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review 2020-02-07 23:23
In The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French
In the Woods - Tana French

Despite a few things I was quite absorbed in this Irish police procedural. The main detective Rob Ryan is what one might call a flawed character, so flawed that he sometimes makes me roll my eyes in frustration. I wished some of the developments in the plot didn't have to happen.


I had hoped Rob and Cassie would stay friends because their relationship is adorable enough that way, and I've read enough fiction where this kind of turnaround from friends to lovers don't end well (side-eyeing another recent detective series here). But there were hints that the plot was heading that way and I was sort of dreading the inevitable, which did end up happening and made things a bit melodramatic for me near the end.

(spoiler show)


And yet I was still emotionally invested in the story and these characters and was rooting for them. The writing is very good, although I could guess parts of one of the mysteries about midway through.

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review 2019-12-26 16:17
Broken Harbor
Broken Harbor - Tana French

Updated: December 2019: Nothing more to add except this was a great read! I just re-read since I finished up French's "The Witch Elm" and that book had me missing the Dublin Murder Squad. This book really does knock you in the teeth with a great ending I did not see coming.


What a great installment in the Dublin Murder Squad. I didn't like Scorcher in the last book, but loved him here. It makes you sad that he was thinking of a long time partner and wanting that connection with someone and realizing he wasn't going to get it. I honestly don't have any criticism of this book. I think a lot of people may not like Scorcher, but honestly this book helps you understand him a lot. I think he may be my second favorite character after Rob.


"Broken Harbor" is about the faces you present to the outside world and what's going on beneath. Scorcher has a connection to Broken Harbor, his family used to spend summer holidays there. Something tragic happened to Scorcher when he was a teenager that still ripples in his life today. Being called out to a murder investigation there leads a potential that it will negatively affect his younger sister Dina. Trying to juggle a new detective (Curran) and his family obligations, you can see why Scorcher keeps such a tight control of himself.


A family of four is found assaulted with one member of the family barely alive. Scorcher and his partner Curran go in deep on the picture perfect family to see what was going on below the surface.


There's reference to the last case with Mackey and now I feel like he was even more of a jerk when you see how that case impacted Scorcher.


His relationship with his sister Dina was hard to read about. He and his sister Geri are eventually going to have to make some hard decisions there. The book ends with Scorcher just accepting what this case has done to him and what he's going to have to do next.


What gets me is that Scorcher is lonely. He's protective of both of his sisters and takes a certain pride that Geri's life looks perfect. With the latest murder case he has a chance to show someone the ropes, but also starts to see why so many people in partnerships in the murder squad do very well. The best parts for me were reading how in synch he and Curran we're becoming and how both of them were learning from each other. However the story begins with knowing something with this case goes wrong, it just takes us a while to get there.


The writing was great. I felt for mostly every character. The flow was good too and you get to read about the hard work of a murder investigation and how it impacts you when children are involved.


The setting of Ireland during the recession reads as an almost broken country. Most people are broke and or about to lose their homes. Broken Harbor reads as perfect from afar until you get up close and see the empty homes. Even homes with people living there know they are on borrowed time and the shoddiness of the construction is impacting things as well. It's about two years since the events of "Faithful Place". We hear references to Mackey, but don't see him in this book.


The ending leaves Scorcher adrift. I hope there's some references to him in the next book.

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text 2019-08-11 22:40
Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty -- Question for 08/09 (Day 9): Book Suggestions for the New Squares? Part 2
Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Seven Gothic Tales (Penguin Modern Classics) - Isak Dinesen
In the Woods - Tana French
Crooked House - Agatha Christie
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
The Bride Wore Black - William Irish,Cornell Woolrich
Their Lost Daughters - Joy Ellis,Richard Armitage
A Great Deliverance - Elizabeth George
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons - Stephen King


Somehow, British universities and public schools seem to provide a particularly fertile ground for this sort of story:


* Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (Oxford University)
* Agatha Christie: Cat Among the Pigeons (private girls' school)
* Nicholas Blake: A Question of Proof (public school)
* Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (Oxford University)
* James Hilton: Murder at School (public school)
* Michael Innes: Death at the President's Lodging (fictional college)
* P.D. James: Death in Holy Orders (priests' seminary)
* P.D. James: Shroud for a Nightingale (nursing school)
* Elizabeth George: Well-Schooled in Murder (public school)
* Elizabeth George: For the Sake of Elena (Cambridge University)
* Colin Dexter: Inspector Morse series (Oxford University)
* Susanna Gregory: Matthew Bartholomew series (Cambridge University, 14h century)
* Ian Morson: William Falconer series (Oxford University, 13th century)
* Shirley Mckay: Hue and Cry (St. Andrews University, 16th century)




My quartet of must-read dystopian novels has so far consisted of:


* George Orwell: 1984
* Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
* Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
* Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale


Obviously, with the impending release of Atwood's The Testaments, there might now be a fifth book to add to that group -- for the moment it's on my TBR.




Based on the definition of this square, all U.S. authors are "international for UK readers and vice versa, and both of them are "international" for me.  We all have plenty of favorite women writers from both of these countries -- so here are a few from elsewhere (based on MR's definition of this square as an outrcrop of "Terrifying Women"; i.e., writers whose books fit any of the Halloween Bingo categories):


* Zen Cho (Malaysia, UK)

* Donna Leon (Italy, U.S.)

* Dolores Redondo (Spain)

* Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Mexico, Canada)

* Isabel Allende (Chile; now also U.S.)

* Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)

* George Sand (France): novel La mare au diable (The Devil's Pool)

* Emmuska Orczy (Hungary, France, UK)

* Nina Blazon (Germany, Slovenia)

* Juli Zeh (Germany): novel Schilf (Dark Matter)

* Helene Tungsten (Sweden)

* Karin Fossum (Norway)
* Isak Dinesen (aka Karen / Tania Blixen) (Denmark, Kenya)

* Sofi Oksanen (Estonia): novel The Purge (Fegefeuer)

* Tana French (Ireland; going by nationality also U.S.)




Hoo boy.  Sooo many great books -- there is a seriously immense amount of f*cked up people walking around in in literatureland.  (Including authors messing with their readers' minds.)


* Agatha Christie: By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Endless Night, And Then There Were None, Crooked House, Murder Is Easy, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
* John Dickson Carr: The Hollow Man
* Edgar Allan Poe: Pretty much anything he ever wrote -- to begin with The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Oval Portrait, and Annabelle Lee
* Charles Dickens: The Signalman
* Robert Louis Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
* Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
* Henry James: The Turn of the Screw
* E.T.A. Hoffmann: Der Sandmann (The Sandman)
* Shirley Jackson: The Lottery and We Have Always Lived in the Castle
* Cornell Woolrich: The Bride Wore Black
* Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep
* Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon
* Michael Connelly: The Concrete Blonde, The Poet, Blood Work, A Darkness More Than Night, The Narrows
* George Pelecanos: Shame the Devil
* Dennis Lehane: Mystic River
* Ann Leckie: The Raven Tower
* Elizabeth George: A Suitable Vengeance and A Great Deliverance
* Joy Ellis: Jackman and Evans series
* Peter May: The Blackhouse and Coffin Road
* Ian Rankin: Knots and Crosses, Tooth and Nail, Black and Blue, Dead Souls
* Val McDermid: Carol Jordan and Tony Hill series, A Place of Execution
* Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling): The Silkworm, Career of Evil
* P.D. James: Devices and Desires
* Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye
* Minette Walters: The Ice House
* Margery Allingham: Death of a Ghost and The Case of the Late Pig
* Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
* Anthony Horowitz: The House of Silk
* Iain Pears: An Instance of the Fingerpost, Stone's Fall, The Portrait
* C.J. Sansom: Revelation
* Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones, The Hermit of Eyton Forest, The Devil's Novice

* Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose

* Tana French: In the Woods
* Karin Fossum: He Who Fears the Wolf
* Joe Nesbø: The Snowman



