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review 2017-09-24 00:00
Ultimatum - Anders de la Motte

As a new year begins, the Stockholm police force is reeling after a shootout between cops & several rival gangs in Skarpö, a forested area east of the city. It ended with 9 dead including 2 of their own. Among the injured was DI David Sarac, a legend within the Intelligence Unit. In the days that followed, the incident was quickly hushed up & David disappeared.


In a high security hospital far from the city, David’s only goal is accumulating a big enough stash of sleeping pills to put a permanent end to his nightmares. His broken body may be healing but the PTSD has done a number on his head. Then someone slips him a letter. It’s short & to the point: my secret for yours.


David relives Skarpö every night. He feels responsible for what happened but he also knows that one of his colleagues stitched him up. The letter writer claims to know who & will reveal the name if David answers one question. It’s a chance for revenge he can’t pass up & with pills in hand, he escapes from the hospital.


A couple of months later, DI Julia Gabrielsson is attending one of the most gruesome autopsies of her career. The body was dismembered & under water for weeks before being found. Identifying the victim is just one of her problems. The other is babysitting her new partner Omar Amante, a civilian investigator foisted on her by her waste-of-a-uniform boss. He’s a man of few words & no one seems to know how he ended up assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit. Lab tests on the body provide just 1 result but it’s a whopper. DNA matches a sample taken from Skarpö.


That’s it for the story outline, folks. The thought of trying to summarize any more is, quite frankly, exhausting. This is one of the most complex, labyrinthine plots I’ve ever read & I say that with a big smile. It could easily have ended up leaving readers in head-scratching confusion. Instead it’s a clever, multi-layered story that keeps you gripped & guessing right up to the final page.


The roots of the story began in “MemoRandom” which was more of a police procedural. This devotes equal time to Julia’s investigation & political corruption in the Swedish government. There is a large cast of returning characters, many of whom remain unburdened by trivial things like ethics. With few exceptions, these are people who take self-preservation to new heights. Lies, secret agendas, old debts & shifting alliances are gradually revealed as the story lines intersect. Think you’ve got it figured out? Ha! Just wait ’til you turn the next page.


The crew of despicables are offset by several characters you’ll cheer & fear for. Julia is a smart, perceptive woman who slowly realizes she has no idea who to trust. Amante is a man tortured by what he saw on Lampedusa while working for the EU & remains somewhat of an enigma. Atif is a part time gangster with dangerous ties who just wants to save a little girl he loves more than life. And David remains the damaged hero, a man who realized too late the ramifications of his actions. None of them are lily-white & some have done terrible things. But all have a moral line in the sand that is sadly lacking in people they’re forced to deal with.


It’s an intelligent, fast paced read that is hard to put down & you may be surprised by the time you get all the answers. No doubt this can be enjoyed as a stand alone but I highly recommend reading “MemoRandom” first to fully grasp all the intricate connections between the characters. There are a couple in particular I’ve become quite fond of & here’s hoping they pop up again in another book.



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review 2016-03-05 17:27
MemoRandom: A Thriller - Anders de la Motte

A posh lawyer with criminal ties who becomes Minister of Justice.

An Iraqi cop who comes to Sweden to bury his half brother.

A scam artist desperate to get her life back.

And a detective with profound memory loss after surviving a car crash.


These are a few of the characters that populate this spooky, intricate police procedural. Although they initially appear in separate plot lines, they are gradually brought together by a common goal. Each is searching for a man known as Janus.


David Sarac is a legend in the Intelligence Unit of the Stockholm police department. He's a handler, recruiting informants to get the jump on local criminal gangs. The star of his stable of snitches is Janus. His high level intel has resulted in numerous arrests while propelling David to rockstar status in the department. He's a golden goose & no one else knows who he is or even what he looks like.

Unfortunately, after waking in hospital, David has no memory of him or anyone else for that matter. This is a problem. David's colleagues want Janus for their own reasons & rival gangs have joined forces to identify the rat who is ruining business.


Everyone is watching as David starts to search, not just for Janus but for himself. Eventually fragmented memories of people & places begin to surface & he's not sure he likes what he sees. Worse, he feels like he's not getting the whole truth from friends & colleagues. And then there's the hooded figure who lurks in the shadows. Why does no one else see him? Is he even real?


This is a twisty & complex story that will mess with your head. Everyone has an agenda & their own version of the truth. We travel with David as it all unfolds but we're not even sure if we can trust his memories & neither is he. The result is the reader becomes just as paranoid as the "hero", trusting no one & dreading what might pop up on the next page.

