Profil für A. Ross > Rezensionen

Persönliches Profil

Beiträge von A. Ross
Top-Rezensenten Rang: 2.733.500
Hilfreiche Bewertungen: 71

Richtlinien: Erfahren Sie mehr über die Regeln für "Meine Seite@Amazon.de".

Rezensionen verfasst von
A. Ross (Washington, DC)

Anzeigen:  
Seite: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Tod eines Mäzens
Tod eines Mäzens
von Lindsey Davis
  Gebundene Ausgabe

4 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen This Series Is Seriously Slipping, 26. Januar 2004
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Tod eines Mäzens (Gebundene Ausgabe)
When the Marcus Didius Falco series began, over a decade and eleven books ago, I was immediately hooked. The combination of detail about the Roman Empire, combined with the wisecracks of the much put upon informer (detective) hero enthralled me-for a while. After five or six books I discovered Steven Saylor's Roman mystery series, and the charm of Davis's potboiler plots and tongue-in-cheek jokes wore thin. I thought I'd pick this latest offering up to see if my taste for them had changed, and the unequivocal answer is no.
Falco is much the same as I last saw him, still married to the luminous and whip smart Helena, still bedeviled by an outrageous extended family, still cronies with his old army buddy Petronious, and still warily jousting with the imperial spymaster Anacrities. For the plot Davis relies upon that most tired of devices, a story linked to the world of publishing-complete with anachronistic satirization of subsidy publishing, ghostwriting, and the like. Ah yes, the publishing insider jokes just keep coming when Greek publisher and banker Aurelius Chrysippus is murdered and Petronious enlists Falco to unmask the killer.
The story is much more constrained than most of the series, with Davis creating an atmosphere that's part a game of Clue and part Ms. Marple cozy. The action never leaves Rome, and kicks off with Chrysippus found dead in the library with a scroll shoved up his nose (no sign of Col. Mustard though). As with any good little village or country house murder tale, there are a bevy of suspects for Falco to work though: new young wife, ex-wife, son, various writers, bank customers-each with their own possible reason for disliking the dead man. It's a very rote affair, with Falco plodding after each lead, checking each alibi, etc.
Oh wait, no he doesn't... A fact that leaps out at even the most casual reader, virtually placing a neon sign over the killer's head. Yes, Falco's got a lot of personal issues on his plate, but then again, he always does, so that hardly seems like a good reason for him to botch the basics of Detecting 101. So, while Falco creates the classic scene of bringing all the suspects together for a grand denouement, calling in surprise witnesses, and employing trickery to force a wholly unlikely confession, it all seems kind of pointless to the reader who saw the writing on the wall halfway through. The book has a few good scenes here and there (including one very good fight scene), but there's certainly not a lot of creativity in evidence, and the attempts at satire fall flat. It pains me to say so, but like so many series that start strong, Davis seems to be floundering and may need to think about starting something new.


Die neuen Bekenntnisse
Die neuen Bekenntnisse
von William Boyd
  Taschenbuch

0 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Outstanding Fictional Memoir, 25. Dezember 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Die neuen Bekenntnisse (Taschenbuch)
This fictional memoir displays Boyd's consummate skill and style to full effect, ranging across time an place to create a vivid tale. Jean Jacques Rousseau's Confessions is (perhaps arguably) first tell-all memoir, and here Boyd updates it through the reminisces of James Todd. The story unfolds chronologically from his birth in 1899 and upbringing in Edinburgh to the 1970s, when he sits incognito on a quiet island writing his memoirs. The years between are a picaresque journey through the first half of the last century and one man's attempt to create meaning in his life.
The early years in his domineering father's household document an unhappy child yearning for love and approval. His father's quest to perfect and patent medicines provides an uncommonly interesting background for this. When a family friend introduces him to photography, the die is cast. As a teenager, like so many British men of his age, he is swallowed by the first World War, where he is wounded at Ypres. Here, Boyd's descriptions manage to breath fresh life into carnage whose horror has been well-documented. Fortuitously, he is then transferred to a propaganda unit, where his talent in photography is applied to the new realm of film. Captured by the Germans, he languishes in prison, where a guard befriends him and gives him a copy of Rousseau's Confessions to pass the time. The work insinuates itself into him, and it percolates in him in the postwar years as he works in the London silent film industry. Despite marrying and fathering several children, his ambitions remain thwarted and he moves to Berlin to pursue his pet project of making an epic version of Rousseau's book.
In Weimar Berlin he embraces the vibrant (if pfenningless) art community and reconnects with his former guard, who is now an actor. Working together, and with Armenian producers, their careers start to take off and Todd becomes embroiled in a lifelong love affair with an actress. Boyd's description of the inter-war Berlin film scene is so vivid, and the discussion of Todd's career so convincing that one is tempted to put the book down and rush to the video store to see his films. With the juice to get his pet Rousseau project made, Todd throws himself full-tilt into the project, only to see the emergence of "talkies" scuttle it. This propels him to Hollywood, where makes some quiet B-Westerns embedded with subtle social messages until t he next war finds him scrambling around as a war correspondent for third-tier U.S. newspapers.
Following WWII, he falls afoul of the McCarthy witch hunts for communist in the entertainment industry and appears before HUAC. Here, is perhaps the book's one flaw. The HUAC hearings provide Todd with an opportunity to both stay afloat by naming names (some of whom have already named him), and exact revenge on his longtime archnemesis-but he doesn't take it. Although he's presented as variously idealistic and honorable, it's the one time in the book where the character doesn't hold true. And from here, the book bogs down a little, as Todd's current situation as apparent exile starts to loom over the proceedings. Despite a somewhat unsatisiying ending, the story's overall quality is head and shoulders above the pack. Once again Boyd has researched a plethora of subjects and places, and recreates them perfectly. At the same time he occasionally deploys a light comic touch to lighten this story of the search for meaning and the role of chance in life.


