Posted in Michael Crichton

Airframe by Michael Crichton

Synopsis:

The twin jet plane en route to Denver from Hong Kong is merely a green radar blip half an hour off the California coast when the call comes through to air traffic control:

‘Socal Approach, this is TransPacific 545. We have an emergency.’ The pilot requests priority clearance to land – then comes the bombshell – he needs forty ambulances on the runway.

But nothing prepares the rescue workers for the carnage they witness when they enter the plane.

Ninety-four passengers are injured. Three dead. The interior cabin virtually destroyed.

What happened on board Flight TPA 545?

Review:

I always loved those TV shows with aircraft disasters so when I read the description of this book, it was impossible not to put it in my cart. And I did like it, but honestly, not as much as I thought I would. Probably if it would have been at least a hundred pages shorter, the whole reading experience would have been much more enjoyable. But the way it is, I just found it to have way, way too many technical details for a casual reader. Of course, whenever a writer is choosing a topic that he’s not familiar with, he needs to gather as much information as possible in order to deliver a realistic story. But I feel like Michael Crichton overdid it in Airframe. Probably the people working as pilots or in aircraft engineering would find the book extremely accurate and realistic. But a normal reader will be completely lost in the never ending load of acronyms and technical items and aircraft pieces, no matter how well the author tried to explain them. It’s just too much and with every new details your interest drops a little.

Yes, I finished the book and no, it wasn’t a disappointment. But I honestly felt it more like a burden than a pleasure, since for every good twist you have to pay by enduring pages of useless details.

The last quarter of the novel starts having a faster rhythm, the accent falls more and more on the action instead of descriptions so you will probably find yourself reading it with more curiosity and excitement.

I can’t talk about the characters, because they felt more like chess pawns arranged in a way meant to deliver the storyline. We get a minimum amount of information about them, as the whole attention is centered mainly around the events. I got the sensation that the investigation of what happened on the Flight TPA 545 is both the story and the main character of the book and not the persons involved in it.

Airframe is a pretty good story but be warned that you need to prepare your mind with all the patience you can possibly gather in order to get over the scores and scores of technical terms to really get to enjoy the book.

Posted in Nina Laurin

The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin

Synopsis:

“Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.”

I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference.

My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it’s an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static.

When the voice does finally come, it’s female, low, muffled somehow. “Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is.”

A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She’s not just in my head.

A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It’s Colleen.

Review:

Oh, how confused I felt during the reading of this book…

It starts as a classic family thriller, with a growing feeling of unhappiness, in contrast to the dreams of joy that the main character had when she got married to the one who looked like the ideal husband. And then, slowly, things start to change and you get the feeling that something is wrong, although you cannot really put your finger on what exactly it is. The heroine starts acting weirder than the situation would ask for, normal things begin to look shady, the characters keep changing colors from white to black and vice versa from one chapter to another.

At some point, I was annoyed with the heroine, thinking she’s overreacting and going paranoid for absolutely nothing. Because we’re getting the whole story from her point of view, for a while things don’t seem to make sense, everything is foggy and unclear.

Not until the perspective changes and all of a sudden, boom! Here comes the shocking truth and after that, everything is spiraling out of control, all the puzzle pieces start falling in the right places and you discover a whole new story, in a way you couldn’t have predicted in a million years.

Posted in Michelle Campbell

It’s Always The Husband by Michelle Campbell

Synopsis:

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

Review:

There’s always something dark inside of us that makes us curious about the lives of others. About the things that are wrong, about what hides under a presumably fake perfect image, about what they’re trying to hide. Probably that’s why gossip is a universal human habit that we hate and love at the same time. Even if we’re trying to be decent humans and avoid it as much as possible, we’ll still do it with our closest ones, feeling a bit guilty, but honestly speaking, so damn satisfied.

This is probably one of the reasons why domestic thrillers have always been successful. They give you the chance to take a peek inside the lives of others, inside their secrets, their complicated relations, their controversial decisions and the reasons behind them.

Perhaps for the readers that are choosing this kind of novels for the adrenaline, for the murder mystery (this is not a spoiler – all of these thrillers are usually built around a murder or disappearance) and for the puzzle they have to decipher in order to find out who’s the guilty one, It’s Always The Husband will feel extremely slow paced or even boring. The book follows the group of three frenemies since they first met in university, until 20 years later, when faith brings them together again, despite their complicated, so-called friendship and all the sins from the past they’ve been trying to forget.

