Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004
I remember reading that Magnus Flyte, a collaboration by two women, was chosen by the two as their pseudonym because they thought men would be more likely to buy their book if the author's name was masculine. I don't intend to discuss this aspect of the book, but I will say that if the authors had wanted to sell more books to guys they should have labeled this as science fiction rather than the vague references to magic and fantasy in the descriptions.
The point of view character, Sarah, is a student musicologist with an interest in how the mind reacts to music, specifically the music of Beethoven. She discusses with her roommate the theory of dark matter and the development of science with regard to the brain. Then a dwarf shows up at her door with a pillbox that seems to have a toenail clipping in it.
Sounds interesting. And it probably would have been if the authors were more capable in handling their material. Prague is a fascinating location with history, that at times is used effectively. However they decide to create a villain that could not have been less nuanced. I don't care what the villain's politics were, at least give me something that is more than mustache twirling evil. The interesting characters are all tangential. I could definitely spent more time with the Asian-Texan, lesbian, twirler beauty queen.
I never believed in the romance either, mainly because the other party never felt as real as as the character mentioned above or the dwarf Nicco (trouble with audible books, I'm not sure how his name is spelled.)
I'll look at their next book to see if these two are going to go after easy genre tropes or explore the more interesting concepts that they came up with in this book.
The narrator was competent but not much more except when it came to pronouncing tongue twisting names with great authority.
This book is set in 1997, which could have been made clearer at the beginning. I kept wandering why no one, not even the police, had a cell phone and why there was smoke in enclosed work areas such a pubs and police stations, not to mention a reference to an IRA bombing in the recent past. Come to think of it, I had a Motorola flip phone in 1997 so I still don't know why at least the police didn't have them.
Anyway a Constable of the RMCP, Danutia Dranchuk is seconded to the Peak district in the United Kingdom to learn about community policing. She attends the funeral of the mother of a friend she met in Canada when investigating another murder and learns that her friend has some concerns about whether his mother's death had been caused by some action or inaction of someone in the village. He wants her to take a look at some scrapbooks his mother had kept to try to help him figure out what was going on. There's a Well Dressing going on and a dispute between the rather conservative Vicar and some members of a alternative healing/WICCA group.
There's quite a bit of confusion as Danutia and her friend Arthur keep missing opportunities to look at the scrap books together until about 40% in on the Kindle book when Danutia and Arthur are involved in a car wreck. Arthur had also been a jerk about wearing a seatbelt and ends up with injuries. Danutia has the car examined and learns that the brake line was cut causing the accident.
Meanwhile there is some ritual sheep mutilations and a few break-ins with stolen spoons and Toby Jugs.
There's a bit of excitement toward the end, but the conclusion is a bit weak. I didn't particularly care for the characters either.
The narrator wasn't horrible but I think I have run into her before. She does not do children well, giving the younger boy some sort of pinched, lispy annoying voice.
AND POSSIBLE SPOILER---
DON'T READ BELOW THIS LINE IF YOU CARE
The is also one of my least favorite tropes in this book-- A character gets a bit tipsy and has unprotected sex and then thinks she has the flu because she is throwing up so often and even the thought of food makes her feel ill. Then after she figures it out every time she does anything active she worries about losing the baby.
And the take away from the book? Don't force your child to do necropsies, it can turn him or her into a psychopath.
The author has apparently created a new genre of Scandinavian crime fiction called Elegant Crime. It supposedly is a combination of chic lit and mystery called Elegant Crime. Half of the characters are upper income types, half are not. But they are all brought together by one obsession-- food. At first I thought it was just local color, a chance to read about snacking life in Stockholm, then it began to intrude into the story-- big plates of food. And it became clear that the good guys in the social sense (not in the criminal sense) give and share food, the disagreeable character reject the offer of food. Many cups of coffee and cinnamon buns are consumed.
Mystery? Oh, there was a mystery in there? Yes, there was. A young girl is found dead under and upturned boat and a man is run over in the street. There seems to be some connection to a lifestyle cult but that's not important. Instead let me tell you about some delectable white chocolates that the heroine consumed before having sex with an old friend.
