Sunday, July 28, 2013

Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson

Frederika Bergman is the protagonist in this Swedish mystery.  She and her team attempt to solve the double murder of a professor who rallies around immigrant issues and refugees.  The first chapter of this book had the most impact-an eerie, imagery filled narrative of the murder victims' daughter's rape, committed by a refugee whom the victim was helping.  The rest of the book pales in comparison to the beginning.  I was more and more disappointed as I read on, hoping that there would be an unanticipated turn of events, but in the end the author chose a conclusion that really did not tie in with the motives or characterization in the book.  The critics compared Ohlsson to Jo Nesbo.  I can see after starting a Nesbo book that Ohlsson really tries to emulate his style, but is unsuccessful. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Pure Gaiman.  This tale is reminiscent of Coraline, but with more description and less moral dilemma.  An unnamed seven year old comes face to face with ancient battles of good versus evil.  Led by the Hempstock women, a family at the end of his lane who appear to be have been around since the moon was made, the boy faces fears with the best of bravery and forthrightness.  I read this book in a few hours--beautifully written and a page turner!  I was sad when I came to the last page.

Adios Muchachos by Daniel Chevarria

I don't usually pick up a book without a recommendation from either NPR or a friend, but as I was browsing the NPL e-book options, I found the summary of this to be intriguing.  Set in Cuba, the story addresses the life of Alicia, an upscale prostitute who is also a con artist.  She gets involved with a man who, from a course of unintended events, has to cover up the death of his lover.  Part romance, part mystery, but mostly a great read on character and motivation.  Some scenes are explicit, so not for the timid.

In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes

Idaho author Kim Barnes gives us the story of Ginny, an American who travels with her husband to the Arab oil fields.  Set in the late sixties, the book gives a very detailed and personal account of Ginny's struggles with loneliness, faith, sexism, and racial inequality.  Greed is also a huge theme in this book.  I really like Barnes' style and description of inner conflict that Ginny experiences.  Worth a look if you like stories about the inner life of a woman.