Die Dauerkarte: Roman
Die Dauerkarte: Roman
von Jonathan Tulloch
  Taschenbuch

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant Debut, 25. Dezember 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Die Dauerkarte: Roman (Taschenbuch)
Make no mistake, this is a brilliant novel. And while most people seem to want to compare it to one of Roddy Doyle's Barrytown works, it more properly belongs alongside Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. Like Welsh's breakthrough book, conversations are transcribed in local dialect and slang (the Geordie of Newcastle), once you get the rhythm of it, it's lovely. And as in Trainspotting, Tulloch is interested in humanizing the inhabitants of modern Britain's slums and ghettos-here through Gerry and Sewell, two teenage boys living in Gateshead. They play truant from school, wandering aimlessly, joyriding and thieving until they give voice their dream: to save up enough money to buy season tickets for Newcastle United.
From that point on, all their half-baked scams and grafting are focused on attaining that prize. In the background is Gerry's impoverished family life: his mother slowly dying, a sister missing on the streets, a baby nephew and grandmother who need caring for, repo men coming for the TV, not enough money for sugar, and always lurking in the shadows, an abusive and alcoholic father who they all must hide from. Rescuing this from being a simple portrait of poverty is the loyal friendship between crafty Gerry and large but slow dog-loving Sewell (bringing to mind Of Mice and Men).
The two are minor criminals, but it's hard not to keep rooting for them, even when one of their schemes goes nastily awry. To be fair to the comparisons to Roddy Doyle, Tulloch's narrative is more linear, he doesn't engage in the kind of phantasmagorical pyrotechnics Welsh does, not is it as formless as Trainspotting. Rather, the book is a masterpiece of bittersweet minimalist observation. If Alan Sillitoe had been born 35 years later, this is a book he might have written. Oh yes, and if anyone thinks the portrayal of Gateshead is overwrought, read Danziger's Britain, and prepare to be depressed about the state of modern Britain.
Tulloch's next two books are set in the same neighborhood, with some of the same minor characters. The Bonny Lad, is equally brilliant as this, but The Lottery is a disappointment.


James Bond, Diamantenfieber
James Bond, Diamantenfieber
von Ian Fleming
  Taschenbuch

2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Bond, Detective Bond, 21. August 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: James Bond, Diamantenfieber (Taschenbuch)
For his fourth 007 novel, Fleming drew inspiration from a real-life international diamond smuggling ring which would also be the subject of a non-Bond book, The Diamond Smugglers, a year later. The premise here is that an American mafia family is running an elaborate operation to smuggle diamonds out of the British colony of Sierra Leone (it didn't win independence until 1961), the British don't like it, and Bond is inserted as a courier to try and discover who's behind the scheme. While this setup remains exceedingly topical almost 50 years later (indeed, the latest Bond flick features the laundering of diamonds from Sierra Leone), however it's not likely to engender much enthusiasm in the contemporary reader. Hmm, someone is smuggling diamonds out from the under the noses of the imperialist colonizing British, gee, that's too bad... so why does this warrant sending a government assassin into the mix?
However, if one is willing to overlook the rather small potatoes of the setup, there's a decent enough potboiler to found if you don't examine it too carefully. The pages turn quickly enough as Bond is partnered with the hard-boiled beauty Tiffany Case (like so many of Fleming's women, an underdeveloped character with lots of potential), and then heads to the horse races at Saratoga, the casinos of Las Vegas, a desert ghost town, and the staterooms of the Queen Elizabeth. There are some nice set pieces (especially the mud bath scene and the casino action), but Bond seems to be distracted the whole time. One could mark it down to his being overconfident about his Mafia adversaries, but he's throughout the book he's missing clues, botching basic spycraft, and most importantly, impatient and sloppy. In several places it's hard not to think that if he were this bad an agent, he'd have been killed long ago.
It also doesn't help that the Mafia dons Bond is up against are totally generic and unmemorable, and more than a little ridiculous as major villains. The semi-climactic railroad chase scene is borderline farcical for example. Nor are matters aided by Felix Leiter rather improbably crossing Bond's path as a Pinkerton's agent. Still, the homosexual hitmen, Wint and Kidd are memorable characters who bring a great deal of menace and (for the time) exoticism to the story. More of a detective story than a spy thriller, it's not your normal Bond book.


