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Book Review: Ripper

Title: Ripper

Author: Isabel Allende

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Unexplained murders are happening in San Francisco and even the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide is having a hard time investigating them. But his seventeen years old daughter Amanda is helping him. Amanda was always fascinated by crimes and she’s also a leader in online game Ripper, where she’s solving crimes with her online friends. With her players and help of her grandfather, she soon discovers that crimes in San Francisco are connected to each other and they’re work of a serial killer. And suddenly her mother disappears. Is she a next victim?


This was my first book from author Isabel Allende. I have heard wonderful things about her books but I was even more attracted by this book because of its synopsis. I love a good mystery book so I couldn’t wait to read it. But, I was truly disappointed.

The story reveals the process of searching a serial killer and details about murders. However, unfortunately, this part is often pushed into the background, because the author focuses on other details of the story which are not really relevant. Thus, most of the story consists of descriptions of people, who they are, what were they doing in the past and what they are doing now. Yet, even these descriptions are not well written or entertaining, but they are quite poorly written. Like short summaries, which are repeated too many times. I also noticed that in most cases, events and extensively writing about them have not provided anything to the story, but it was a ballast that made reading awkward and extended book to more than 500 pages.

Because of that, even the story about a crime isn’t as interesting as it could be. Often I completely forgot what book was about. And it’s like the author had the same problems as I had – every few chapters this serial-killer-story is forcibly resurrected back to life. I guess just because readers are expecting it?!?

All the characters stood out too much to be pleasant. Nobody was average, they were all some crazy-bohemian-heroic persons. This for me was also a reason, why reading about their relationships sounded insincere and unnatural. There were too many complications, rather than focusing on the original story that actually attracted me.

The last few chapters of the book were for me the most pleasing, when the story of a killer began to unfold and where the reader finds out about killers motives that brought to crimes. Again, there was a lot of details but it actually made sense. The rest of the book was just *yawn*.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read Ripper? What are your thoughts about this book? Can you recommend me any other book by Allende?

 

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Book Review: Stone Bruises

Title: Stone Bruises

Author: Simon Beckett18189475

Sean is a young Englishman who is on the run. He finds himself on a remote farm in the French countryside, where he accidentally steps in the trap, set for animals. Because of the bleeding, he passes out and after a while, he wakes up in an attic. He’s confused at first but finds out that a woman from a farm took care of him and his wound. However, her father, old Arnaud, who is also a farm owner, doesn’t want him on his estate. Nevertheless, Sean stays on the farm, because the injury is really bad.

His past is chasing him but at the same time, he’s attracted to the mysteries of the farm and its residents.


I read Beckett’s mysteries when I want to read a good crime novel but at the same time I know, I won’t have to think much while reading. His books relax and entertain me. They are always good enough and until I read this book, I was never disappointed.

Book Stone Bruises actually combines two stories – first is about Sean on the run and how he ends in the farm, while the second story are snapshots from Sean’s past from London and the events that lead to his run.

After Sean’s arriving on the mysterious farm, I was constantly in tension, what secrets would be revealed and I was expecting horrific crimes that residents on the farm are hiding. Things were unveiled but I had to wait almost to the end of the book. And it was far from shocking and far from horrific things that I expected to be revealed. Until the end, this book was just describing Sean’s daily routine on the farm, his work and tense relations between Arnaud and his two daughters.

I didn’t like none of the characters and I can only assume, that this was an intention of the author if he wanted to show intolerable relations on the farm and its eccentric inhabitants. I even didn’t have a good opinion about Sean. Despite the fact, he was on the run, he still insisted in intolerable conditions and allowed to be humiliated by old man. He involved himself into something that was not necessary. He could leave anytime. But no, he stayed on the farm and got himself into a strange and unenviable situation.

I was also disappointed with Sean’s story about his past/crime he committed. Through the book, the story is progressively revealed but I expected so much more from it also.

As I already mentioned, all the secrets are revealed. But in the last few pages, which is really a pity. It was just too much of everything and not shocking at all. Too bad.

This book was not bad, but in my opinion, there are many other better crime novels to read, so I would probably not recommend it. Just grab some other book, if you want to enjoy a good mystery.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Did you read any other Beckett’s books and what did you think about them?

