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review 2019-12-06 19:23
Violet by Scott Thomas
Violet - Scott Thomas

Violet is a great follow up to Kill Creek but it is a very different book and I think that is a beautiful thing. Kill Creek featured many characters creating all sorts of chaos and mayhem while Violet is much more of an intimate read about grief, trauma and the danger of burying memories so far inside that they begin to leak out in the most dangerous of ways.

You’re going to have to be in a certain frame of mind to read this one. It is a slow burning, atmospheric read, very detailed, character oriented read and it takes its own sweet time building up the scenes and the characters and slowly revealing all of its secrets. This worked well for me because I had some time on my hands and I was ready for some creeping dread and Violet delivers.

After a life-altering, trauma causing event, Kris returns to her childhood lake house hoping to help her daughter heal emotionally and find her way back to being a happy child again. Kris has only fond memories of the summer home that helped her family through her mother’s losing bout with cancer. But memories are tricky things . . . The house in serious disarray when they arrive because it has been left to rot. There’s a reason for this, of course, but I am not going to tell you what it is. Kris begins to restore things to their previous glory, keeping herself and her daughter busy, but as she starts chatting up the locals, she soon learns that something very unsettling has been happening in the idyllic town and she realizes that bringing her daughter here wasn’t such a great idea.

“The house looked like a crumbling headstone on a forgotten grave.”

If I had one word to describe this story it would have to be unnervingly-heartbreaking. Okay that’s two words connected by a dash but it’s my review and I will always do what I want, haha. Eerie moments fill this book and create a sense of unease that builds and builds until you just might be seeing dark things in the corner of your room, under your bed or in the closet. Seriously, read this with all the lights on because it creeped me out in a way that most things don’t. I think it was because of the slow, slow build and the tiny terrible moments that kept occurring in-between the daily grind of refinishing a home. It gets under your skin after a while.

If you’re in the mood for a character driven, spooky story and have some hours free, give it a go. It has a little mystery, a lot of emotion, characters that feel like real people and some very haunting imagery.

4 1/2 Stars

Content warning behind the spoiler tag:

CW: Be warned there are some very terrible, gut-wrenching things that happen here. Both to children and an animal. I was pre-warned before going in and I am THANKFUL for that because I would not want to stumble on that stuff unawares.

(spoiler show)


Source: Book received for review consideration.

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text 2019-12-04 17:00
24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 - Kwanzaa: Task 2
Doktor Faustus - Thomas Mann
Amadeus - Peter Shaffer
The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany - Martin Goldsmith
Dancer - Colum McCann
The Speech of Angels - Sharon Maas
The Sanctuary Sparrow - Ellis Peters
An Accidental Death: A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 1 - Peter Grainger,Gildart Jackson
Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice
Overture To Death - Ngaio Marsh
Piano - Jane Campion

In no particular order, books (of all genres, except for artist biographies)* that I love where music plays an important role:


Thomas Mann: Dr. Faustus

Mann's gut-punch take on Faustian bargains; in this instance, by a composer who pays the price of syphilis-induced madness for a few years of success -- and whose deal with the devil simultaneously symbolizes that of the German people with Adolf Hitler.


Peter Shaffer: Amadeus

The play that reached an even wider audience when adapted for the screen by Miloš Forman: all about the punk rock genius of classical music and his rival, the "patron saint of mediocrity", Antonio Salieri.


Martin Goldsmith: The Inextinguishable Symphony

Goldsmith's biography of his musician parents (and their families), who met in Nazi Germany and, after much hardship, eventually managed to emigrate to the U.S. and establish a new life for themselves and their children there.


Colum McCann: Dancer

McCann's novelized biography of Rudolf Nureyev -- from the time before McCann moved to the U.S. and went all politically correct.  Lyrical, muscular and visually powerful prose to match the art of its protagonist.


Sharon Maas: Speech of Angels

The story of a musically gifted orphan who is taken to Europe from the streets of Bombay and has to find out who she is (Indian, European or ...?) and what exactly music means to her life. 


Ellis Peters: The Sanctuary Sparrow

A young musician takes sanctuary in the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul after having falsely been accused of murder, and it is up to Brother Cadfael to find out what really happened.


Peter Grainger: An Accidental Death

Music may not exactly be central to the mystery, but blues music is definitely key to the protagonist's (D.C. Smith's) personality.


Anne Rice: Cry to Heaven and Violin

Cry to Heaven, a novel set in the world of the baroque castrati, just might be the best thing Rice ever wrote (when she was still listening to her editors).  Violin was the last book of hers that I liked; it occasionally borders on the melodramatic, but the translation of the (autobiographically-based) mental anguish of losing a loved one into music is by and large very well done.


... and Ngaio Marsh's mysteries set either in the world of opera or otherwise involving (performances set to) music:


     Overture to Death

     * Death and the Dancing Footman

     * Off With His Head (aka Death of a Fool)

     * Photo Finish


Honorary mention to two movies (and screenplays) focusing on music:


     * Jane Campion: Piano

     * Andrée Corbiau: Farinelli


... and to the movies which I discovered and / or love twice as much solely because Mark Knopfler (fomerly of Dire Straits) wrote the score:


     * Local Hero

     * The Princess Bride

     * Cal


* If I'd include artist and composer biographies, this list would be endless.


(Task: Music is an important part of a Kwanzaa celebration.  Which is / are your favorite book(s) where music plays an important role in the plot?)


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text 2019-12-04 11:43
Reading progress update: I've read 27 out of 1183 pages.
Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works - Thomas Middleton,Gary Taylor

News from Gravesend authorship: Dekker is believed to have been sole author of the lengthy prose "epistle" whilst Middleton definitely contributed a small section of the subsequent poem and possibily more.

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text 2019-12-04 09:04
Reading progress update: I've read 309 out of 2016 pages.
Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works - MacDonald P. Jackson (Editor), John Jowett (Editor), John Lavagnino, V. Wayne,Gary Taylor,Thomas Middleton

The Patient Man...Sc.9: Bellafront, the former prostitute and swindler, has been honest this last month and more - her former pander runs off with a "bawd."

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text 2019-12-03 08:51
Reading progress update: I've read 307 out of 2016 pages.
Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works - MacDonald P. Jackson (Editor), John Jowett (Editor), John Lavagnino, V. Wayne,Gary Taylor,Thomas Middleton

The Patient Man...Sc.8: Viola and her brother attempt to provoke jealosy in Candido and vex him that way - it backfires and leaves Candido unmoved in a scene of broad comedy.

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