Monday, December 26, 2011

Reader's Review - Jussi Adler-Olsen (Redemption)

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Let it be said at once: I am a big fan of Jussi Adler-Olsen. He writes with a wonderful mix of humor and suspense - at least when it comes to Department Q series. His cast of characters is incredibly entertaining. Carl Moerk as the grumpy and frustrated police commissioner, who has plenty of problems at home and just want a quiet and uncomplicated working day. Assad started out as a handyman in the department, but promote himself a significant role in the investigation with many unexplained talents and skills. And last but certainly not least, Rose the secretary, which nourishes greater sympathy and understanding for Assad, than for his employer. In this book we are introduced to Rosa's twin sister, Yrsa. The synergy between these four people is indescribable and without them, the books would not be nearly so appealing.

The plot of 'Redemption' unfolds in an environment of religious minorities, where a killer haunts unscrupulously. The plot may be a bit thin and you might wonder why the book should be on the entire 485 pages to get the story told. There are a couple of lot less interesting side plots, which in my eyes are doing nothing but complicating the story. But because of Jussi's amazing cast of characters, I accept it all because the writing was so entertaining. Nevertheless, I have to complain ...

Dear Jussi Adler-Olsen: The first book I read by you, was 'The Washington decree'. I found this book very interesting because you explained that you had been guided by the emergency laws which come into force in crisis situations in the United States. These laws, you explained, all exists and you wanted to show how these laws could be abused to transform a democracy to a totalitarian regime in just seven days. In other words, the book was interesting because you had made a thorough research of the factual laws in the United States. Why did you not make the same efford regarding the research of religious minorities in Denmark? There is practically not a single information of Jehovah's Witnesses there are in line with reality. If you choose to use religious or other existing organizations as a basis for a plot, you owe your readers AND those organizations that you adhere to the facts. If the plot does not fit into an existing communitie, so invent a fictitious one. It seems to me that 'Redemption', serves a personal purpose to make the mentioned communities look naive, superstitious and almost criminal to the readers. It seems like it is your personal opinion and prejudice that made you write this book. Off cause, You are allowed to have your personal opinions, but I think you have an obligation to describe the people and organizations that you include in your stories, in accordance with the truth. There is of course also the possibility that you HAVE made a thorough research in this area, but you have been misinformed. This only emphasizes the importance of double checking your sources.

If I was you, I would get really annoyed having let 'Redemption' go to press. Every time I'd look at the book on my shelf at home, in bookstores or reviewed in the media, I would know that this book represented a well-written story that had been destroyed by a lousy research.

For me, as a reader, one very significant question remains: Can I trust the information in your books, or is everything a fictional set-up with no basis in reality? As for now, your credibility has suffered a serious blow ...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Readre's review - Christian Jungersen (The Exception)

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I just read one of the most miserable books in a long time. 'The Exception' was downloaded by chance as an audiobook from DR audiobook file. I knew neither the author's name or the book's content. It was free, so off cause I would give it a try...

I must admit that it was reckless of me, but sometimes I am overwhelmed by an irresistible urge to give a new author a chance to get a place in my literary universe. Let me say it right away: Christian Jungersen will not be one of those new stars.

As I said, I knew neither the author's name or gender, but after coming well into the book, I was convinced that I was the victim of a female writer's pathetic attempt to write a femi-crime. I supported this assumption on the writing style and the plot. The book describes mainly the conflicts and power struggles between four women in an office. You follow their more or less failed relationships, their complexes and the intense hatred that can only exist between rival women. The book describes women's individual ambitions about their work and their confused emotions of witch they let each other suffer, together with everyone who accidentally happen to cross their path. Far below these main features lurks a real threat. This part of the plot could have made an intense and exciting story. Unfortunately, it seems that Christian Jungersen are not interested in that part of the story, since it just takes up a few pages in the book.

There is no doubt that Christian Jungersen has a message. He wants to draw a parallel from organized genocide to the changing atmosphere that takes place between four relatively ordinary women. From a psychological aspect, the book can have both relevance and interest. I realize that I am going against the grain with this criticism, but the book was never even close to catching me. The writing style is unattractive and sometimes directly inconsistent. The plot is thin and leaves more questions than answers. Endings with no conclusion are extremely interesting if the story is well told. Unfortunately is not going to happen in 'The Exception'. If this is the kind of authors Danish publishing rates on, I think that we are going to wait for a long time for a Danish Stieg Larsson.