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Shame the Devil
Shame the Devil
von George P. Pelecanos
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen A shotgun-blast of a novel!!!, 19. September 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Shame the Devil (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Like the fast-paced lifestyle of our nation's Capitol, "Shame The Devil" may be the defining thriller of a generation. Equal parts Elmore Leonard and Mario Puzo, Dennis Lehane and Phillip K. Dick, George P. Pelicanos shoves this inner-city timebomb of a book right down your throat with dizzying dialogue, snappy scene changes, and by-the-seat-of-your-pants action.
When Frank and Richard Farrow enter Washington D.C., they have more than sight-seeing on their minds. They are looking for easy money--and they think they've found it with a restaurant holdup that they heard about. Money is never as easy as it should be, and no one finds that out faster than the Farrow brothers. When the heist goes horribly awry, the entire restaurant staff gunned down in cold blood, and Richard Farrow bleeding to death from a massive gunshot wound on the city street, Frank Farrow flees the scene, stopping only long enough to retrieve his brothers body. He vows revenge on the cop who killed his brother, and goes into hiding to carefully plan his return.
Pelicanos creates a gritty, urban thriller with "Shame The Devil". Hailed as the new master of the suspense thriller, Pelicanos lives up to his press easily and with great aplomb...generating not only incredible novels, but legions of new fans everyday. Count me as one of them!


The Big Thaw: A Novel
The Big Thaw: A Novel
von Donald Harstad
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 22,07

5.0 von 5 Sternen Chilling and precise!, 19. September 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Big Thaw: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Donald Harstad knows Iowa. And he precisely captures the freezing January landscape and no-nonsense mentality of the citizens who choose to live there. Justice is swift and hard during the frozen months of the midwest, and no one shows that more exactly than Harstad in his latest novel, "The Big Thaw". Depicting the flat, somewhat uninteresting landscape of the American heartland as the breeding ground for many of the worlds anarchist, right-wing crazies, Harstad paints a perfect portrayal of what can happen when one such group makes the mistake of calling Nation County, Iowa, home. At least in the eyes of Carl Houseman, a slow-moving but very intelligent deputy Sheriff. Houseman stumbles on a surprising scene one bitter-cold night when he intercepts a call on his walkie-talkie regarding a local kid who was found behaving suspiciously in town. Houseman reluctantly responds, and finds himself in the midst of a gruesome but cleverly concealed murder scene. True, the recent series of cat burglaries suddenly seemed to have been solved with the arrest of Fred Gothler, aka "Goober", a slow-witted 20-year-old with a history of misdemeanors on his rap sheet. But what Houseman uncovers is a plot far more disturbing than he expected. A militant group, led by a man dubbed "Gabriel", is planning a grand heist to raise money to finance his "next big move", and has chosen Nation County in which to pull it off. Houseman finds the bodies of two brothers, and the race to find the murderers and stop the massive bank robbery is on.
Using dry humor, midwestern sensibility and inflection in his tale, Harstad delivers one of the finest works in his ongoing Nation County series. Like taking a stroll down a gravel country road, "The Big Thaw" takes its time getting to its point, but the trip there is time well-spent. With vivid imagery and well-fleshed-out characters, reading "The Big Thaw" is like sitting next to a wood stove in the local general store, listening to stories to while away the afternoon...but with an adrenaline punch.


Fall from Grace: A Noir Thriller
Fall from Grace: A Noir Thriller
von Clyde Phillips
  Gebundene Ausgabe

1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Written like a well-plotted television show!!, 19. September 2000
"Fall From Grace", Clyde Phillips' first in a series of psychological thrillers, is written like a well-plotted television show---which comes as no surprise springing from the mastermind of many long-running shows ("Parker Lewis Can't Lose" being one of them). This wham-bam shoot-'em-up is furiously paced and intelligent as well. It all seems to begin when handsome lawyer David Perry is told by his beautiful wife that she is suing for divorce. The following emotional battle degenerates into a hateful tug-of-war. Perry moves into a recently purchased condo, pining for more time with his only daughter, Lily, whom his soon-to-be ex-wife wants to deny him visitation rights with. One day, while taking a seemingly random ride on San Francisco's BART transit system, Perry strikes up a conversation with Barton Hubble, a self-proclaimed "expert" on foreign cars...which Perry finds to be fortuitous, since his BMW's recent mechanical problems are the reason he says he's been forced to utilize public transit. The two become unlikely friends when Hubble offers to fix Perry's car "free of charge", in exchange for some free legal advice. Finding a sympathetic ear, Perry spills his anger and bitterness about his wife...and suddenly finds himself in the midst of a murder investigation. His wife is kidnapped from her own house one morning, only to be found brutally murdered and buried in a shallow grave in a nearby park. Enter Jane Candiotti, one of SF's finest homicide detectives. Her and her partner Kenny are handed the investigation, on top of an already full case-load. What the pair don't realize is exactly how complicated their lives and their careers are about to become. When Jane falls in love with Perry, much to the anger and dismay of her partner, the story takes a series of astounding and thrilling twists.
Phillips knows how to pace his story and throw in just enough action and intrigue to make this not only a page-turner, but a page-burner as well! Believable characters, emotional depth, intricate plot twists, and breathtaking scenery conspire to make this a must-read book. I heartily look forward to reading the next in the series!