No, I don't think I would read another book by this author. I'm not sure why the obsession with food but it sure wasn't interesting.
Detective Stephen Moran has been brought a card relating to the death of a teenaged boy at a posh school for girls. Moran is on the Cold Case Squad, but he really wants to be on the Murder Squad and he thinks that this high profile, unsolved case may be his ticket. The former lead on the case is a woman whose partner has retired and who has some problems with the other men on the Squad so she needs a big solve. All of the current action in the case takes place within one day as Moran and Detective Conway question the girls at St. Kilda's about the death of Chris Harper. However this investigation is interleaved with the back story of the months leading up to Harper's death.
This is one of my favorite types of genre novels. It can be read as a straight mystery with pleasure-- French also provides a satisfying conclusion (which she hasn't always done in the past) although all of the events that happen to the girls at St. Kilda's are not given a rational explanation. However, the book is enriched with references to both classical and christian mythology. Further there is a Appollonian versus Dionysian tension that has made me ruminate about the plot and characters even after I reached the end.
Th e performance was pitch perfect with two excellent readers.
I bounced between a 4 and a 5 on this book but finally settled on a five. It problems should be 4 1/2 but we don't get to give half stars. There was one section near the end that I though could have been shortened but the narrators pulled it through.
A student is knifed in the library of a University in Ottawa. Did it happen because of his love life, his role in the investigation of a possible research scandal or due to his family's circumstances.
I thought the mystery and the investigation were fairly strong and entertaining. The bits that I found maddening involved the characterization and the backstory of Inspector Green and the other detectives. I don't have to have likeable and moral characters in the mysteries I read, in fact the ones I enjoy the most involve shades of gray. Inspector Green however almost seems to have been done by the numbers: Obsessed investigator-- check. Marriage in trouble-- check. Father dying-- check. New baby-- check. He was a total jerk to his wife and she wasn't a strong enough character to stand up to him in any meaningful way. I was rooting for her to dump him by the time the book ended.
The author has written more in this series so I will maybe dip into a later book to see if I'm still as annoyed by Inspector Green's family life as I was in this one. There's potential if the author could just find the right balance.
The narrator didn't really add anything to the book. Competent but uninspiring.
Dr Siri Paiboun became Coroner more or less by default. He is 72 years old and had spent most of his earlier years as a doctor treating soldiers injured in the struggle for Communism to take over the government. Now it has succeeded and the worker's utopia has been deserted for the most part by the wealthy and educated class. He has an antique microscope, a few chemicals, and a camera that has a very strictly limited amount of film that his investigations must share with the social events of the nurses. There's a government spy installed behind his mortuary who complains about the smell of the corpses and mystical experiences that interrupts his nights.
The reader was very good and I quite enjoyed listening to this book with it's convoluted plot and interesting background.
Lacey has given up her career as a high flyer in CID and joined the Thames River Police. She's living an a boat moored to a Marina. But she does not stay away from high risk behavior, and this also causes her to find the body of a young woman wrapped in a linen shroud and tangled in some pilings. But this isn't the only body that has been discovered and Lacey is drawn into the investigation on a semi-official basis.
After this exciting start, though, things get a bit slow and I'm not the secondary plot about Mark Joesbury doesn't really seem to contribute to the main story. The situation picks up again with some harrowing story telling near the end, but there is definitely a mid book slump.
I fell in love with Sharon (S. J.) Bolton's audio books 3 or 4 years ago. The major problem was that they were only available in audio in the UK. So every so often I would drop an email to Audible suggesting that they look into bringing her to the US site. I was delighted to see this book when I was browsing the new releases and immediately bought it.
Only unfortunately it is not her best work and it's the fourth book into the Lacy Flint series which means some readers are going to be a bit confused. And frankly the way that the first few chapters bounce around in time made it a bit confusing to me at times.