 

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Book Review: The Dinner

Title: The Dinner

Author: Herman Koch15797938

Two couples meet in a fancy restaurant. Serge, a candidate for a prime minister and his wife Babette, and his younger brother Paul with his wife Claire. However, they didn’t come to chat and enjoy good food. They came to talk about their children – Serge and Babette’s son Rick and Paul and Clair’s son Michel. Both children are 15 years old and committed a crime and their parents are discussing consequences.

As dinner develops from appetizer through the starter, main curse and dessert, it also intensifies the tension of conversation and the tension between their relations.


It took me more time to read this book, as I thought it will. Due to the fact that I heard nothing but good about this book and how intense and dark it is and that it should be a really quick read, I was surprised that it didn’t do such an impression on me.

I liked, how a structure of the dinner somehow makes a structure of a story. It starts with an aperitif where everybody is just chatting about movies and unimportant stuff but through every next course things complicates and tenses. The story focuses not only on a parent’s problem but also involves scenes from a restaurant which is really entertaining.

I didn’t like any of characters in this book. No one – neither both couples nor their sons, not the waiter or the girls working in a restaurant. All the characters are dislikable and I couldn’t identify or connect with them.

The main narrator in the story is Paul, who is the least likable of them all. Right from the start he seemed like an uptight man, full of himself, although he attempts to give a different impression. His contempt of his brother was at first funny but later I was tired of it. Generally, Paul seemed very “self-righteous” and that type of a guy who has everything worked out and thinks that only his principles are correct, all his actions are justified and that no one can judge him because he has everything figured out. It also seemed to me, that he’s jealous of everyone around him (including his wife in some cases) but especially of his brother. Paul doesn’t have anything nice to say about Serge, so during his narration through the story, I received negative opinion about Serge, although, in the end, he turned out to be the most normal of all (don’t be mistaken, he’s not a sympathetic man). They’re both bragging, though each in their own way. Serge, who is successful politician, is using his name for benefits and pretends to be something he’s not in public. Paul is trying to pretend that he doesn’t care for this things and that he’s pitying his brother because of this behavior. However, he does the same, just not so publicly.

Paul and Claire are constantly creating the image of a happy family but after Michel’s crime that image begin to fall into pieces. But still they don’t want to give up and their goal is to save a happy family farce. And this is also a basis of a story – how far will they go to protect this image? How far can parents go to protect their children? What is right and what’s wrong? Are there actions who can be forgiven because they were done by certain people (for example here, when the crime was committed by children)? Through the story, a reader is confronted with moral questions to which he must answer by himself. There are no clear answers because we all have different perspectives on various situations.

Despite the fact, I love books who are examining reader’s conscience, this book left me cold. Maybe because of dislikable characters and the fact I couldn’t identify with their story and I was actually judging them more and more with every page. Maybe this was a reason, why in this case, things seemed really clear to me and all their actions morally contentious. They all shown their hypocrisy, except Serge, who surprised me with his action (don’t worry, I will not spoil anything) but I’m also not sure if his action was made with so good intentions as I think.

And, I’m curious, would I look on a story differently, if I would have my own children?

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read The Dinner? I would love to hear your thoughts about this book! Did you liked it or not? Do we share the same opinions or not? If you read it, we can also discuss the moral questions from the book in comments below!

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Book review: The Girl in 6E

Title: The Girl in 6E

Author: A. R. Torre

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Deanna hasn’t left her apartment for three years. That was her decision because she doesn’t trust herself. She has terrible desire to kill and the only way to control herself is being locked and isolated from other people.
Everything she needs, she gets on The Internet. Moreover, she’s working as a cam girl – via online cameras, she offers sexual services to her clients. And she’s successful at what she does. Deanna aka Jessica has different types of customers but each of them is looking for a pleasure and sometimes even for fulfilling their fantasies and fetishes.
But a man can’t be isolated from people forever and at first, Deanna’s peace is disturbed by UPS delivery guy, who regularly carries her packages she orders online. And later she discovers, that one of her customers has strange desires and that his fetish crossed the line and he may actually be a madman who will hurt someone.


I must admit that I was very surprised by the book. I thought it would be just another crime story and I definitely haven’t expected so much sexual content. But to be clear, that doesn’t bother me at all. But maybe some readers could be disturbed by that.

I didn’t know much about cam sex. Ha, I didn’t know anything at all, to be honest. And I loved reading about it! It was really fascinating and while reading I could see that author did a research about the topic and everything was presented and explained well.
The story emerges slowly because, in the first half of the book, a reader gets to know Deanna and her clients. However, it was so interesting to read about all the different characters who are really unique.
First, there is Deana aka Jessica. I can’t even imagine, that somebody has such a desire to kill and he’s aware of it, so he’s willingly isolated from others. I thought that Deanna was an inventive person and in spite of her character, very pleasant girl.