Lost Girls
Lost Girls
von Andrew Pyper
  Gebundene Ausgabe

4.0 von 5 Sternen MYSTERIOUS AND SPOOKY! A GREAT GHOST STORY!, 31. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Lost Girls (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Slip into the murky depths of a town with dark secrets. Secrets no one seems to want to talk about and secrets most would completely deny the exixtence of...that is, until two of the town's favorite daughters go missing. In the ensuing uproar over their disappearance, a battle cry erupts from one of the girls' father--a wealthy and influential member of the town. His vengeance is aimed squarely at the head of Thomas Tripp, former local English teacher and recent confidant of the two "Lost Girls".
The resulting search of Tripp's apartment (and his recent past) reveal a defeated, haunted man with secrets of his own. The walls of his modest teachers apartment are heavily adorned with thousands of cut-out pictures of young girls in various stages of undress--gleaned from teen girl magazines and catalogues. Muddy clothing found in his clothes hamper, and a bloodstained rear seat in his car seem to point to his unequivocal guilt. The fact that he recently experienced a painful divorce and subsequent loss of visitation rights to his only daughter (because of very questionable behaviour) only increase the appearance of his involvment. Tripp is arrested and held in the disappearance of the two girls.
Enter Bartholomew Christian Crane, a still wet-behind-the-ears young attorney from a neighboring city--and newest member of "Lie, Gettemoff, and Associates", a not-too-prestigious law firm known for defending some of the country's more despicable criminals. Crane, accompanied by the diparaging comments of the senior partners of the firm and a cocaine addiction larger than his rented Lincoln Continental, appears reluctantly in the town of Murdoch, where the story takes place. He is fully prepared to do whatever it takes to procure Tripp's freedom...even withhold evidence. What Crane doesn't realize is that he's headed directly into the nightmare of his own past--long repressed and thought forgotten. As the insidious secrets that hide in the town of Murdoch slowly seep into him, Crane begins to realize that those very secrets are his secrets as well. As he loses control of the case and his own mind, we witness the inevitable destruction of two men, a town, and the results of what secrets can do to the very fabric of life.
Ghosts come in many forms. Andrew Pyper creates a disturbing, ominous, and wholly memorable ghost story in "Lost Girls". Painting this dark mystery as a bleak landscape of self-destruction and courtroom drama, he draws an eerie portrait of man's vastly troubled soul, using faulted human canvasses. His depiction of a town and its people caught in the undertow of the past is incredibly vivid and nightmarish at the same time. This is one book you won't soon forget.