I loved the author’s way of taking her time to develop the story, to describe the unlikely friendship that starts between these so, so different girls, to show you how much hate and frustration can gather behind the bonds that we grow with the people in our lives.

The most interesting part is that none of the characters are flawless, they’re all making mistakes, some more often than others, some only one, big mistake that will mark their destinies forever. They’re not very likeable characters, they’re young, unexperienced, damaged, auto destructive and prone to do the most stupid things. I assume that most of the time the readers will judge them and won’t understand their reasons, but in the same time, there’s something absolutely fascinating in following their actions and seeing all the ways in which people fuck up their lives and how they have to pay for decades for the choices they make when they’re just young and stupid. You dislike and disagree with each of the main characters, you might consider yourself completely uninterested in whatever happens to them, but I doubt any reader will actually put down the book without finishing it. There’s something compelling about it, a magnetism in the story that forces you to turn another page, to finish just one more chapter. And this happens way before knowing how twisted the story will become, way before the crime will take place and you’ll start questioning what in the world happened that night and who’s responsible for it.

Posted in B.A. Paris, Uncategorized

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Synopsis:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Review:

I’ve always had “genre phases”. I would start reading a certain type of books and wouldn’t stop for weeks or months, until my brain is suffocated by that genre till I’m finally ready to move to something else. Lately, I noticed that I’m craving for psychological thrillers and my shelves slowly started gathering such kind of books.

I picked up Behind Closed Doors running through an airport, almost impulsively, barely reading the synopsis from the last cover and devoured the first half of the book during my flight. I kind of loved it, but there are some things that kept bugging me, although I find it pretty difficult to identify them clearly.

From the first pages (and obviously, from the synopsis), you realize that under the illusion of perfection, something is very, very wrong in the marriage of Jack and Grace. The author doesn’t let you wonder for too long, as she starts showing you the darkness that lies behind that perfect couple. You’re jumping with every chapter from the past to the present and both of them look just as terrible, without any traces of salvation, without any hopes of escaping. There’s not a single moment when you can relax and not feel ice flowing through your veins, never knowing what to expect, always assuming something even worse is going to happen.

Despite the satisfaction that I felt while reading it, I got a sense of disturbance, something kept bothering me. I feel like the story was built on a successful recipe without adding any extra flavors to it. Yes, the characters have a background that would explain why their personalities got so twisted. Yes, there is an aftermath that you’re even scared to think about. Yes, the suspense is on its highest. But all of these elements seem somehow shallow, like there’s too little substance to sustain the storyline properly. There are some moments that make no sense, there’s no explanation nor logic behind some of the actions that the main characters do.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a good book. If this is what you are looking for (and I definitely was!), the story will keep you entertained, holding your breath, waiting for the next move and knowing that every moment passing will throw the heroine even deeper in despair and further from salvation. But for me, the novel didn’t make me step in the characters’ shoes, didn’t transfer me to their world. Perhaps it will be different for you but personally, I couldn’t stop feeling the whole time that it’s just a story. A good one, yes, but… just a story.

Posted in Robert Galbraith

Viermele de matase (seria Cormoran Strike, volumul 2) – Robert Galbraith

Viermele de matase - Robert GalbraithDisponibil la: Editura TREI 

Colectia: Fiction Connection

Traducerea: Ciprian Siulea

Numar pagini: 640

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Sinopsis:

Cand scriitorul Owen Quine dispare, sotia lui apeleaza la detectivul particular Cormoran Strike. La inceput, femeia crede ca sotul ei a plecat pentru ca a vrut pur si simplu sa fie singur cateva zile — asa cum a mai facut inainte — si ii cere lui Strike sa-l gaseasca si sa-l aduca acasa.

Dar, pe masura ce ancheta lui Strike inainteaza, devine limpede ca disparitia lui Quine implica mai multe decat si-ar fi imaginat sotia lui. Scriitorul tocmai a finalizat un manuscris in care face cate un portret necrutator aproape fiecarei persoane pe care o cunoaste. Daca romanul ar fi publicat, ar distruge vieti — asadar, sunt multi care ar vrea sa-l reduca la tacere pe Quine.

Iar cand scriitorul este gasit ucis cu brutalitate in imprejurari stranii, pentru Strike devine o cursa contracronometru sa inteleaga ce l-a impins pe ucigasul nemilos sa comita acea crima atroce…

Oferind o poveste ce se citeste pe nerasuflate, cu rasturnari de situatie la tot pasul, Viermele de matase este al doilea roman din mult apreciata serie care ii are drept protagonisti pe detectivul Cormoran Strike si pe tanara si curajoasa lui asistenta, Robin Ellacott.

