, believes in the possibility of happiness. He is much more Zen and it changes but feels good. 

About the crimes, as bloodthirsty and vampiric as possible, and the story, always as well put together, they will keep you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end. Sure, it's not for the faint hearted what with the bloody details, but it's worth it. And what's more, I really liked being led by the nose by Jo, who, in a very Whodunit style, sows the clues, let us discover some protagonists's thoughts, lends them do some actions that can not be more suspicious, making me believe regularly that I had found the culprit. Ha ah! You wish!

What's the story?

THERE’S A NEW KILLER ON THE STREETS...A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

HE’S IN YOUR HOUSE… HE’S IN YOUR ROOMUnder pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.

HE’S OUT FOR BLOODWhen another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.

In a nutshell
The Thirst... as in the thirst for violence, blood, revenge but also the thirst for tranquility and happiness. This is a good title that Jo Nesbo has found here for a good novel that's very captivating. A book for thirsty... of thrills!

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I don't really know why but I had some really preconceived ideas about Margaret Atwood. A lot of people describe her as a feminist and I was afraid that her texts would be too much like a feminist statement (yes that old anti-feminist idea of a soured woman who spits her venom)(knowing I'm kinda feminist it's quite stupid I know). So, I was never attracted by her books... till I watched (or in fact binged-watched) the TV show based on the book and I was hooked! Thus, I stop binge-watching before the last episode, went to buy the book and read it before watching the end of the TV show (knowing that the end could be different as there were talks of another season...)

So, as usual, the book and the TV show are not quite the same but I must say that the mood and anxiogenic world are! And the book, THE book!! What a great time I had reading it! The writing is excellent, fluid, pleasant and full of surprises. With just those sentences that punch you, that surprise you and bring something unexpected or on the contrary expected but a lot faster and sharply than you thought. 

Like that: 
Every night when I go to bed I think, In the morning I will wake up in my own house and things will be back the way they were.
It hasn't happened this morning either.
I love the fact that some dialogue are sometimes in Offred's head, mixed with her considerations and thoughts but it's always very clear and coherent. You don't ask yourself "but who is she talking to?" or "is she talking to someone or thinking?" It's really mastered and it gives a different rhythm, a lot more lively that when dialogue and thoughts are separated.   
But watch out, Commander, I tell him in my head. I've got my eye on you. One false move and I'm dead.
Still, it must be hell, to be a man, like that.
It must be just fine.
It must be hell.
It must be very silent.
I put my mouth to the wooden hole. Moira? I whisper.
Is that you? She says.
Yes, I say. Relief goes through me. 
God, do I need a cigarette, says Moira. 
Me too, I say. 
I feel ridiculously happy. 
And I loved these thoughtful sentences
Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. 
Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn?

In a nutshell, I really like that book, its writing, its characters so well written, its story, dystopian and so realistic at the same time. 

I was talking about the hyper current subject of the book and a friend of mine was saying that it was not that terrible, that we, as women from western countries, can't complain, that we live in a free and modern society, that it couldn't happen to us... But what does that book talk about? About the place of women in a society ruled by men. Then, of course, we don't live in a country where we can't work, nor have a bank account... but do I need to remember that women's freedom to choose their work or to open an account dates back to 1964 in Quebec and 1965 in France? Not even, just look at what's going on in the USA (and even in Quebec and France now) with all those women who say #meetoo and you'll see that for some, the body of a woman is just an object... 

So, I won't start a feminist debate here but I just want to emphasize the importance of book like The Handmaid's Tale to make us think and become aware that all is not won and everything can be lost. 

As for the story in itself, I must say that I was a bit disappointed by the half-hearted end. There's hope but for Offred it's kinda vague. And I do love a frank ending: it ends well or not but it's just for me. If you love or you're ok with vague ending, you'll love that epilogue! 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

Jonathan Caine, a true self-satisfied rich guy, is forced by some struck of bad luck to come back home and to live with his parents. At home, he meets back with the former prom queen, Jackie, who never laid an eye on him. But now, seing him so successful she accepts to date him and they fall in love. Problem is, Jackie is married and the husband is jealous (and a prick). And then something bad happens and Jonathan and Jackie fight for their freedom and happy end.

What's great in that book is following Jonathan's change from prick to good guy. At the beginning, everything is about what he can spend, what he can have, his career, his luck but then living again at home and with all that's happening he remembers what it's like to be a good guy and begins his journey to being more careful and mindful of people. And that's quite fun to read and witness.

However, even if I liked seing how Cain fight for Jackie, even if the writing was good, the story ok and the book reads quickly, the whole story was not that captivating, mainly because I never really find the characters interesting. The whole story is kind of a cliché with the former prom queen who fell from grace and the former looser who became successful enough to interest her.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson

The Never-Open Desert Diner is not quite your usual crime fiction book. We follow Ben, a private trucker, who mainly delivers on one route, the 117, which is not your usual road. Almost nobody drives through that road and only the regulars feel like it's safe to take it. Ben knows everybody on that road and we learn to know about the people living near that road along his deliveries. He knows everybody... but one woman. She plays cello, is quite beautiful, free and wild and Ben falls for her. But then strange things happen, new people take the 117 and their intentions are quite unclear.