The Death Pit
The Death Pit
von Tony Strong
  Gebundene Ausgabe

3.0 von 5 Sternen GREAT PREMISE, POOR EXECUTION (if you'll pardon the pun), 31. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Death Pit (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Take pig farming, lesbianism, witchcraft, murder, betrayal, forensic anthropology, historical intrigue, graphic scenes of death, and put them all together on say, the Scottish Isle...and what do you get? The makings of an incredibly intriguing and beguiling mystery. Unfortunately, in the hands of Tony Strong, what comes out of this mix is merely a hodge-podge of information and characters that act in predictable and unintelligent ways. It's as if the author attempted to attract too wide a range of readers, but only succeeds in confusing a perfectly good premise with overkill and an unbelievable plot.
Terry Williams, the lead character, begins the story proclaiming herself to be a lesbian scholar, researching the history of a woman who was burned as a witch centuries earlier--but who may have been lesbian as well, and burned instead for that. Her goal is perhaps to bring the persecution of witches in Scotland into the present by comparing the modern day persecution of gays and lesbians. Through letters and research, Terry gets closer and closer to the truth...or what she thinks is the truth. In fact, she uncovers another mystery altogether--the recent murder of a local woman who might possibly have been killed by the local witch coven. In a wholly predictable move, Terry enters the coven under false pretenses...and lands immediately in the bed of the most handsome male of the group. Is she using him, or he her? Who cares...it has no bearing on the plot. Soon enough, Terry finds herself vying for the affections of a local pig farmer (and you can draw your own analogy from that) in whose "Death Pit" (the trough dug for disposing of pig carcasses) the murder victim's body was found. The story deteriorates from there. (again, no pun intended)
Though the historical information regarding the witch hunts and trials in Scotland are fascinating, if a bit morbid, the interwoven storyline is a distraction. While the bookjacket suggests a mystery extraordinaire, it was as interesting as a made-for-tv-movie in its second or third showing....and about as well written. Trudging through the last few chapters I found myself eager for its end...so I could move on. Once committed to reading it though, I felt obligated to finish, much to my disappointment.


Pilgrim: A Novel
Pilgrim: A Novel
von Timothy Findley
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen HAUNTING, POETIC, AND AN EPIC TALE!, 15. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Pilgrim: A Novel (Gebundene Ausgabe)
From the very first page, author Timothy Findley insinuates his haunting prose through the multi-layered folds of your mind, bringing about a trance-like ecstacy...which continues till the very last word.
The story of Pilgrim, an enigmatic soul in the form of a man, is found hanging from a tree, an apparent suicide. Rumors of his death, however, are greatly exaggerated, for this is not the first attempt he has made on his own life and recovered to tell about it. The hanging that begins this story, though, comes to the attention of Carl Gustav Jung, the noted psychotherapist, who is just coming into his own at the time of Pilgrim's untimely un-demise. To relate the rest of this epic retelling of such historical events as the creation of the Mona Lisa, or the life of Oscar Wilde, one would be denied the ultimate pleasure of experiencing it for ones self! Findley takes events that have been endlessly documented and gives them a fresh voice, a daunting task, to be sure. Not since reading Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" has this reviewer enjoyed such a vivid and imaginative story from beginning to end. And not the fun-for-the-moment satisfaction of many of todays novels...but a true, deep-seated satisfaction that lingers in the soul. Pilgrim's search for "eternal peace" and the simultaneous epiphanies experienced by Herr Doktor Jung, weave together some of the most fascinating thoughts and images in print today. It was an enthralling read, and one that I would highly recommend to any literary enthusiast or weekend historian.


How the Body Prays
How the Body Prays
von Peter Weltner
  Gebundene Ausgabe

2.0 von 5 Sternen UNDERDEVELOPED CHARACTERS AND SHALLOW STORYLINE, 6. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: How the Body Prays (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Reading this series of "portraits", as the book jacket calls these short vignettes, one gets the feeling that each story gets only barely beneath the surface of the characters involved...like a flat rock skimming over the surface of a lake in summer. And even when the stone sinks quickly beneath the surface, it only sinks mere inches into the shallow water. Too shallow to even be called a lake. A puddle, really. Peter Weltner sets out to tell the interrelated stories of the Odom family...a family torn apart by war, both inside and outside of its familial structure. Through the eyes of each individual character, we find out a little something about this war torn family...very little. We feel that there is so much more to learn than what we're being told, but somehow aren't quite privileged to that information. In the narrative voices of both male and female family members, it's the men we find telling the most compelling and memorable stories...and the most believable. The women's voices don't ring true, sounding forced and flat, while the men's are rich and vibrant with emotion. Even with such an undertaking though, we feel cheated and unsatisfied with the results. For an author to take on such an ambitious narrative device, he would need to delve deeply into the hearts of each person and flesh them out more vividly on the page...much more so than is done here. I walked away from this book with a feeling that I needed about ten more pages for each character to get a strong sense of who they are, or who they were trying to be, which is unfortunate.


