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review 2017-11-18 17:53
"Snowblind - Dark Iceland #1" by Ragnar Jonasson
Snowblind (Dark Iceland) - Quentin Bates,Ragnar Jónasson

I must be missing something here. "Snowblind" attracts lots of four and five-star reviews and is the first book in the best-selling "Dark Iceland" quintet, yet I found it fundamentally unsatisfying.

I'm told the language is poetic. I can see that it's trying to be. I quite liked the way in which Jonasson expresses the soft oppression of never-ending snow in phrases like

    "The freezing darkness swallowed him up."

and

    "He had tried to listen to classical music to drown out the deafening silence of the incessant snowfall, but it was as if the music magnified the gloom."

It works but it's not exceptional.

I'm familiar with snow and deep cold and the claustrophobia that living beneath a mountain can bring. They're well captured here but not well enough to sustain the book.

The plot stretches my willingness to suspend disbelief and the way in which our young policeman unravelled the secrets seemed to me too hard to swallow. The man isn't just intuitive, he's psychic.

I think the heart of my dissatisfaction with this book is the policeman Ari Thor. I could not find a reason to care for him. He seems an empty man. He starts many things but finishes none. He ties himself in knots about integrity and gets indignant about love and yet is too weak to live to either standard. I know he's young but if he's that callow, where's the interest?

If you fancy a Miss Marple in the snow, set around an Icelandic village drama society rather than an English one and with modern accents, local colour and the occasional stab at the lyrical, then this is the book for you.

I'm sure it would make great television. All the moody camera work and mournful atonal music could fill the gaps where the rest of the novel should be.

I had a similar reaction to Ann Cleaves' "Raven Black" and that made great television and has a huge fan base so perhaps I'm just not equipped to savour this kind of book.

I don't think that's going to change so I'll pass on the rest of the "Dark Iceland" quintet.

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review 2017-11-09 15:10
Invisible Victims: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Canada (Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked The Nation) (Volume 15) - Katherine McCarthy

First the bad - there are several typos, the footnotes are, big and large, simply a website link. While this makes sense for an ebook, I still want correct citation format, sorry. Lastly, you could say that a few of the sections about serial killers are de facto ads for other books in the series. They are and they are not in my view. McCarthy does a good job of showing how those cases are related to the scope of the story, so considering the series, I'm neutral on these inclusions. Finally, and this was most annoying, it was unclear at points whether a work mentioned was an essay or a book. I spent several minutes searching for a book title when it was really an essay I should have been looking for. That was rather annoying.

HOWEVER

Those faults aside, this a pretty good overview and not at all senesation as the cover might lead some to think. McCarthy cites when she needs to and deals with the overarching issues quite well. The book is an overview, so the sections dealing with the history that lead to the society problems that allow for the murder of Indigenous women are perhaps too short, but McCarthy points you in the direction to learn more (and some of those facts, wow). McCarthy deals sympathically with the victims and points out how race and the question of "good" or "bad" girls plays into the how the media views the victim. Unlike some other work on the death of Indigenous women, McCarthy moves beyond the Highway of Tears and Residental schools and brings in classes that were not first thought of, making the book an overview. 

If the editing errors had been fixed, this would have been four stars.

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text 2017-11-09 07:37
One fish, two fish, red fish, DEAD fish

All is not well in fishy haven.  It is a sad day and the castle flags have been lowered.  

 

I noticed someone was missing and put out an amber alert tank wide.  Fish 1 of 6 in my Emerald Barb hoard was MIA.  I knew he was having some swim bladder problems but put up the crime scene tape just in case there was anything fishy going on.  The forensic team found no fin prints or blood and the search snails have turned up nothing.  Without a body we couldn't be sure he was alive or dead or if a crime had even been committed.  Some people and fish think he simply jumped tank, which is suicide but his mother swore he would never do that to her. The castle was thoroughly searched even though Raymond the pleco and his castle mate Waldo the upside-down catfish were very upset about it.  We had to get a warrant.  Unfortunately, we found no trace of 1 of 6 and time was running out if he was still alive and being held more captive than he was before.  We did find a napkin covered in BBQ sauce buried behind the castle but couldn't prove it belonged to Raymond.  The lab is testing it for DNA now to see if any trace of 1 of 6 could be found on the napkin. 

 

I was sure Raymond was guilty of cannibalism but he said 1 of 6 was a friend and swore he would never eat a friend.  Guppies yes, but not friends.  Then, one of my team noticed a man hole cover out of place.  Actually, it was the cover to the filter intake.  We checked the filter but we found nothing but gunk inside.  In the process of cleaning that up we noticed the cover was heavier than it should be and something heavy rolled inside.  His wife covered her face with her fins. We looked in and found..... dun dun DUN!  A HEAD. 1 of 6 is definitely dead and at least 50% eaten.  Further investigation proved that 1 of 6 did die of natural causes.  We can´t prove, without a doubt, which fish ate part of the body or if there was a gang involved.  We will have to close this case but I will keep my eye on the rest of those fish, especially Raymond.  I also believe Waldo may have been involved but no one could find him to question him.  

 

RIP 1 of 6, you will be missed.

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review 2017-10-30 14:10
I Am Missing: David Raker, Book 8 - Joe Coen,Tim Weaver,Louise Brealey,Penguin Books

David Raker, a Private Investigator, is intrigued when a personable young man approaches him for help - he is the "Lost Man" who,was found on a beach with a head injury and now has no idea of who or what he is. Enter our hero who gets himself involved in quite a few "how's he going to get out of that" situations with the villains always on the hunt for him. I did enjoy this book but felt it could have been a bit shorter. There was plenty going on to keep the reader gripped and interested as the mystery is solved. This is my first experience with David Raker and liked him enough to read his other exploits with different adversaries.

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review 2017-10-09 11:32
Detective novel with a difference – recommended to all
I Am Missing: David Raker, Book 8 - Joe Coen,Tim Weaver,Louise Brealey,Penguin Books

 

 

Part of a series about private investigator, David Raker, this novel deals with him attempting to find out as much as he can about Richard, an amnesiac, who is trying to find out who he is. Raker's investigations take him to an island in the South Atlantic where the mystery unfolds. The plot involves murder, corruption, theft and should interest anyone who enjoys a well-conceived idea.

It's a page-turner, not overlong, original and quite clever.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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