At the same time, I was fascinated by a variety of Deanna’s clients characters. I can easily imagine that cam girls who are offering sexual services online can meet some “strange” clients and this little insight into their lives was fantastic. How many different fetishes I never heard about before! And I liked that through Deanna chatting with clients I was able to get to know her character.

I must admit that I liked the first half of the book more than the second. In the second part, Deanna is trying to discover who could be the secret client and how could she resolve the situation. And if the first half of the book seemed truly credible to me, I was not impressed with the second part. According to Deanna’s complexes and problems, it just seemed unbelievable. And I felt same with learning about Deanna’s past and reasons for hers desire to kill.

I would probably give this book fewer stars if the first part of the book wouldn’t be so enjoyable and I also liked a really unusual idea of a story.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Book Review: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

Title: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

Author: Joel Dicker206414982

Marcus Goldman is a successful young writer, but it’s been a while since his first and incredibly successful book was published. His publisher expects a new book soon, but Marcus finds himself in a creative crisis. He turns to his good friend, mentor and one of the most successful writers in America, Harry Quebert. Harry lives by the lake, in a small American town. Goldman visits him there and hopes that a peace, offered by an idyllic setting, will return his writing inspiration.
Soon, however, things got complicated. A skeleton is found, buried in Harry’s garden, and it’s been established that it belongs to fifteen years old Nola Kellergan. Nola disappeared thirty-three years ago without a trace. The last one, who saw her alive, was found murdered and a person committing a crime was never found.
Of course, the first suspect is Harry. But things get even more complicated when people found out that Harry, who was much older than Nola at that time had a relationship with her.
Marcus decides to help his mentor and he starts to research the case. He wants to prove that Harry couldn’t do it but at the same time, he wants to save his career, as he starts writing a book about their romance and a case.


What a marvelous book! Incredible. It’s been a while since I read so good mystery thriller that would make me so excited. I was impressed because this is no regular crime novel. If in other crime books everything is going on around crime and how and when it will be resolved and the only important thing is an investigation, here is completely different. This book is written in an extremely calm way of writing but still, it’s full of twists and tension until the end. And until the end, I didn’t know who the killer was. All the characters were suspicious and they all have the motive to hurt Nola. But in the end, all the details of the story are naturally and logically unveiled.
It seemed fantastic to me, that all the characters in the book were important and well presented. Each of them plays an important role in the case, as thirty-three years ago, as in 2008, when Marcus is investigating a case. Throughout the book, characters reveal their true nature and actions that influenced events and outcome of the story.

The truth is not always what it seems.

I can easily write that I didn’t like many characters in this book. Each of them has its own flaws and reasons for their actions.
One of the characters I disliked most was Marcus. He’s very self-sufficient, too ambitious writer who is obsessed with becoming one of the most important writers of all time. He always wants to be the best and he can’t accept failures or criticism. While reading, I did get a feeling that he calmed down a little bit and become a better person because he was thinking about other things and not just of himself. And while investigating a case, he also put his book into the background.
Harry had a good influence on him, which was great. And this is a reason why I liked Harry the most. For me, he was one of the most likable characters in this book, despite the fact that his romance with Nola seemed ridiculous for me. I still can’t understand that he waited thirty-three years that his loved one will return. For me, their love occurred too quickly and lasted too short to be so intense.
The thing that bothered me the most was the fact, that Marcus was allowed to investigate a crime. He just joined the whole investigation, despite the fact, he’s only a writer. I would understand if he would interfere but I can’t understand that detective just allowed him to almost lead a case and was someone who discovered some key evidences. And in the end, he was the one who solved the crime.

What I loved was how the events were represented. This book skips between years 2008 and 1975. And it’s great because in that way I really felt like I was present at all events. Even in those which happened in the past. In some books, skipping between the present and the past can be annoying but here was great.
I was also impressed, how Dicker incorporated the third story into the book (the first is Marcus’s story, second Harry’s). It’s about writing books and problems of professional writers. I loved it. It was fun and interesting and it’s actually a foundation for other two stories.
In conclusion, I can only write, that this book is so much more than just a crime novel. It’s a book about how life can play tricks on us, it’s a book about love, about human mistakes and sacrifices. It’s a great read even for those who don’t like crimes, thrillers or mysteries. Because it really is more than just that.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: City of Bones

Title: City of Bones

Author: Michael Connelly

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The bones were discovered in the woods and detective Harry
Bosch starts to investigate this case. Soon he discovers that bones belonged to a twelve-year-old boy who was apparently murdered more than twenty years ago. Because it happened a long time ago, this case is, even more, difficult to investigate and finding a killer more demanding.

