The Kill Artist is a well written spy novel, filled with details in all the right places as well as several characters from Silva’s previous novels and wonderful political popcorn for those of us that care. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
I borrowed this book from the local library. “The Gates” is a fictional story by Irish author John Connolly, which introduces us to Samuel Johnson and his beloved dachshund Boswell. Samuel is a strange boy who likes to confuse his teachers and dreams of getting his soon-to-be-divorced parents back together. In order to get a leg up on all the other kids during Halloween Samuel goes trick-o-treating two days before only to witness the gate to Hell opening up at 666 Crowley Road due to the rituals the owners playing at devil worship while at the exact time the Hadron Collider is working on the other side of Europe. No one believes poor Samuel that the end of Earth is near, demons are trying to kill him and that the neighbors are Satan’s minions. No one except Boswell and his friends Maria and Thomas. The book becomes a keystone- cops type of comedy, with the minions of Hell being roughed up and a lower entity demon – Nurd, The Scourge of Five Deities – becoming a lovable figure which I hope we’ll meet again. Even though I’m not the target audience for this book, I found this book…
I found the setting of a claustrophobic small fishing town of Fjällbacka to be the most intriguing character. Läckberg does a masterful job capturing the feel of a small town with lots of bad history to bury, where every ripple causes a big effect in the lives of many people. The seemingly idyllic town, where rich people flock to buy summer houses for peaceful, restful and pleasant vacations, holds many dark riddles which the townsfolk would rather be left uncovered.
However, this is a fun book; the book can be ridiculous at times and riveting at others. The character of Salander, who was somewhat believable in the first novel is taken to extremes in this one, but is still great fun even though the “chance encounter” plot twist is a bit overplayed.
Beirut 39 edited by Samuel Shimon is a collection of stories and poems. The collection is the product of a literary competition in the Arab world, young authors and poets, all under 40 years of age, competed in a contest sponsored by, among others, Banipal magazine in the Hay festival. The best 39 short stories, poems and novel parts were published. Buy Beirut 39 from Amazon.com* The stories and poems touch on many varied subjects, politics, sexuality and culture. The selections are as individual as the authors and tell such tales as the wife of a Damascus man who is measuring, for good or bad, her various lovers; or the man who hides his gay identity from his mother while watching a movie about the subject on satellite, hoping she wouldn’t wake up. There were two standout stories I thought, in this book which were a cut above the rest: “The Twentieth [9/11] Terrorist” by Abdullah Thabit and the straight-to-the-point “Coexistence” by Ala Hlehel. Both stories were told from a very believable and vivid point of view which I found refreshing as well as enlightening on an intellectual level. “The Twentieth [9/11] Terrorist” tells of the harsh system of education…
I liked Little Bee and the ending caught me a bit by surprise and I liked the distinct voices author Chris Cleave tries to use – it made the story more interesting and gave us a bit of background about Little Bee without having to resort to flashbacks.
There is something about the Romanov’s which has always been lighting up people’s imaginations, whether it’s the rumors about their death (helped immensely by misinformation from the Russian government), or the enormous wealth symbolized by the fabulous Faberge eggs or the legends of the survival of Princess Anastasia.
In “Eye of the Red Tsar”, a fictional tale with historical accuracy, author Sam Eastland introduced his audience to the Tsar’s personal detective Inspector Pekkala. We first meet Pekkala in exile at the harsh forests of Sebria, where he works in the gulag as a tree marker. Pekkala has survied this punishing task for almost a decade, shattering the record for a job that most people last in a few months before dying.
The book touches on many themes, such as the role Jewish writers and artists played in American pop culture (like it or not comics are American mythology). However, escapism is probably the most important theme, whether it is from Nazi occupied Europe or from one of the characters sexual identity or physical weakness.
The story is well written and interesting; this is a good book and deserves praise.
Devils in Exile is a rough, fast, flashy, tough and smart action thriller. There are twists I saw, but – best of all – the main twists I did not see. Chuck Hogan stays away from the troubled hero clichés and the characters in this book are created very well.