Good Reading : November 2014
GOOD READING NOVEMBER 2014 45 CRIME FICTION WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG Flesh and Blood Patricia Cornwell Her bags are packed for a holiday, but forensic expert and medical examiner Kay Scarpetta finds herself, her FBI agent husband and her genius niece, Lucy, caught up in a complex case involving a sharpshooter who is targeting seemingly random victims. But as Kay begins to investigate she realises that there are uncomfortable links to her own family; are they just targets or is something else going on? And what exactly is Lucy hiding? Flesh and Blood is probably up to the minute with its scientfic details and complex analysis of forensic information. But sadly it’s a less than enthralling read. The technical details soon become tiresome, taking the place of dramatic tension and character development. The characters, who could possibly have saved the story, never emerge from the page, remaining paper-thin cutouts whose dramas are difficult to care about. I suspect that Flesh and Blood is a victim of self indulgent series-itis, in which a series that was once good has become lost in a false sense of its own importance. The big reveal of the villain, when it arr ives, feels trivial when it should be pivotal. This is a tired entry in a crowded genre. The fact that Patricia Cornwell was instrumental in developing the forensic genre makes Flesh and Blood all the more disappointing. ★★ HarperCollins $39.99 Reviewed by Tessa Chudy The Sandman Lars Kepler The Sandman is the fourth entry in the ‘Joona Linna’ series, which just seems to go from strength to strength with its cleverly embedded threads and recurrring conflicts. Mikael has been missing for so long that he’s been declared dead. But then he turns up bloodied and seriously ill on a railway track. He and his sister disappeared without a trace, and Joona guessed, but was unable to prove, that they were victims of Jurek Walter. Jurek is Joona’s nemesis and one of Sweden’s worst serial killers, kept in solitary confinement in a mental institution. The exact number of Jurek’s victims is unknown, as is the identity of his accomplice. In a race against time to find Mikael’s sister, the police come up with a plan to embed an officer in the mental institution to get close to Jurek. Meanwhile, Joona and company go back and try to uncover a clue in Jurek’s myster ious past. The series formula of tight plotting and ever-increasing tension makes these books genuine page-turners. Jurek assumes mythic qualities, a bit like author Thomas Harr is’s Hannibal Lecter, which does require a certain suspension of disbelief. But The Sandman remains engrossing from begining to end. The pacing and tension are remarkable, and perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that they are maintained throughout the book. ★★★★ HarperCollins $29.99 Reviewed by Tessa Chudy The Sandman Tin the ‘Joona Linna’ series, which just seems to go from strength to strength with its cleverly embedded threads and recurrring conflicts. that there are uncomfortable links to her own Blood big reveal of the villain, when it arrives, feels More about Lars Kepler Lars Kepler is the pen name of Swedish writers Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. This crime-writing couple decided initially to conceal their identities behind the single pseudonym, but two reporters tracked the couple down in their secluded summer house several years ago and forced them to admit that they had written Lars Kepler’s 2009 first novel, The Hypnotist.
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