* John Berendt: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
* Truman Capote: In Cold Blood
* Norman Mailer: The Executioner's Song
* Joseph D. Pistone: Donnie Brasco
* David Simon: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets
* Miles Corwin: The Killing Season : A Summer Inside an LAPD Homicide Division
* Barry Scheck, Jim Dwyer, Peter Neufeld: Actual Innocence
* Sr. Helen Prejean: Dead Man Walking
* Steve Bogira: Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse
* Jonathan Harr: A Civil Action

* Joseph Wambaugh: The Onion Field

* Edward Humes: Mississippi Mud
* Joe McGinniss: Blind Faith
* Lowell Cauffiel: Eye of the Beholder
* Nicholas Pileggi: Casino
* Michael Connelly: Crime Beat: Stories of Cops and Killers, and Murder in Vegas
* Harold Schecter: True Crime: An American Anthology
* Christiane F.: Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo (Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets)
* Eric Jager: Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris
* Kate Summerscale: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
* P.D. James: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders, 1811
* Victoria Blake: Mrs. Maybrick
* Angus McLaren: A Prescription for Murder: The Victorian Serial Killings of Dr. Thomas Neill Cream
* Judith Flanders: The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime
* William Roughead: Classic Crimes
* Members of the Detection Club: Anatomy of Murder, and More Anatomy of Murder
* Kathryn Harkup: A Is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie

* David Suchet: Poirot and Me

* William S. Baring-Gould: Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective

* Vincent Starrett: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

* Martin Fido: The World of Sherlock Holmes

* Michael Cox: The Baker Street File: A Guide to the Appearance and Habits of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

* David Stuart Davies: Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett As Sherlock Holmes

* David L. Hammer: The Travelers' Companion to the London of Sherlock Holmes

* Scene of the Crime: A Guide to the Landscapes of British Detective Fiction
* Richard Lindberg: Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago
* Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward: Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
* Eddie Muller: Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir
* Jim Garrison: On the Trail of the Assassins
* Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
* Louise Arbour: War Crimes and the Culture of Peace
* Richard J. Goldstone: For Humanity: Reflections of a War Crimes Investigator
* Clea Koff: The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo
* Michael P. Scharf, Paul R. Williams: Peace with Justice?: War Crimes and Accountability in the Former Yugoslavia
* Gary Jonathan Bass: Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals
* Judith Armatta: Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milošević




Stephen King's own works:

* Carrie
* Misery
* Pet Semetary

* The Shining
* The Long Walk

* Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

* On Writing


From King's recommendations in On Writing, as listed HERE, HERE and HERE:

* Michael Connelly: The Poet and The Narrows
* Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness
* Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
* Elizabeth George: Deception on His Mind
* Peter Høeg: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
* Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
* Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
* Dennis Lehane: The Given Day
* George Pelecanos: Hard Revolution
* J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher's) Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban




I guess most people here know my likes when it comes to movie and TV adaptations, but anyway ...


Stand-alone books adapted as stand-alone movies:

* Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, Crooked House, Witness for the Prosecution, Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
* Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey
* Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
* Anne Brontë: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
* Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
* Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca
* Charles Dickens: Bleak House and A Christmas Carol
* Bram Stoker: Dracula
* Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
* Anne Rice: Interview with the Vampire
* John Fowles: The French Lieutenant's Woman
* Isabel Allende: The House of the Spirits
* John Berendt: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
* Sr. Helen Prejean: Dead Man Walking
* Stephen King: (Rita Hayworth and) the Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, Misery, The Shining

* S.S. Van Dine: The Kennel Murder Case

* Graham Greene: The Third Man

* Cornell Woolrich: Rear Window
* John Dudley Ball: In the Heat of the Night
* John Gregory Dunne: True Confessions
* Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon
* James M. Cain: Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice
* Elmore Leonard: Get Shorty
* John Grisham: The Firm, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief
* Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal
* Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye, Gallowglass, A Fatal Inversion
* Minette Walters: The Ice House

* Ethel Lina White: The Lady Vanishes

* Barry Unsworth: Morality Play

* Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose

* Peter Høeg: Smilla's Sense of Snow

* George Orwell: 1984

* Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451


Book series installments made into stand-alone movies or vice versa:

