Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore [A Review]

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

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   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

Three things struck me as I was reading this book.

One – Bookstores are a safe haven for weirdos. 

Two – Some of the gory parts read almost like something from a  Stephen King book, especially the bits with the “egg-cracking” sounds. Almost.

Three – Marital affairs seem to be the norm here.

Nevertheless, I have to admit I enjoyed the book. Sullivan’s prose flows in a way that makes the book a comfortable read. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what to make of the book, so I’m going to do this review in Q&A format:

Was the pace just right? Yes for a story; no for a mystery/thriller.

Were the characters believable? Yes, mostly, although I thought the descriptions of the emotions that led to the “deeds” were weak and rather lacking.

Was I surprised by who the Hammerman was? Not really.

Did I like the ending? The plot points sort of work, but the ending seemed kind of hastily executed.

VERDICT: I have mixed feelings about this. You might enjoy it more if you go in without any expectations.

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Magpie Murders [A Review]

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

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   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

This is brilliant! Story within a story, two mysteries in one book.

I used to devour Agatha Christie books, and I’ve always liked a good modern whodunit. This book combines both, though I think Horowitz did a better job with the Agatha-Christie-like mystery in it. The puzzles, anagrams and red herrings were clever, and the pace of the story was just right.

Horowitz also used different font types to differentiate not just the two stories, but also different writings by different characters in the book. I think he (or the publisher/editor) did a great job using the right font types to influence the reader’s perception of good and bad writing, old and modern writing.

I really enjoyed the book, and now I’m on a roll to a crime/mystery binge! Oh, and I’m going to get my hands on his latest book.

VERDICT: If you are an Agatha Christie fan and wish that she were still alive to write a new mystery, read this book!

 

Into the Water [A Review]

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

It took me a while to decide to give Hawkins a second try, because I didn’t really like her first book The Girl on the Train, despite its popularity when it came out. I simply found it too dark, and at times I felt like the protagonist – miserable. This probably meant that Hawkins has a real talent for bringing out human emotions and instincts, and succeeded in drawing me into the character’s world, but it was just not my cup of tea.

For this book, however, Hawkins seemed to have pulled back slightly on the dark emotions, and the effect was just right. I have to say I enjoyed it, although the ending was not unpredictable. It’s probably not the best of mysteries, but her superior and intimate writing style just drew me in. Reading has always been about broadening perspectives for me, and the way Hawkins has provided so many angles to the story, while maintaining the pace and plot, is something that I appreciate.

VERDICT: If you read this, read it for the interesting way Hawkins brings out each character. Do not expect to be surprised by the ending.

Release [A Review]

Release, by Patrick Ness

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   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

Patrick Ness is a master of metaphors.

Like A Monster Calls, this book is beautifully written, in a way that’s intimate yet subtle, and fleshes out the characters and plot through powerful dialogues. It’s a short story, but it took me a while to appreciate the emotions and messages that Ness tries to convey through it. And I think it will take me a few re-reads to get it more deeply, because I don’t think I got all of it, especially the link between the Queen, the girl who was murdered and Adam.

I shall not say too much about the book, because I don’t wish to spoil it for anyone who intends to give it a try. And it’s important for one to feel this tale for herself/himself.

VERDICT: This is only for readers who are comfortable with indirect references to the soul of what the writer is trying to express.