The author has created a likeable MC who is easy to empathize with & does an effective job of making us feel his fear & growing isolation. You genuinely get a sense of what it might be like to suspect everyone you "know" & it's an awful way to live. But it also explores the theme of identity. Who are you if you remember nothing about yourself.....your favourite movie, how you got that scar, who you love.


The tension begins as a whisper, then slowly builds as plot lines converge & it all comes to a head. The fact some of these characters will not be finding their HEA is hardly a surprise but the author reserves the biggest "Holy Crap" moment for the final pages.

If you saw & enjoyed the movie "Memento", give this a try. It's quite a ride.





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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-09-11 19:03
Bubble - bubel, czyli pusta bańka
bubble - Anders de la Motte

Co tu się stało? Po emocjonującym początku, jakim był pierwszy tom trylogii, cała seria znalazła się na równi pochyłej i prawie gruchnęła o ziemię.  


Nowe technologie - niby wciąż aktualne, ale zmieniają się w mgnieniu oka, nabierają rozpędu i nowych barw. A przy tym, paradoksalnie, stają się take osłuchane. 


Wciąż głośno jest o sprawie zdjęć wykradzionych z chmury, temat prywatności w sieci rozwijany jest na wszelkie możliwe sposoby. Czy właściwie można się przed tych ochronić? A jeżeli nie, to do czego i komu te dane mogą posłużyć? 


Jednym z wątków autora jest właśnie ta kwestia. Jednak problem ten jest na świeczniku już tak długo, że ani mnie to nie zaskoczyło, ani nie rzuciło nowego światła, ani nawet ciekawa zagadka z tego nie wyszła. Wirtualna rzeczywistość dogania, a czasem nawet przegania tę prawdziwą, więc gdy już bierzemy się za opisywanie historii z nią w tle należy się spodziewać jakiegoś drugiego dna, przemyślanej intrygi, zaskakujących zwrotów. W Bubble dostałam za to odgrzewanego kotleta, temat wydaje się nie tyle nie aktualny, co za mało ciekawie i skutecznie przedstawiony, a przy tym niepotrzebnie przekombinowany. 


Ciekawsze wydały mi się wątki z bohaterką Normen i jej dociekań na temat historii Szwecji i badań nuklearnych. Być może trzeba było pójść tym tropem?


Sam główny bohater, który w pierwszym tomie, Geim, wciągnął mnie w swoją grę tutaj zaczął irytować. Krótkie zdania, wulgaryzmy, emocjonalność mają za zadanie budowania napięcia i wciągnięcia w karty książki, tutaj natomiast działało to na odwrót tworząc obraz  zbyt infantylny i produkując raczej negatywne zdziwienie czytelnika, czyli mnie. 


O ile Geim i Buzz rozbudziły moją ciekawość, to Bubble skutecznie ją zamroziło. Po przeczytaniu została tylko pusta bańka niespełnionych oczekiwań. 

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review 2014-08-02 03:00
Bubble (The Game Trilogy, #3) by Anders de la Motte
Bubble (The Game Trilogy, #3) - Anders de la Motte

27/7 - Due to some hasty hold placing at the library I somehow ended up with this book (#3) borrowed before the previous book (#2). Then I did it again with Richelle Mead's Blood Promise and Shadow Kiss, somehow mistaking Blood Promise for the third book in the series, when it's actually the fourth. So I had to quickly get a hold of the next books in both series and read them, so I could get to this and Blood Promise before they were due at the library (they're obviously popular as they immediately had further holds on them). Didn't quite get all that? Don't worry, it's a bit strange and complicated and comes from placing a hold through the library's computer without access to GR to check the true series order (no, I don't have an iPad or phone with internet access), instead of doing it at home with GR open in another tab, as I usually do.

Oh well, it looks like it's going to work out fine in the end. I have until the 4/8 before this and Blood Promise are due back and while this is a decent sized book, I managed to read Buzz (which is only slightly shorter than Bubble) in just two days earlier this month, so I think I can get all three books finished before I have to start paying fines for them. Plus, I'm really pumped for the big ending, how everything's going to be wrapped up.

Will HP finally manage to kick his fame addiction (or any of the others)? What's going to happen to Rebecca when she starts working for the company that runs The Game? Will they beat The Game? Or will the ending be like those horror movies where you think the final characters have managed to kill the unkillable bad guy, only to have him prove he truly is unkillable (think Jason Voorhies) by popping back up again to chop off one more head before disappearing back into the forest. I think I sped through my last book Whisky Charlie Foxtrot so fast because I knew that this was next on my internal list and I could not wait to get started.

