"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman

Jean Zimmerman's captivating writing style, accompanied by brilliant character development and incredibly thorough research, sets the stage for a smashing literary success from the first page. Zimmerman's linguistic wizardry, delivered through the mouth of narrator Hugo Delegate, had me mesmerized from the first page. 

The characters in Savage Girl are so dynamic and well developed, even days after I've finished the novel I expect I might meet them on the street. I might see Hugo at the bookstore, the Sage Hen buying yarn at the discount shop. I remained engaged in the tale until just after halfway where the story loses its momentum and lost my attention. After such a gripping beginning my disappointment at this unraveling was exponential. I went so far as to take time off from Savage Girl and read another novel. After a short interlude I resumed and pushed through and I'm so glad I did! Zimmerman picks it back up and the last 100 pages are a roller coaster ride of climactic conclusions and unexpected revelations, reaffirming her storytelling genius.

I've not yet enjoyed Zimmerman's 2012 publication, The Orphanmaster: A Novel of Early Manhattan, but I intend to do so soon. I am anxious to find out if the waxing and waning of momentum is characteristic of Zimmerman's writing style or if that approach is limited to Savage Girl. I would recommend Savage Girl to any fans of historical fiction, encouraging potential readers to stick with it, even when it seems as if it's going nowhere for too long. The reader's tenacity is rewarded with a heart-thumping ending!

You will find an official plot line description at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17987214-savage-girl?from_search=true

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun

I wasn't able to successfully tie all the elements of this novel into a cohesive plot line. I liked the characters and the ending contained several surprises I didn't expect but there are key components that never conclude as well as characters who receive significant introduction but never appear again after that. An abstract novel with a number of fascinating characters, each with a story to tell, but a miss if you're looking for an engaging tale with a discernible introduction, climax, and conclusion. I left this book not really knowing what it's about, even after turning the last page. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

My favorite by Jo Nesbø so far! I was captivated by this thrilling mystery and could not put it down! I am continuously impressed by his imagination and the clever way he executes the tiniest of details so one seemingly minor element of the story unravels the whole mystery. No detail is unimportant when I'm enjoying Nesbø's work. An offhand remark, the crossed arms of an acquaintance-it can all come back to mean something so I find myself really trying to focus and remember all those little things that become integral parts to a very clever story. I'm not much of a mystery solver by nature so the ending always takes me by surprise but my extra attention is rewarded when I can view, as a whole, the tapestry of terror and suspense Nesbø creates with his myriad of tiny, seemingly unimportant details. If he can't teach me to think more like Sherlock Holmes, I'm sure that endeavor is a lost cause :-P. And I can't help but love main man, Harry Hole. He's a beautiful mess, whom I've loved getting to know through the series. 

The miss on the 5-star rating is not the fault of the author. I struggle with the Norwegian names and have an incredibly difficult time keeping track of the characters and who did what to whom. This added struggle to keep everything straight keeps me from being totally encompassed by the tale as I try to stay clear on who everyone is. 

I'm forcing myself to read a few others before I start the next in this series, lest it be over too soon...

You will find an official plot line description at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9572203-the-snowman.