* Agatha Christie: Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express (Albert Finney); as well as Death on the Nile and Appointment with Death (Peter Ustinov)

* Agatha Christie: Bundle Brent / Superintendent Battle: The Seven Dials Mystery (Cheryl Campbell, James Warwick)

* Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale

* Walter Mosley: Devil in a Blue Dress

* James Ellroy: L.A. Confidential

* Raymond Chandler: Marlowe: The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake, The Long Goodbye (with different actors starring as Marlowe)
* Dashiell Hammett: The Thin Man (original movie and 5 sequels)

* Mario Puzo: The Godfather (3 movies)

* Tony Hillerman: The Dark Wind (Fred Ward, Lou Diamond Phillips)


Book series adapted as TV series or sequential movies:

* J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

* C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia

* J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter

* Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett, David Burke / Edward Hardwicke)
* Dorothy L. Sayers: Lord Peter Wimsey (two series: Wimsey / Vane: Harriet Walter & Edward Petherbridge; Wimsey solo: Ian Carmichael)
* Agatha Christie: Poirot (David Suchet, Hugh Fraser), Miss Marple (Joan Hickson), Tommy & Tuppence (Francesca Annis & James Warwick)
* E.G. Hornung: Raffles
* Ngaio Marsh: Inspector Alleyn (Patrick Malahide)
* Margery Allingham: Campion (Peter Davidson)
* P.D. James: Inspector Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden; 2 episodes: Martin Shaw)

* Ruth Rendell: Inspector Wexford (George Baker, Christopher Ravenscroft)
* Ellis Peters: Brother Cadfael (Derek Jacobi)
* Colin Dexter: Morse (John Thaw, Kevin Whately; including TV spin-offs: Endeavour (Shaun Evans) and Lewis (Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox))
* Elizabeth George: Inspector Lynley (Nathaniel Parker, Sharon Small)
* Ian Rankin: Rebus (2 series; John Hannah and later Ken Stott)
* John Morimer: Rumpole of the Bailey (Leo McKern)
* Caroline Graham: Midsomer Murders (John Nettles, later Neil Dudgeon)

* Henning Mankell: Wallander (2 adaptations: 1 series starring Kenneth Branagh; 1 series co-produced in Sweden and Germany)

* Stieg Larsson: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and sequels

* Michael Connelly: Bosch (Titus Weilliver)

* Tony Hillerman: Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time (Wes Studi, Adam Beach)

* Craig Johnson: Longmire (Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips)

* Rex Stout: Nero Wolfe (Maury Chaykin, Timothy Hutton)


Honorary mention: Murder by Death; novelized by H.R.F. Keating and Neil Simon.  Its not a book-to-movie adaptation (rather the reverse), so going by the definition for the square it probably doesn't count, but this list just wouldn't be complete without it.



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text 2019-08-05 21:38
Books I Bought This Week
The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead
In the Woods - Tana French
Circe - Madeline Miller

It's been a long time since I did a books I bought this week, but decided that with everything else going on to spread out some book loving vibes.


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. I can't wait for this one, have heard it's dark so may wait to read on a day I am doing a bit better. I cannot take a book that makes me cry right now.


In the Woods by Tana French. Already read and loved, but wanted a permanent book for my shelves.


Circe by Madeline Miller. I gave up hoping to get this via my library. After being number one thousand or whatever it is, I was just forget about it and bought it. 



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review 2019-05-04 18:52
Meh to the Meh Meh Meh Meh
The Witch Elm - Paul Nugent,Tana French

How can I like a book when I disliked all the characters ? This book was so boring for 3/4 filed with mundane life experiences, moments of reflection and meh. A lot of words about a bunch of people who I cared not one speck for. The last 1/4 finally started to get some life, but i was already in the "I could care less about any of these people" stage. I will admit there was a twisted twist that I never saw coming that was creative. Yeh, but I was not into it because who cares what happens to these crappy characters. This was a shelf surfing failure for me.
I listened on audio the narrator was really good.

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