Although, now that I could be seconds away from doing just that (depending on how fast I type) I'm nervous it won't be as good as the first two, that it'll be a let down after all the tension of The Game and Buzz. I guess there are only two ways to find out, read the GR reviews (obviously not going to do that because not only will I ruin any plot twists, but I also still won't have a definitive answer because what one person one stars another five stars) or read the book. I'm going to read the book and try to forget the fact that I happened to catch a glimpse of the average rating for the book. 3.65 is a good book, just good, not great or fantastic or amazing, but I'm not going to think about that I'm just going to trust that my opinion is usually the opposite (or at least different) of a lot of others and read with an open mind. To be continued...


28/7 - As I exhibited with my pre-review ramble last night, I was a little bit excited and nervous about starting the possibly climatic, or possibly disappointing, final book in this fast-paced series. Now I don't know if it was a symptom of that mix of excitement and nerves, but I didn't really notice or become annoyed by the quick POV changes that I felt a little plagued by in Buzz and Game. I wonder whether, now that I've gotten over those first date jitters, the lightning fast changes will become more apparent and irritating. I'll be back tomorrow to talk about it.

Oh, before I go I just want to mention that I just realised that with 400 pages to go in Bubble, approx. 450 in Shadow Kiss and a little over 500 in Blood Promise that I've got about 1300 pges to read in six days and a few hours. With a little rounding off that works out to around 200 pages a day, which doesn't sound too hard, until you know that you're reading to a timetable and know that if you only manage 100 pages on one day that means you'll have to make it up somewhere in the remaining days, either with pages added to every day or just a chunk to one day. All that mathematising could lead to stressful, rushed reading. I think, if it comes down to enjoying my reading or paying a small fine (and at only 50c a book per day it would be small), I'll pay the fine and finish the book happily rather than hurriedly skimming it in the car outside the library (my 'I have to return this book today' last chance reading spot).

Later - How bloody stupid can HP be? Imagining that, after being bitten by a rattlesnake and passing out (supposedly due to the effects of the venom, not sure how fast rattlesnake venom would take to kill you, but that's another discussion) he would be able to successfully inject himself with multiple syringes of antivenin, then collect all his breaking and entering tools and a loaded gun and get back to his apartment before once again passing out. It certainly seems crystal clear to me that the bad guys came back, fixed him up and deposited him back on his own bed, all for some nefarious ulterior motive. Possibly so he can be setup as their patsy in whatever terroristic act they're planning. I really shake my head at HP's stupidity, stunningly bad decision-making and blindness to what's really going on around him. I was very pleased when I read that he hadn't smoked marijuana since it got him in so much trouble in Dubai, over six months ago, because really, look at the trouble he gets himself into when he's not high. To be continued...

30/7 - I feel like HP, with no idea of who to trust, whose story, or how much of it, to believe, constantly jumping from theory to theory about what's really going on and who's behind it all.

Was Uncle Tage telling Rebecca the truth and he's being set up by de la Motte to appear sinister? Or has he cleverly revealed just enough of the truth that his story will sound plausible to Rebecca, encouraging her to help him 'help' HP. Also Nora and Jeff... they don't seem all that innocent and straight forward. Some of their answers, like how they found HP so easily, give me suspicions that they're actually working for the Game and have been tracking him for days, or even weeks. How do we know that they're not the next door neighbours and aren't guiding HP towards their intended target for assassination/detonation, all ready for him to be the fall guy? Everything about them is just too convenient for my suspicious mind. To be continued...

31/7 - Well, it looks like I've jinxed myself with all that talk of needing to read 200 pages a day for six days. I am down to two days and a few hours (this is being written at approx. the same time as my update on the 28th) and I haven't even finished the first book - AAARRRRGGGGHHHH READING STRESS!!!!!!!!!!!

In regards to the book itself - exciting, tense, complicated, keeping me guessing at all times. Also the quick-fire POV changes seem to have mysteriously disappeared (or I'm so involved in the story that I haven't noticed them, not sure which), for which I'm grateful. Manga has returned and I'm not sure I believe what he's saying anymore than I believe Uncle Tage's spiel. I'm getting paranoid over fictional character's true motives and I can't stop wondering about who the real Game master is - not knowing is making me a bit insane, also as I read back what I've just wrote I realise that I'm repeating myself, sorry about that. To be continued...