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, Band 1)
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, Band 1)
von Gregory Maguire
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen WICKED GOOD!, 28. Juni 2000
If you go into this story with expectations of a retelling of the classic "Wizard of Oz", then you may be disappointed...but enter with an open mind and a desire to be fully entertained, you'll find yourself incredibly satisfied by the end of this "Wicked"-good book.
Gregory Maguire sets out on an ambitious journey into the story that we grew up with, but by giving it a clever twist and fleshing out the characters we never got to know in the original. Yes, we all know about Dorothy and her annoying little dog...the twister, the house... But, how much were we told about how Oz came to be, or Munchkinland, or the Wizard himself? We were expected to accept these places and things as they were, without any explanation, and as kids, we did. We accepted that Glinda was the good witch and that the Wicked Witch of the West was evil...but why? Well, when you read "Wicked", you get the story, warts and all! You find that perhaps the Wicked Witch of the West (born Elphaba) wasn't entirely acting out of pure evil at all, nor was Glinda acting on behalf of all that's good. You find that perhaps there was a lot more going on in that particular world than you ever imagined...but luckily for all of us, Maguire does an excellent job of imagining it for us! The politics, the treachery, the origin of The Wiz himself...all of this included in this highly readable, immensely likeable book!
Don't start it expecting to read another take on Dorothy or her adventure in the "wonderful Land of Oz". She doesn't even enter into the picture until the very end! What you will find is an incredibly imagined story, for adults, that you'll find yourself thinking about for a long time after you've finished reading it!


War Boy
War Boy
von Kief Hillsbery
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen ADDICTING!, 15. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: War Boy (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I couldn't help but compare reading this book with snorting a huge line of the same chemicals the characters in this addicting novel were so fond of. And if you extend that metaphor out further, you'd eventually realize that each "line" of amphetamine that was heartily devoured in this story could be compared to the reader devouring each line of text in the same addicted manner.
"Radboy" thinks differently than anyone he knows. He has to, to survive. Only 14, and a deaf-mute, he lives moment to moment on the street, never sure where his life is taking him. He fled his abusive father, but not before his father attempts to kill him for falsely testifying against him in the "accidental" death of Radboy's mother. He is rescued and taken in by "Jonnyboy", another street survivor, and sworn "meth" addict...or tweeker. Jonnyboy and Radboy become good and fast friends, mainly because on the street, there aren't many you can trust. Through Jonnyboy, Radboy learns quickly the ways to survive, and is introduced to Jonnyboy's various friends, whom Radboy takes to hanging out with when Jonnyboy disappears for days at a time.
The story is told solely from the perspective of Radboy in a hyperkinetic narrative that free-associates its way to a brutal and nail-biting climax. The narrative device is at first off-putting, but lends itself perfectly to the story once the rhythm is found. We find ourselves following Radboy and his exploits almost as if we ourselves are amped up on speed and anxious for action. In this, his first novel, Kief Hillsbery delivers a fantastic new perspective to the world around us, and wraps it up in a tidy moral story about trust, real family, and friendship. I eagerly await his next book!


Perlman's Ordeal
Perlman's Ordeal
von Brooks Hansen
  Gebundene Ausgabe

3.0 von 5 Sternen A JOURNEY WITHOUT A DESTINATION, 8. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Perlman's Ordeal (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Dr. August Perlman does not like surprises. His well-ordered world does not accomodate anything for which he has not carefully planned. The only thing in his life in which he allows himself to be at all whimsical, is when he's surrounded by classical music. In fact, that is his one true passion, but even then he struggles to find the meaning...the ORDER in it. He must fit it into his view of how the world works in order to understand it. It is London, 1906, and the doctor is a pioneer in what he terms "clinical suggestion"...or what we would call hypnotism. He struggles to be successful in an era when clinical psychology is just appearing--and Sigmund Freud has yet to make a name for himself. This is why he only takes on patients with which he is certain of his ultimate success in treatment. That is until Sylvie Blum is brought into his clinic, knocked unconcious by morphine, and accompanied by her father and her nanny. They bring with them a strange tale...the young girl has stopped eating, drinking, or bathing. In fact, she seems to be terrified of water altogether. Thus begins "Perlman's Ordeal". As he struggles to find the source of the young girls trauma, he begins to uncover even stranger information--of the mythical city of Atlantis. His efforts to "cure" the girl are unsuccessful, and lead Perlman (called "pearl-man" by the young girl) down avenues bizarre and disconcerting.
While Brooks Hansen evokes powerful images of time and place, the story itself seems to meander down blind alleys and meaningless streets. The subject matter is intriguing, but never uncovers any untrodden paths. Hansen is adept at writing, and pulling the reader into his story, but once there, are left to wonder why they came in the first place. His characterization is colourful and pleasing...but one wishes these characters had more direction and substance. A good read, but ultimately disappointing.


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