Monday, June 30, 2014

the ice princess

the ice princess
camilla lackberg
published 2010

A grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village.  Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of Fjallbacka, Sweden, after her parents' deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It's Erica herself who finds Alex's body - suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed.  Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life?  Teaming up with police detective Patrik Hedstrom, Erica comes to light, Erica and Patrik's curiosity gives way to obsession - and their flirtation grows into uncontrollable attraction.  But it's not long before one thing becomes very clear: a deadly secret is at stake, and there's someone out there who will do anything - even commit murder - to protect it.

Camilla Lackberg's The Ice Princess was hailed to be a good book for fans of Stieg Larsson and while it was a decent story, it was no The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Translated from Swedish, I think there were times when something was lost in translation or something was explained too much due to the translation.

I think it was a little over halfway through the book when one sentence caused the whole thing to click for me and I knew who and why.  At that point it made the second half of the book unbearably slow.  It just seemed like it took a really long time to wrap up loose ends and even after the killer is revealed and arrested there was still a while before the book finished.

The other thing that bothered me was the unfinished business with Erica's sister and brother-in-law.  I kept waiting for that to happen and it never did so I felt like I was left hanging there.  Seeing as this is a series I suppose eventually it will get figured out, but it still bugged me.  I'll give it one more book and see how I feel then.

Friday, June 13, 2014

field of prey

field of prey
lucas davenport #24
john sandford
published 2014

The night after Fourth of July, Layton Burns, Jr., of Red Wing, Minnesota, finally got lucky.  And unlucky.

He'd picked the perfect spot to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, and abandoned farmyard in the middle of cornfields: nice, private and quiet.  The only problem was ... something smelled bad, like, really bad.  He mentioned it to a county deputy he knew, and when the cop took a look, he found a body stuffed down a cistern.  And then another, and another.

By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, the police were up to fifteen bodies, and counting.  And as if that wasn't bad enough, when Lucas began to investigate, he made some disturbing discoveries of his own.  The victims had been killed over a great many years, one every summer, regular as clockwork.  How could this have happened without anybody noticing?

Because one thing was for sure: The killer had to live close by.  He was probably even someone they saw every day.

I love these books.  I love these books so much I'm considering blowing off all the books I have started reading and just going back to Rules of Prey and start the whole series over again.  Honestly, they really do just get better and better.  After Stolen Prey and Letty's amazing freaking amazing-ness (there's really no words for how much I love Letty) and then the appearance of Kidd & Lauren in Silken Prey I really didn't imagine that things would get even better, but they did.

Here's why John Sandford is such a perfect story teller: He tells a slow burner story.  There is this HUGE case in Red Wing and Lucas isn't even the head investigator.  He's the heavy.  He's the one Rose Marie sends in to get shit done.

So he's doing.  And usually he's doing with Del, Jenkins or Shrake along for the ride, but this time there's stuff going on all over the place and everyone, including Virgil are off on other cases.  So Lucas is poking around.  And the whole time you know who the killer is.  You know how close and how far they are from him.  But everything is taking time.  Lucas jumps to the wrong conclusions, makes assumptions that are close, but not right.  He gets the guy, right there, but then skips right over him.  And you, as the reader are thinking, holy crap!  He's RIGHT THERE!

But you're not mad, because if you've read a Lucas Davenport book you know he'll get it done.

So you wait.  And while things are moving slowly you aren't frustrated or bored.  Sandford somehow makes the mundane interesting.  In the middle of the giant case, Lucas goes home so he can go shopping to buy new shoes.  But that's how real life works.  Cases don't get solved right away.  Sometimes months go by.  Sometimes cases go cold.

But then shit hits the fan.  And it isn't even anything to do with what you think it should be, but damn it, I'm invested.  I'm invested in all of these people.  For most of them, I've been with them for 20 years.  They're like my book friends.

So some shit hits the fan, but then all of a sudden, ALL of the shit hits the fan and I've got 88 more pages to go and I'm slapping my legs, bouncing up and down, pulling my hair, everything but biting my nails.  And it is so intense that when it's over I feel drained.  I feel relief and I feel spent.

Lucas is flawed.  And he's bent and twisted and ruthless.  But he is good and dependable and loyal and a fucking maniac.  And damnit I love Weather.  I love that she knows this man so well and loves him for it, expects nothing less than who he is, what he's capable of.

There is no better author out there.  None.

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