Lobrede auf das fehlende Teil
Lobrede auf das fehlende Teil
von Antoine Bello
  Taschenbuch

2.0 von 5 Sternen Amusing Setting, Awful Story, 22. Juli 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Lobrede auf das fehlende Teil (Taschenbuch)
The American edition of this 1998 French "thriller" bears a jacket blurb from A. L. Kennedy compares this tedious puzzler to the works of Borges and Calvino. Now I'm not particularly a fan of Borges, and my views on Calvino depend very much on which work is under discussion, but to put this debut novel in the realm as those two masters is both ill-considered and irresponsible (not to mention irrevocably rendering Kennedy's body of work suspect). The setting Bello creates is certainly an amusing one: a parallel world where the "sport" of timed jigsaw puzzle tournaments is hugely popular. The reader learns at the outset that certain luminaries of the puzzling circuit are being drugged and clinically dismembered. The novel then presents 48 "pieces" or sections, in which lie the clues to unmask the serial killer.
These pieces consist of such things as newspaper reports, emails, magazine interviews, memos, letters, and the minutes of the academic Puzzology Society, arranged in a non-chronological order. Of course the conceit is that the sections are pieces of a puzzle, to be arranged to show the complete picture. The major flaw is that the clues are rather too obvious, and most readers will have identified the culprit in the first third of the book. This also is about the time the novelty of the structure wears off and things get boring. The satirical presentations of breathless tournament commentary, or academic minutiae of the Puzzology Society are amusing the first time around, but quickly wear thin thereafter. And when it finally (and I do mean finally) arrives, the dénouement is just plain silly. Aside from these rather major problems, there are some nitpicky things relating to the translation. On the whole it's fine, but it's always irking to read a book in which the speech of American characters is peppered with British idioms. And if one is attempting to mimic the style of the New York Times, at the very least, follow their practice of using Mr. Smith, instead of simply Smith, when writing about people.
All in all, a major disappointment given the hype this generated in France. The setting is amusing, something Jonathan Lethem might produce in one of his short stories, but that's about the only good thing about this. Let's not even drag Borges and Calvino into it.


Krieg im Frieden, Buffalo Soldiers
Krieg im Frieden, Buffalo Soldiers
von Robert O'Connor
  Gebundene Ausgabe

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant, 13. März 2003
I pray that with the release of the film based on this book that more people will discover O'Connor's amazing (and only) novel. Set at an U.S. Army base in Mannheim, Western Germany, in what appears to be the mid-'80s (based on the TV shows mentioned), the story follows Specialist Elwood. A classic antihero, this clerk/personal assistant to the battalion CO knows just what papers to push in order to get things done and build up piles of owed "favors". This comes in very handy since his main concern is to maximize profits from his slice of the camp drug trade.
The base comes instantly alive a place of very real danger-rather like a prison-with its racial separate gangs, drug wars, and general mayhem. As Elwood explains, in the peacetime Army there are two kinds of people: the MFers and the MF'd-and he hustles daily to stay in the first category. He's a great dark character, an amoral piece of total scum who you somehow end up liking and hoping will get straightened out. In that respect he's very much like Monty, in David Benioff's excellent novel The 25th Hour. As the book progresses, there a shift develops inside Elwood and the tension starts to build as he sets up one big final score before getting out of the Army. The fly in the ointment is that Elwood is being very closely watched by Master Sgt. Lee, a veteran of three Vietnam tours and a many with an unerring ability to detect BS.
Awash with dark subject matter (drugs, racial fights, exploitative sex), the book is remarkably funny and hard to put down. O'Connor, a writing professor who apparently never served in the Army, manages to infuse his writing with crackling Army slang and idiom specific to the setting. It's hard to overemphasize just how good the dialogue and wordplay is throughout the book. Throughout the book people are telling stories over other people's conversations, and it's all pulled off with dazzling dexterity. And perhaps the greatest testament to O'Connor's skill is that the ending is not unexpected, and yet is still incredibly powerful.
This novel is a piercing depiction of the underbelly of peacetime Army life and invites instant comparisons to Catch-22, while its somewhat unusual second person narration invokes Bright Lights, Big City. Many will find this depiction of peacetime Army life to be deeply offensive and unpatriotic, but it's hard to know just how far from reality it is. In any event, the reality of it doesn't matter, 'cause the book is less a satire of the Army than a dark portrait of a lost soul. Great stuff which leads one to wonder why O'Connor hasn't published anything else in the last ten years.


