Friday, December 21, 2012

Reader's review - Linda Castillo (Sworn to silence)

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I have just had a great reading experience. Actually, I did not want to buy this book - mostly because it was a female author. It's no secret that I have great difficulty with female crime writers. It often ends up in some nonsense with exaggerated emphasis on feelings and relationships between people. But ... there are certainly exceptions!

I have previously reviewed Annika von Holdt's book "Sleep like the dead" (sorry, no English version), which is one of the best books I've read in the last few years. Now I bite the dust and recognize that I have encountered yet another crushing talented female writer. Linda Castillo has committed a powerful thriller set in a small community in Ohio, USA.

Very cunning, she describes the looming conflict and tension between Painter Mill's U.S. residents and the small enclave of Amish people living in the city's hinterland. The city's female station manager at the local police station, Kate Burkholder, are suddenly faced with a series of brutal murders of young women, leaving a bloody trail back to her own past as an Amish. Before long, she is torn between loyalty to the people whom long ago excluded her from their society, loyalty to herself and the dark secret she carries with her and the loyalty to the small urban communities she has pledged to protect.

Linda Castillo writes in a very intense way. She is able to describe the cruelty and violence, the victims experience, without going into too much detail that it might prevent the reader from the opportunity to use his own imagination and empathy - and that is what makes the novel work so well. I surrender unconditionally! I must admit: Women are really able to write. And they can do it in a gripping way and with real authority. Unfortunately,
they just don't do it too often. Linda Castillo does it! With style, and to the delight of the reader.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reader's review - Dean Koontz (Frankenstein volume 1 - 3)

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It is, with very few exceptions, always a pleasure to read Dean Koontz. With this trilogy, the author tries to continue the story about Frankenstein, where Mary Shelley left off. If you expect Koontz to continue the story in Mary Shelley's style, you will be inevitably disappointed. There is nothing left from the classic, dark story of Frankenstein's monster. Although Dean Koontz are referring to the old story in several places, new and probably younger readers can easily get into the story without knowing the old novel in detail.

What experiences awaits the tense reader?

Koontz uses a huge cast of characters, and as usual he throws the reader headlong into the story. Therefore, the story seem pretty messy until you get the hang of who is who. For my part, I had to read quite a bit of the first volume before I understood what was happening. However, if you have the patience to continue, you are rewarded with a really funny story.

I do not know if Koontz had the intention to write a serious thriller or a parody of the genre. My guess is, that he tried to mix the thrill and humor into his story and if that was his intention, he succeeded. It is true that the books has some dark and exciting moments, but even in these passages the
humor is dominant .

So, how should we respond to the books?

If you expect a classic thriller in the style of 'Twilight Eyes', you will be disappointed. But on the other hand,
if you are looking for black humor and clever lines, some really enjoyable hours awaits you.

Dean Koontz has a true sense of humor, and it shows very clearly in these three volumes, where he allows himself to express it without restraint. Frankenstein Volume 1 to 3 is definitely worth reading. A word of caution: Do not read the books before going to sleep. You might have ruined a good night's sleep, because the books are extremely hard to put down once you have started to read.