What's good about that book has a lot to do with the atmosphere, It's strange, quite oppressive, dangerous, captivating and we're never sure what will happen. It reminds me of small town where everybody knows everybody's secrets but nobody talks about them. Except here, secrets a far more explosive! The characters are well done, they're all very different, from the two brothers who live like shut off, Walt the diner's owner or John and his cross. Each of them has a story, a background that we fully know.

So that book is not juste a plot (even if it was good : what will happen with the strange people coming, what do they want?) but a lot of characters, each one intriguing or interesting or sweet or just plainly appalling! And that road! It feels like a character by itself, what with the desert mood it gives.

In a nutshell, not a book for readers who like a solid plot but a captivating book for readers who prefer characters and an atmosphere à la Bagdad Café (or Out of Rosenheimover action.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Atria Books

It's a very different story from what I'm used to read. Here, no disillusioned main character who fights his demons to succeed in his investigation but two Afro-American cops who are fighting the system to bring justice. 

The social dimension is really great and interesting and if you liked Dennis Lehanne's "The Given Day", this book is for you! 

You'll follow the political stakes at the dawn of major changes in the country, the injustices of segregation, the various mentalities, between elementary racists and progressives. 

Between Dunlow, the hateful cop, for whom the life of a black man is not a subject, protected by his colleagues, who embodies a "traditional" way of seeing the place of everyone that nobody wants to reconsider and Rakestraw, who realizes the injustices but hesitates to take sides not to be alone in front of his colleagues and also because the system in place is comfortable when the challenge brings a novelty that can be scary. 

Boggs and Smith also have two different ways of approaching their difficulties, one wants to rebel, the other play with the system. Who is right, who is wrong... and can they investigate without Rakestraw's help? How to conduct an investigation without risking their life despite all the injustice and hostility?

In a nutshell

A very good story, a beautiful social Lehanne's style saga and a well-crafted story.

What's the story ?

Responding to orders from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers, including war veterans Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers; they aren’t allowed to arrest white suspects, drive squad cars, or set foot in the police headquarters.

When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up dead, Boggs and Smith suspect white cops are behind it. Their investigation sets them up against a brutal cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood as his own, and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines. Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith will risk their new jobs, and their lives, while navigating a dangerous world—a world on the cusp of great change.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Three by Sarah Lotz

I saw this book in all francophone bookstores, describe like an incredible phenomenon... but I had never heard of this book on the English side. So I bought the electronic version in English to see if that book is actually phenomenal.

I liked how Sarah Lotz describes how people would react to such an event. All the ultra religious, the alien people, the conspiracy people and the nut jobs are doing a great job trying to convince people of their truth. 

If a situation such as described in this book really arrived, I do not doubt that we would see that kind of madness (we just have to remember the madness about 2000 and the end of the world...) 

Sarah Lotz creates a very realistic story from this point of view and describes wonderfully the political stakes and wars of power generated by the 4 plane crashes. 

The narrative has a hashed side, because it consists of extracts from newspapers, interviews and reflections one after the other. This forces us to deduce some things, which I appreciated. On the other hand, and I understand that it is hard not to let anything pass, but it lacks some explanations to the story. 

I did not like the end as THE ultimate answer - which is to know what the three are - is, in my opinion, sloppy. After pages to hear the opinions of the different protagonists, one finds oneself with the so-called truth balanced at the last moment, without explanation and this truth seems a little too easy and too deja-vu. 

The characters are well written and I felt close to them, but I did not fully understand the interest of the story of the Ice Princess, who was an interesting character until the end. 

In a nutshell, a novel that reads well with a lot of promising ideas but disappointing at the end.

What's the story ?

Around the world, at almost the same time, four passenger airplanes plummet to the earth. There are no survivors, apart from three children (on three separate planes) and a woman who soon dies but not before leaving a recorded message that warns listeners to “watch the dead people.” The young survivors, soon dubbed The Three by the press, become worldwide sensations, even as some begin to suspect something is not quite right about them. Theories about The Three start to spread: they’re harbingers of doom, says one theory, the embodiments of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; no, says another, they were chosen for survival by our reptilian alien overlords. As it turns out, no one has any real notion of just how important and dangerous these children really are.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

No one knows by J.T. Ellison

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Gallery Books

First, I'd like to thank Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for the ebook!

The story seemed promising, the character were quite well written, I really felt for Aubrey and though I was in for a ride. 

Well, it was more of a back and forward, what with all the flashbacks! But flasbacks can be good, cause they bring some better understanding of a situation, or a context. So I was happy to read them, as they let me appreciate Aubrey. 

Some stuff seemed quite strange though: the fact that nobody saw Josh at the wedding was a bit of a stretch for me. The wedding was quite far away, they arrived together, people saw her but not him and if he wasn't there, nobody asked her where he was... sure.

And then, just as I was enjoying the story, I felt cheated! I do love a good twist but not easy ones. And some explanation and twists were too much deja-vu for my taste. And the more I read the more I was "gosh, the author didn't use that trick too!" but he did. 

What's the story

In an obsessive mystery as thrilling as The Girl on the Train and The Husband’s Secret, New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison will make you question every twist in her page-turning novel—and wonder which of her vividly drawn characters you should trust.

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

In No One Knows, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Nicholas Drummond series expertly peels back the layers of a complex woman who is hiding dark secrets beneath her unassuming exterior. This masterful thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins will pull readers into a you’ll-never-guess merry-go-round of danger and deception. Round and round and round it goes, where it stops…no one knows.