Der falsche Trip
Der falsche Trip
von Gary Krist
  Gebundene Ausgabe

0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Tepid Thriller, 8. März 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Der falsche Trip (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I was excited to read this book because the review I'd read made a big deal about how it was a great thriller that said a lot about Washington, D.C.'s racial state, and the two teen protagonists were from the neighborhood I grew up in. As it turns out, my admittedly raised expectations weren't met by this fairly pedestrian conspiracy thriller. Krist does capture some of the flavor of racial relations in DC, but he's not a very fluid writer so it comes across as rather forced and stereotyped. Indeed, his observations about D.C.'s racial issues, politics, corruption, and bureaucracy are all rather obvious.
None of the characters are particularly vivid--may verge on being cardboard--and the white teenager Jason is given a totally over the top case of teenage rebellion. The book is additionally annoying for all the small local name changes it makes: Mayor Barry becomes Mayor Humphrey-- presumably to avoid a lawsuit--but why change Wilson H.S. to RFK H.S. (which does not exist), or Nevada Avenue to Nevada Street? As a book if suspense, it's pretty woeful as well. Despite a number of chase scenes and seemingly dire situations, I felt the teens were more likely to share a rueful joint at the end, than a grave. In the end, it read like just another poorly written airplane/beach thriller, albeit with somewhat good intentions. If you want a real literary taste of D.C., pick up any of George Pelecanos's hardboiled books or Edward Jones's brilliant short story collection "Lost In the City."


Die Broker
Die Broker
von Philip Bronson
  Broschiert

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Fun Financial Satire, 8. März 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Die Broker (Broschiert)
Very fun and nasty satire of brokerage houses written by a briefly former insider. It's more of a fictional sociological study of the men and few women bond brokers of a San Francisco brokerage house than a straight story. Archtypes are presented, along with the motivations that drive them, and the lies by which they unload dubious securities. Through this Bronson is really going after the entire system which allows firms to profit massively from insane schemes and financial failures. Everything goes wacky at Atlantic Pacific when a new, young salesman appears on the floor. He ignores the rules, has the nature of a master salesman, and throws the system in a tizzy. It's all pretty over the top, but fun stuff with more than a kernel of truth.


Das Fahrrad des Leonardo da Vinci: Roman
Das Fahrrad des Leonardo da Vinci: Roman
von Paco I II Taibo
  Taschenbuch

0 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Four Books in One!, 8. März 2003
Whew! This is like reading four books in one as Tabio rapidly cuts between multiple storylines, spending only 2-5 pages on each before jumping to the next. One is set in present-day Mexico City and is centered on a downtrodden crime writer who gets obsessed with watching women's college basketball. Another follows a CIA operative circa 1975 as he flees Vietnam and tracks him until the present. A third is about the unionist and anarchist upheavals in Spain in the 1920s. Yet another is about Leonardo DaVinci. Teh majority of reviewers felt that the book is frustrating read at the beginning, but the end is worth it. However, I found the converge of the stories to be a very unsatisfying ending.


Ein Mann allein
Ein Mann allein
von Bernardo Atxaga
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 9,90

5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Taut Thriller, 8. März 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Ein Mann allein (Taschenbuch)
A taut thriller set during Spain's hosting of the 1982 World Cup. Former ETA Basque terrorists own a hotel outside Barcelona where the Polish team is staying. One of them, Carlos, has allowed two fugitive terrorists to hide out on the grounds without telling his partners. The tension gradually mounts as the police close in, others at the hotel find out, and relationships get tangled and tense until the stunning denouement. What raises the book above the level your average thriller is the author's brilliance at getting inside Carlos's head to illuminate his ambivalence about his former activities and current allegiances, as well as his relationships to his dead mentor and mad brother. A gripping book that would make a very interesting film in the right hands.


Seite: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20