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review 2018-05-21 14:52
"The Shadow Woman", by Ake Edwardson
The Shadow Woman - Åke Edwardson

Book # 2, in Inspector Erik Winter series and book #5 in the English version

The order in which this series is translated in English is quite bizarre but don’t let this concern you this is a decent police procedural, intricately constructed and stuffed with details of crime investigations (way too much in my books). Most of all, this mystery stands on its own, no worries if you start here.

In a prose that is bleak, Mr. Edwardson takes as its backdrop the Biker War in Sweden in the mid-1990 however he only mentions this in the opening pages. As the tradition imposes the story opens with the discovery of a woman’s body and the following pages are taken up with Winter and his colleagues investigation into her identity and solving the murder. Their efforts are slow, excruciating slow, minutia details, pages after pages of boring discussions, interrogations, etc.…. As the story plods along there are talks about illegal immigrants, relations between Swedes and Danes and some personal anecdotes. We need persistence to be rewarded. Mr. Edwardson does come through in his own time but far too late for my enjoyment. With its stilted dialogue, choppy narrative, plot twists that are hard to follow and a story without charismatic characters, I would describe “The Shadow Woman” as a lackluster installment to this series and by far not my preferred.

Having said this, I will nevertheless see what “Sail of Stone” has in store for me….one day…

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review 2018-05-11 17:36
Wonder Woman and Catwoman - Sign me up
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1 - Gail Simone,Ethan Van Sciver

So a bit of a mixed bag, though overall the stories are good and so is the artwork. 

The book starts with "Gothamazon" by Simone where Wonder Woman steps in to help Gotham while the Bats clan, with the exceptation of Oracle, are down for the count. The story illustrates, quite well, the differences between Batman and Wonder Woman. There are also some nice touches of humor. The second story "Defender of Truth" by Amanda Diebert and the fifth, "Bullets and Bracelets" by Sean Williams are, perhaps, a bit too heavy on the moral of the story, but who cares? They are enjoyable stories.

The two stories "Brace Yourself" and "Taketh Away" touch on some of the same issues - though "Brace Yourself" as far more humor; Jason Bischoff's stories of Diana vs Mom were great. Cohen's "Taketh" actually highlights the expecetions that women are forced to handle on a daily basis, including treatment when they decline an invitation as well as the expectation to be beautiful all the time.

The most problematic story is "No Chains Can Hold Her" and while it references the early days of comics and seems tongue in cheek, it falls completely flat. As does "Ghosts and Gods". For whatever reason the story doesn't quite work.

"The Attack of the 50 Foot Wonder Woman" and "Dig for Fire" are pretty good adventure stories, though one is light in tone than the other.

My favorite is "Morning Coffee" by Ollie Masters which involves Wonder Woman hunting down Catwoman. It's just wonderful.

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review 2018-05-11 17:29
Wonder Woman vs Ares
Wonder Woman, Vol. 6: Rise of the Olympian - Matt Ryan,Gail Simone,Aaron Lopresti,Bernard Chang

So the gods come back and they are not quite happy. Seriously, a story about self, stepping up, and self-determination. Awesome. Hard hitting. Striking. Wonderful.

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review 2018-05-01 22:52
The Woman in the Window (Finn)
The Woman in the Window: A Novel - A. J. Finn

I thought this was really well-done. Even though I accidentally managed to spoil myself for the final twist (and what a twist), I was completely drawn in until the very last page, largely because of the writing. The first revelation (the one about protagonist Dr. Anna Fox's family) was, I'm pretty sure, one of those that are there in order to make the reader feel good about their own instincts. There were plenty of hints dropped even within the first few pages, drawing us into a self-satisfied feeling that, ah yes, we do indeed know what is going on with this slightly addled, unreliable first-person narrator. In contrast, we are at that same narrator's mercy when it comes to impressions of all the other characters, including the one ultimately revealed as the psychotic villain, which is genuinely surprising and shocking to Anna, and therefore to any unspoiled reader.

 

Our narrator is fond of old thriller movies, and frequently has them playing, thus allowing that evocative quoted dialogue to seep into whatever alarming or puzzling thing is happening in her own life. And, too, this novel is very clearly written with movie adaptation in mind; from the pathetic-fallacy major rainstorm during the climactic events, to the devastating and echoing effects of sudden falls in scary places, to characters suddenly appearing in dramatically described light - it's as if the promised movie is already unspooling in one's head. No surprise, then, that the film rights were already sold before publication.

 

I became more emotionally involved than I expected I would in Anna's haze, her agoraphobia, her depression, and her absolutely heart-rending self-doubt when she allows herself to be pushed at one point into believing that she really did delude herself, seeing things she did not see, making up stories, sending an e-mail and photo she did not send... Gaslighted, in fact.

 

I was only vaguely aware that the gender-neutral A.J. Finn pseudonym belonged to a male author, and I thought he did a really decent job of inhabiting a female voice. In fact, the only moment when I specifically spat, "pah! male author!" was when he failed to update us on the condition of the cat in the sunny denouement. (I am like many mystery/thriller readers in that I can contemplate human murders without pain - presumably because it's part of the implicit contract - but any description of cruelty to animals puts me on edge and makes me worry inordinately. Anyway, potential readers of this novel needn't be put off my mentioning the subject; it's minor.)

 

It's always a question with a first novel from an author with another established career: is this the beginning of a long relationship, or has "A.J. Finn" written the one novel he had within him? Either way, I'm glad he got it published, and if his real-life position at the publishing house did have something to do with that, in this case the publishers got it right.

 

A very trendy title, but nonetheless heartily recommended.

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