Robert Galbraith este pseudonimul lui J.K. Rowling.

Parerea mea:

Mi-a placut mult primul volum al seriei Cormoran Strike insa fara sa ma fascineze neaparat asa cum reusesc unele carti sa o faca. Am admirat mai degraba modul in care autoarea si-a construit personajele, pe care le-am iubit cu adevarat, relatiile dintre ele, cadrul si suspansul, mi-am dorit sa citesc si urmatoarele romane din serie, insa nu m-am simtit dependenta de poveste, nu mi-am dorit ca in secunda urmatoare sa pun deja mana pe o continuare. Prin urmare, nu m-am asteptat atunci cand am inceput Viermele de matase sa stau treaza pana dimineata pentru a o termina, asa cum s-a intamplat.

Poate ca acest lucru se datoreaza faptului ca de data aceasta, misterul pe care detectivul Cormoran Strike il are de descifrat are loc in lumea editoriala, lume pe care, cu siguranta, oricare cititor inrait o va gasi fascinanta. Sau poate ca, pur si simplu mi-a fost mai dor decat credeam de cele doua personaje indragite, Cormoran si Robin.

Autoarea nu se dezminte nici de aceasta data si construieste personaje – principale si secundare – la fel de fascinante si credibile ca si in primul volum. Pline de realism, incarcate de defecte, conduse de pasiuni arzatoare, ascunzand secrete vechi, personajele din Viermele de matase te impresioneaza tocmai prin asemanarea fascinanta cu oamenii pe care ii intalnesti zi de zi. Iar cei doi protagonisti ajung parca sa iti fie si mai dragi, cu atat mai mult cu cat in acest volum patrunzi tot mai adanc in viata personala a acestora, le cunosti mai indeaproape motivatiile, dezamagirile si visele.

Suspansul se creeaza treptat, autoarea avand grija sa intercaleze fire secundare care iti distrag atentia de la cel principal dar care, in acelasi timp, ofera o imagine mai completa a vietii personajelor, a modului in care decurge fiecare zi pentru acestia, a felului in care incearca sa faca fata tuturor incercarilor si sa jongleze cu dificultatile care le apar in drum. Desi numarul de personaje este destul de mare, nu ai nicio problema in a le retine inca de la inceput pe fiecare si in a le intelege tot mai bine caracterele pe masura ce dai paginile.

Surprizele se tin lant si cu fiecare nou capitol, noi si noi scenarii se nasc si se desfac in mintea ta. Iar ceea ce parea a fi o strategie stupida de auto-promovare al unui artist nebun se transforma intr-un joc macabru, al carui papusar se dovedeste a fi unul de-a dreptul diabolic.

Imi place mult faptul ca, desi Cormoran si Robin sunt amandoi inteligenti si abili, nu ai nicio secunda senzatia ca sunt construiti pe modelul acela al detectivului genial care rezolva totul pornind de la un indiciu aproape invizibil. Dimpotriva, le esti martor la nenumarate incercari esuate, le simti frustrarea atunci cand anumite urme duc intr-o fundatura, le vezi fiecare esec si observi cum anumite dezamagiri par a-i bloca si a-i descuraja mai degraba de a-i motiva sa mearga tot inainte. Un alt aspect interesant este faptul ca orgoliul nu ii opreste din a cere ajutor celor din jur atunci cand usile li se inchid in fata si tocmai acest sprijin din exterior este unul dintre cei mai importanti factori ce duc la rezolvarea cazului.

Daca sunteti asadar in cautarea unui roman politist inteligent construit, cu personaje credibile, cu lupte interioare fascinante si cu un fir narativ incalcit si provocator, Viermele de matase este exact ceea ce va trebuie.

Multumesc mult Editurii Trei pentru ca mi-a oferit sansa de a parcurge acest volum captivant.

Bile albe:

– Modul in are autoarea intercaleaza elemente din viata personala a protagonistilor cu cele din viata lor profesioanala, oferindu-ti o poveste complexa, pe care cu greu o poti lasa din mana.

Bile negre:

– Desi impecabil realizat, secretul pe care il aflam la final mi s-a parut totusi destul de des intalnit in povestile mystery care se desfasoara in lumea editoriala si in ciuda faptului ca romanul nu m-a dezamagit nicio clipa, am ramas totusi cu senzatia ca as fi asteptat poate ca identitatea criminalului sa fie una diferita.