Lacey has a very complicated and interesting back story. If the reader hasn't read at least the first two books then the visit to the prison and the relationship with Mark Joesbury are kind of floating out there, along with several cryptic comments about Lacey by other characters in the book. In her prior books in this series Bolton managed to control her story to the point that each would novel work as a stand alone. In this case I don't think she handles it as well.
So now Audible, can you please try to get audio rights to retail Bolton's other books? I would buy copies from you, I promise.
I had known that this was originally sold on Amazon as part of their serial program. I wasn't interested because I don't like getting stories in dibs and dabs. I want it all at once. So when I saw the Audible version at a good price I bought it. (Hope no one in marketing decides that the world wants serial Audible books.)
The serial structure though as made this into an episodic story as the author tried to make each segment a satisfying story while encouraging readers to keep going. I'm not sure she was successful with this although I did enjoy listening to the entire book. It just felt a bit choppy and she ended up introducing a potentially important character near the conclusion.
Not my favorite McGuire but worth listening to. Mary Robinette Kowal as usual does an outstanding job with the narration.
The central character of this book is Rose Marshall. She's also known as the phantom prom date. She was killed in an accident in 1952 and since then has wandered the roads of this world and the spaces between. Sometimes she is helpful, sometimes she is not. But her world and the characters who inhabit her world paint and interesting picture of ghosts in America. While she does at time mention older creatures such as the Black Dog or Hellhound, most of the stories center around the American love of motor driven vehicles and the lore of the road.
Interesting book that should appeal to those who love urban fantasy. Probably wouldn't particularly appeal to hard core paranormal romance fans though. If you have to have a HEA tread carefully, although there isn't a cliff hanger at the end of this book. It appears to be the first in a series.
Narrator by Amy Landon. This is the first book by her I have listened to. She doesn't have the verve of Mary Robinette Kowal who reads the October Daye books, but she did keep me interested and entertained with no annoying mispronunciations or verbal tics.
Combining plot points and characters from The Cask of Amontillado by Poe, Othello and The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, Moore sends Pocket the Fool off on another adventure, this time in medieval Venice. Pocket, nicknamed Fortunato by the Doge starts at a very low point in his life. He is the intended victim of a conspiracy between some merchants of Venice and Iago who want to start a crusade in order to increase their wealth. The last one had worked so well for them. Pocket is so low that he little cares for his life-- until he discovers that this conspiracy is the cause of his misfortunes! Most Heinous F___ery, as he says.
And the story takes off-- ribald, bawdy and very, very clever as Moore combines characters from all the stories into a fun listen. Christopher Moore is funny when read by oneself, but when Euan Morton does the narrating it is rib splitting and laugh out loud-- if you like Christopher Moore's brand of humor. HIs satire about recent world events is spot on.
So why not 5 stars across the board? I thought that there were a couple of places where it moved a little slow. Also there were so references back to events and characters in Fool that probably would have confused a new reader. I just took it as an opportunity to listen to Fool again.
In fact, if you thinking about buying this listen and have not heard Fool you would do yourself a great favor if you listen to Fool first. Both books have entertaining Author Notes read at the end by Christopher Moore himself explaining why he made the choices he did in terms of characters and time periods.
A Victorian Baby Farmer convicted and hanged for the death of a young boy left in her care by his mother is the historic story that Ruth Galloway, forensic physical anthropologist, is dealing with in this, the sixth book in this series. Meanwhile DCI Harry Nelson is investigating the suspicious death of a baby whose parents are both suspects in the child's death.
Children are a big theme in this book in the series, as they have been in past books in this series. Not only is the skeleton of the hook-handed baby farmer Jemima Green, aka Mother Hook, the basis of a local bogy, she is also set to be the subject of an episode of a sensationalistic television show about women who kill.
Anyway this is a better than average story read well by Clare Corbett. She is not idiosyncratic in her style and thankfully does a good job with the accent of a historian from the US who adds some variety to the cast. Many of the characters from previous books make an appearance and the overall story arc does advance a bit.
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