Bosch begins to explore and dig into the past and slowly composing pieces of the life of murdered boy and his tragic fate.


This is an eight book in the series of detective Bosch. I figured this out only after I started reading it but fortunately, it’s not necessary to read books in some particular order because each of them deals with its own case and they are not connected.

Plot

I would say that this book is a solid read. It was interesting to read about the discovery of the bones and digging into the past and drafting all the pieces together. But I can’t say that this book or case stands out in any way. It was fast read and solid mystery book – the one you read fast but also forget about it fast. At least, in my case, it will probably be that way.

Nevertheless, the story is tense and of course, I wondered if Bosch will find out who the killer is. What I really liked about this book was, that Connelly did a great job and obviously went to details about police work and work of detectives. All procedures of police work are described in details and also explained but still in the way that reader don’t get bored. As a result, the case is really realistically planned. Which is a big plus of this book.

A negative side of this book was a romance – at least for me, a totally unnecessary addition in this book. Fact, that detective Boch starts to date his colleague, doesn’t much contribute to the whole story and everything would unfold just in the same way, even if their romance wouldn’t happen. Their relationship leads to some other, even more, unnecessary event (I’m not going to write about what happened because you know… spoilers and that stuff). But everything together is just one big mess, where a reader has a lot of questions but in the end, you’re left confused and without some logical conclusion. And this was a reason why I rated this book with fewer stars.

Characters

There is just one main character in this book and it’s detective Harry Bosch. Everyone else is just some figures who appears when it’s essential for the story.

Detective Bosch is a typical detective – single, works all the time, after work he goes for a drink, he listen to jazz and jumps between sheets with a co-worker in no time. And apparently those are characteristic that all detectives have to have. Because I really have a feeling that all detectives are the same, at least in a crime novels that I read. Perhaps it wouldn’t be bad if authors of crime novels would try something new.

But in general, a character of Bosch is well designed and I wouldn’t mind read more about him and his work.

 

This book was not bad at all but again, it was not some amazing read either. But Connelly writing style is appealing and probably in future, I will read more of his books. Especially if I will want some quick read to relax.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read any book in Harry Bosch series? Which is your favorite? Do you have any favorite crime novel?

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Book review: The Grownup

Title: The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn 26025580

The main character in this book is a canny young woman who’s making a money for living with harmless frauds since she was little. As a little girl, she was begging for money with her mother but now, when she’s independent and living on her own, she’s reading people’s auras. One day a young woman, Susan Burke comes for aura reading. Susan has moved into an old Victorian house with her husband and two sons, but she’s not happy in her new home. Her new house fills her with a sense of fear. She wants help because she thinks that house is dangerous and has a bad influence on her eldest stepson. The heroine (her name is not revealed) doesn’t hesitate and offers her help because she sees a great opportunity to earn a lot of money from unhappy and rich Susan.


This book is actually a short story, which was published as a book. Because I really liked previous Flynn’s books I was really happy that I could read something new from her. Even more so, because I don’t read a lot of short stories and I was wondering if the author has managed to create a tension as in her other books.

I must admit that main character is presented very well. Again (like in previous Flynn’s books) a heroine is a young woman who had problems in childhood and difficult adolescence. This is a regular feature is Flynn’s stories. Nevertheless, I liked her (which I can’t claim for characters in other books), because she’s funny which also reflects in the text.

However, I think that the biggest problem of this story is her length. I believe it would be much better if the author would have a chance to develop her characters and develop ideas. And this would only be possible if the book would be longer.

I really liked the first part of the book, but the second part left me down. Because, suddenly, the reader is faced with a lot of facts that must be quickly adopted. Also, the facts are given out very dull and too detailed (there is not much left for reader’s imagination). This is also a reason, why I was not satisfied with the end. Moreover, there were a way to many twists in the story at the end, which would be totally fine if the story would be longer.

Otherwise, this book is good, solid reading (a really fast read) but I must admit that I expected more from it.

Rating: 3/5