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Search tags: mystery-and-thriller
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review 2017-10-12 21:24
The Secret Adversary
The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie did it again. She completely fooled me and my initial suspicion has been wrong. Not that I didn´t expect this, because, let´s be honest, it´s an Agatha Christie novel. She just knows how to use red herrings.


I have to admit, though, that I´m not a big fan of her spy / secret organization novels. They are just incredibly ridiculous and the numeral system for the villians reminds me of:




Ups, wrong book / movie series. But to be honest, whenever Nr. 1 or Nr. 14 are mentioned I´m reminded of the James Bond movies and it´s a bit distracting. Suffice it to say that Christie has used this device in one of her other books as well (I think The Seven Dials Mystery). So it´s getting kind of old.


As for Tommy and Tuppence, how these two have managed to stay alive is beyond me. They make stupid decisions and the "bright young things" attitude was enervating and annoying at times. It´s not like I hated these characters, but I haven´t fallen head over heels in love with them either. I hope in the next books they will grow up and become more mature.


I´ve read this novel for the "Darkest London" square for the halloween bingo. A big portion of the book takes place in London.




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review 2017-10-11 20:01
Gilded Needles
Gilded Needles - Michael McDowell

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! What a vicious revenge story! The novel starts slowly, but the pay off in the end has been brilliant.


Besides being a great and captivating read, the very last page made my day:


[...] she was the darling of a small but elegant hotel on the bleak coast of the North Sea at Dagebuell, near the German border with Denmark.


Dagebüll is about a 20 minute car drive away from my parents house.


Imagine Black Lena Shanks having lived in (almost) the same place as I did.



(spoiler show)


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review 2017-10-05 12:41
The Cry of the Owl
The Cry of the Owl - Patricia Highsmith

Robert Forester is depressed and the only thing that makes him feel better is to observe a young girl through her kitchen window at night. Robert stalking this woman is only the starting point of a novel, which in true Patricia Highsmith style is dark, twisted and deeply disturbing.


As in other Highsmith novels the life of a (seemingly?) ordinary guy takes a turn for the worse after making a wrong decision and throughout this book I sat on the edge of my seat, never knowing what´s going to happen next. And I love Highsmiths character and especially in this novel, she shows that evil lies in everyone of us, whether it´s someone you know or a complete stranger.


I can´t say that it is a particularly enjoyable read. As a matter of fact, it completely freaked me out. But it certainly is a brilliant Highsmith novel. Terrifying indeed.



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review 2017-10-03 19:11
The Alienist
The Alienist (Audio) - Caleb Carr,Edward Herrmann

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of The Alienist, a story about a serial killer in New York of the year 1896. Essentially this novel combines historical facts, forensics, psychology and good old plain detective work and for the most part it is a compelling read.


I´m pretty sure that I would have struggled with reading the book instead of listening to it, though. There were some dragging parts to the narrative and usually it is easier for me to power through these passages while listening to it. And yet I even struggled with the passages while doing exactly that.


Another thing that bothered me about this book was the lack of character developement. I haven´t gotten the impression that anyones behaviour has changed one bit throughout the story. This could be because the story is told in retrospect by one of the main characters, but still, the lack of character growth didn´t sit well with me. I´m just expecting a bit more from a book with 500 pages. And I have to admit that I really disliked Lazlo Kreizler, the alienist, towards the end of the novel.


I´ve listened to the audiobook, narrated by George Guidall, and I really enjoyed listening to his narration. I think I have made the right choice by listening to this book instead of reading it.


I´ve read this book for the Serial / Spree Killer square for the halloween bingo.





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review 2017-10-01 10:27
The Moving Finger
The Moving Finger - Agatha Christie

The small town of Lymstock gets terrorized by a person, who sends out poison pen letters to the inhabitants of the village. At first the villagers consider the letters to be of no importance, but this changes when one of the recipients of the letters dies.


I neither loved The Moving Finger nor did I dislike it. Overall it was an okay read, with a plot that won´t make a lasting impression on me.


I liked the gossipy nature of the small town setting and the poison pen letter plot and I enjoyed the brother-sister relationsship between Jerry and Joanna. I could have done without the romance plot, which wasn´t a very convincing one. Overall I don´t think that Christie is good at writing romances, which makes me want to pick up one of her romance novels in the near future. Just to see if my assessment is right.


My biggest complain about this book is that it is called a Miss Marple novel, even though Miss Marple only makes an appearance in about 10 pages of the novel. Of course, during this short amount of the time she is responsibly for solving the case and all the other characters (especially the police officers) are apparently too stupid to solve the crime themselves. I know, I know, that´s the way Miss Marple operates, but in this book it bugged me a lot.


I´ve read this book for the "Terror in a small town" square for the halloween bingo and since the person, who writes the letters, is wreaking havoc in the Lymstock, it´s a perfect fit for that square.




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