2/7 - The last 10 pages I spent the whole time going "No! This can't be the way it all ends." I was so disappointed thinking that it was going to end the way those annoying horror movies do, with the bad guy rising back up and escaping only to live another day in the next movie, or book, only we know that this is the last in the series and then we would have ended up with a very unsatisfactory ending. Fortunately, that wasn't exactly how things went - the 'bad' guy did rise up to fight another day, but he also died. Eventually, it all made sense, but it's still very complicated, especially HP and Rebecca's father and Sammer's involvement during the 60s. I now have over 900 pages to read in 1.5 days. AAARRGGHH MORE READING STRESS!!

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review 2014-07-24 05:25
Buzz (The Game Trilogy, #2) by Anders de la Motte
Buzz - Neil Smith,Anders de la Motte

22/7 - Great plot! Great suspense! I just wish the author hadn't decided to make his POV changes even worse than they were in Game. The changes are lightning fast, leaving the reader with a paragraph or two only, before the story switches from one sibling to the other, and then back again. The switches are very annoying but they definitely achieve their desired outcome (or what I believe was the author's desired outcome) - keeping the suspense level raised and forcing me to read pages, if not chapters more than I had intended when I first picked up the book.

As with Game I'm finding myself drawn to, and more sympathetic towards, Rebecca's POV. HP is continuing to show himself to be a drug-addicted idiot who never learns. You'd think that being used as a patsy for a contract killer's murder would teach him that DRUGS ARE BAD and are only going to get him into more trouble, but no, as soon as he is released from the Saudi prison (where a pair of lawless, ruleless police-types have been waterboarding him for hours, even days) he's looking for his next hit from the bong. He's also still addicted to the Game and the feelings of fame and power he gets from the supposed accolades of playing the Game. Currently can't see a whole lot of redeeming features in HP, I thought I did at the end of the last book, when he fought back and managed to break free of the Game. Unfortunately, it seems he has a seriously addictive-type personality, and so anything that a person could possibly get addicted to he will be addicted to. To be continued...


23/7 - I'm really speeding through this. Due to those annoyingly frequent POV changes the suspense never really dies down, if one sibling's side of the story relents on the tension a little the other keeps dragging you along - for the reader it never really lets go. Late last night I glanced at the clock at one point, thinking "It's getting late, I'll just finish this chapter and then turn out the light.", then I get to the end of the 'chapter' and glance at the clock again (just to see if I can hurry through one more tense chapter), only to find that 45 minutes and the rest of that original chapter plus three extras have gone by without me even realising it (I still managed to squeeze another chapter in before going to sleep).

The description of the business ArgosEye is in is frighteningly believable and disturbing considering the epidemic of trolls we have been experiencing over the last months and years. The thought that there might be a whole company of them working to bury true reviews from real consumers upsets my sense of fair play. In Buzz not only are they working on actual review sites like this one, but also all the social media sites that most of us use. With the type of troll ArgosEye employs we would never know if we were dealing with one, they don't behave in a suspicious manner the way your normal run of the mill GR troll does. They have full online lives, join all the right sites months before making their move on behalf of which ever client hired them to make sure their name is shown in a positive light. They don't all start flame or praise wars, mostly they're a lot less conspicuous, simply writing multiple reviews in favour of their client's products, but not all on the same day the way most of GR's less intelligent trolls do. I wonder if one day that kind of fake review might become illegal and prosecutable in a court of law... To be continued...


24/7 - Yep, finished that last night with ease, even got a decent start on the next book in the pile. This is definitely a middle-of-the-series book, you couldn't read it without having read the first book, and only the most determined of people could read this without going on to the final book - not so much a cliffhanger, more simply a case of nothing being tied up or concluded in any way. In fact Game was less conclusionless, possibly in case it was a one hit wonder, than Buzz.

Buzz didn't focus so much on the game. It was mentioned in reference and as background, but as far as HP knew he wasn't playing the game. Despite the fact that he wasn't receiving missions, or anything else through the phone, both HP and Rebecca still appeared to be dancing to the puppet master's tune, at least they were as far as the italicised conversations that preceded a few of the chapters seemed to show.

The surprise reveal of who was trolling Rebecca was indeed a surprise to me. I had my mind set on one particular character who I was sure Rebecca was discounting as not being guilty way too quickly. I thought this person had a far stronger motive for wanting revenge towards Rebecca than she believed and was already planning how I would write about it without revealing the culprit. So when my suspicions were proven wrong I was quite surprised, in fact my suspected unsub ended up helping Rebecca identify the real bad guy. Oh well, I rarely guess the bad guy in mysteries, so the fact that I was totally off isn't too surprising.

I would highly recommend this, and probably the whole series (although can't guarantee the quality of the third book, not having read it), to anyone who's a fan of other Swedish/Danish crime thrillers.

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