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review 2017-07-15 15:55
Morse goes temporarily missing...
The Way Through The Woods (Inspector Morse, #10) - Colin Dexter

Book 10/13 of the crime novels involving Chief Inspector Morse and I think on balance this is my favourite so far. Clearly, the fact that it won Colin Dexter the CWA Gold Dagger (again) in 1992, for the best crime novel of that year confers a gilt-edged pedigree, but within such an impressive series of high quality works of fiction (one might even call them ‘bodies of work’), this example stands tall.

 

On a rather random whim, Morse decides to take a holiday and notwithstanding his negative past experiences of such ventures, he books into The Bay Hotel, Lyme Regis, Dorset. The absence allows time for Morse to ponder a riddle spotted in 'The Times', apparently concerning the year-long police investigation into a 'Swedish maiden', missing in Oxford and follow the subsequent responses of editors and readers in the correspondence columns. At home, when the media starts asking questions, the absence of his star detective also confirms Superintendent Strange’s determination to place Morse in charge of the stalled investigation upon his return, even tasking DS Lewis with trying to entice Morse back early. And thus, amid such expectations the detective duo are back in harness.

 

In common with the other books in the series, Morse manages to lust over and make lasting impressions upon several interesting female characters. But, we also get to see more of the ‘below-the-waterline’ complexity of Morse in his self-imposed emotional isolation. This is particularly true when Morse hurries to see his colleague Max, in the hospital, but also in the unaccustomed warmth, which DS Lewis alone seems to rekindle. Indeed, once again it is Lewis who is the “catalytic factor in the curious chemistry of Morse’s mind.”

 

This book also introduces pathologist, Dr Laura Robson, for the first time. A feisty Geordie, the fair Laura quickly takes to verbal duelling with Morse, but the instant respect she has commanded also bodes well for how her relationship with the Chief Inspector (arch sceptic of the forensic sciences) will play out in the remaining volumes.

 

One of the interesting traits of Dexter’s work is the genteel veneer through which he filters the attendant brutality of violent crime. Morse rarely casts judgement, simply assembles the facts and dispassionately solves the presenting puzzle. In fact, what I regard as the ‘Oxford effect’, often gentrifies quite sordid circumstances and occasionally leaves Morse and his unrefined proclivities seeming quite tawdry by comparison. Still, in this novel, Morse seems more relaxed (perhaps an expression of holiday fever, or the reminder of his own mortality) and openly closer to Lewis. For example, Morse even entrusts his sergeant to interview the missing girl’s mother, dispatching Lewis to Stockholm. Albeit such delegation pragmatically side-stepped the Chief Inspector’s fear of flying, the decision also highlighted his dependence on the dogged efforts and boundless support of Lewis.

 

Again, Morse confidently posits a hypothesis based on the seemingly impenetrable array of facts, which in turn is dismantled by the developing evidence, only to be adapted anew as Morse sculpts out the truth, until the final explanation is revealed. In this case a very satisfying conclusion and the usual acknowledgement that you have to hand it to Morse - he is clever!

 

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review 2017-04-15 03:08
Over the River and Through the Woods
Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

This book has been on my TBR list for a while but I didn't realize exactly what it was when I added it. I thought it was a collection of short stories involving spooky stuff in in the woods. I did not realize it was a collection of stories by the same lady who did His Face All Red. That discovery when I found it in the return bin at the library instantly made it a must read for me. 

 

Through the Woods is a collection of short stories told in graphic novel form. All have some connection to the woods and are  horror/supernatural related. Emily Carroll is perhaps best known for His Face All Red, one of my all time favorite webcomics, and so each of the stories are told in similar styles with similarly creepy twists and ends.

 

I LOVED this book. I plan on going out and buying it ASAP, especially since today was pay day. Her comics are so good, such creepy yet beautiful fairy tale-like stories. Her style is amazing. It really is. So, here's a play by play of the different stories:

 

An Introduction:  4/5. It's an intro, but it's a very well told intro. Creepy but an excellent set up.

 

Our Neighbor's House: 5/5. Amazing. Just amazing. The end left me going, "What?!" in the best way possible. I reread it a couple of times just to make sure I loved it. It was creepy and sad and just amazing.

 

A Lady's Hands Are Cold: 4.5/5. A little predictable but I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of a cross between Bluebeard and the Juniper Tree, which are both bizarre but fun fairy tales. 

 

His Face All Red: 5/5. As I've already said, I love this one. It's really good and inspired one of the stories I'm working on now. 

 

My Friend Janna: 4/5. A little slow in the buildup but it was all worth it. I think I'd like to reread it because I'm sure there was stuff I missed upon the initial read. 

 

The Nesting Place: 5/5. I legit went "Oh Jesus" when the twist was revealed. It was creepy and unexpected. The story was sad and sweet and the ending made me cringe. 

 

In Conclusion: 5/5. Seen this one before. I love it. Such a creepy ending and such an amazing way to end this book. 

 

Final rating: 5/5. Love this book, love her comics, definitely recommend. 

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review 2016-10-07 14:32
Creepy
Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

*Book source ~ Library

 

A graphic novel anthology of five horror stories, an introduction, and a conclusion.                                 

 

I think these stories may be a bit too creepy for me though I know other horror aficionados who would love them. I’m not a big fan of the artwork either. While my personal opinion rules my rating I will say that the stories are appropriately skin-crawling and spine-tingling and out of them all I’d say The Nesting Place is my favorite. Though the Introduction resonates a lot with me because I used to read at night, too. *shudders*

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2016/10/through-woods.html
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review 2016-09-17 03:33
Through The Woods
Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

This book consists of five spooky short stories that take place in the woods. I’ve never read a graphic short story collection before, and I’m fairly new to sequential art books, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

 

“It came from the woods. Most strange things do.”Through the Woods

I am completely in love with the art. I’ll have to check out Emily Carroll’s other work because it’s beautiful. Admittedly, I haven’t read many graphic novels, but this is my favorite art style I’ve come across so far. I especially like that the author/illustrator uses slightly different colors for each story. Some of them are bright and bold with big blocks of color. Others are more subtle and realistic.

 

The stories remind me of campfire tales. They’re odd, but they don’t have a lot of depth or explanation. In most of the stories, the lack of depth and explanation didn’t bother me, but one of the stories is a bit confusing because the ending isn’t explained very well.

 

My favorite story in the collection is “Our Neighbor’s House.” It’s about three sisters who are left on their own until a mysterious man in a big hat shows up. I like the bold colors, and I wasn’t expecting that ending.

 

In “A Lady’s Hands are Cold,” a girl is forced into a marriage she doesn’t want. At night, in her new house, she hears strange music and sets out to find where it’s coming from. This story probably has the weirdest love-triangle ever.

 

I might have missed something about “His Face All Red.” (Possibly because I was reading this book while working, as responsible adults do. In my defense, it’s an entertaining book.) This story is about a man who kills his brother. I thought the story ended suddenly, and I didn’t totally understand the ending.

 

“My Friend Janna” features two women who are running a psychic scam, but one of them might not be faking her psychic abilities. This story isn’t as gripping as the first two, but I like the colors and the spooky illustrations.

 

I had no idea where “The Nesting Place” was going when I started it. It’s about a young girl who is staying with her brother and his wife after the death of her mother. The brother’s wife may not be who she seems. The story has a lot of suspense, but the ending was kind of “meh” for me. I think I was expecting something crazier.

 

I was on the fence about reading this book, but I’m very glad I did. It’s worth reading for the gorgeous art alone. The words are just the creepy icing on top.

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