The Thirst by Jo Nesbo – Harry Hole #11

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book I have read in the Harry Hole series. This made me a bit worried since I felt that I would be missing out on a lot of details but a lot of people assured me that I would still enjoy the story as a standalone. With these reassurances, I began my journey into the world of Harry Hole … and here is my review:

In the latest novel featuring Inspector Harry Hole, Harry is hunting down a serial killer who uses Tinder to find his victims. Each victim is a self-declared Tinder addict. On examination of the body, there is only one clue: fragments of rust and paint in her wounds. Harry does not want to get involved with this case; he promised himself that he would never go back into the field. But there’s something about these murders that grabs his attention. Despite his promises, and in spite of all the risks, Harry throws himself back into the chase, in search of the monster who got away.

As someone who is completely unfamiliar with this series, I felt I was at a disadvantage. There were all of these subplots and character interactions that I didn’t feel like I grasped 100%, so my experience fell a bit short. That being said, this is still a very well-written and engaging thriller. I was swept up in the chase from the beginning and could not put this book down. I really liked Harry’s character; he is so flawed yet so perfect in his role as a detective. The mystery itself was really well executed and I enjoyed watching it all come together. All of the characters were well developed and I enjoyed finding out how everyone was connected, even if my understanding was superficial compared to that of a fan of the series. This novel has definitely shown me what I am missing, and you can bet that I will be getting myself into this series as soon as I possibly can!

Happy reading ~

 

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

My favorite stories are the ones that take terrible events or crimes and look at it from a different perspective. It makes one think and connect more to the various players both in the forefront and in the background of the incident. I like these kinds of novels because they make my realize my own prejudices and they force me to open my eyes to the bigger picture. That’s the main reason I was attracted to this novel.

George Woodbury is a much-loved teacher, husband, and father. So it comes as a shock when he is arrested for sexual impropriety at the very school he teaches at. His wife, Joan, is forced into a difficult situation, as the community she loves turns against her. Their daughter, Sadie, who was once a popular over-achiever is now reduced to a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, comes into town to help his father’s defense, but finds painful memories from his teen years are still holding him back. As the family tries to keep themselves together during this difficult time, the question at the back of all of their minds is: did he do it?

While this novel wasn’t perfect, I must say that I really enjoyed it. The story switches into different perspectives throughout the novel with the exception of George, which I found really intriguing. The novel did quite a good job in portraying the difficulties that the family of the accused faces before and after a terrible scandal. The author really showed how people can go from being friends to enemies in the blink of an eye, and how hard it can be for a family to support someone that they love, even while facing the possibility that their loved one is guilty of committing an atrocious crime. In the beginning, I was more interested in finding out whether George was guilty or not but as the story progressed, I found myself empathizing with the members of his family – especially Joan. I think that while Andrew and Sadie were hard to empathize with, Joan was depicted quite nicely as the pillar of support. Her character kept me intrigued and it was with her that I felt the most connected. I wish the author had spent more time developing Sadie and Andrew, since they mostly came off as selfish and sometimes a little stupid. The story does skip around in terms of the time frame but it was necessary; it kept the pace brisk and kept me interested. While the author may not have gotten every legal aspect correct, she did shed light on the struggles that the victims themselves face during a court trial. Being painted as a liar or as someone who has done something to deserve it…. these are terrible accusations especially when the victims are pressing charges regarding a sexual encounter but these accusations really do occur in the real world; the media and even some locals can go against the victims, causing justice to not be served. It was something that the author really honed in on and I’m glad she did because I never really considered this issue before. The ending made me really sad. It highlighted the tragedy that occurs in the justice system and showed how no one really wins. Overall, this novel has a high-impact plot that will make you see things from various different perspectives. I think that the plot and the important issues that are raised by the author are strong enough to overpower the negatives, so this is a novel that I would definitely recommend!

Happy reading ~

Help For the Haunted by John Searles

I have literally been waiting for this book for close to 7 months, which is a VERY long time. Something about the idea of psychics and demonologists is just so enticing that I can’t help but grab any book on that topic. This novel is no exception.

Sylvie’s parents have an unusual career: they are demonologists. Aside from nation-wide conferences where they speak about their experiences, they also are called to help people who believe they or someone they live are possessed. It isn’t unusual to get late night calls so Sylvie isn’t perturbed when her parents take her with them to meet someone in a church. She is surprised when she hears gunshots – shots that kill her parents. Through a narrative that entwines the past with the present, Sylvie must uncover the secrets of her family in order to discover the identity of the killer.

At first, I thought this novel would be very much about possession and demons and exorcisms. It is not. It is about family secrets and ties, the way the media can destroy a family, and the power of belief. Although this novel deviated from my initial expectations, I still enjoyed it immensely. It was told from a naive child’s perspective, which made the novel that much more heartbreaking. The characters that I admired in the beginning were the ones I hated at the end and vice versa. The story was extremely complex and touched on a multitude of issues that really brought the story together. All in all, a great novel and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a complex thrill.

Happy reading ~

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Another Neil Gaiman novel! I’m sure you’re all sick and tired of hearing me gush about him but I really must say that his work is fantastic and definitely worth checking out. Every time I read a book by him, I get something unexpected out of it!

Shadow is a quiet man who is on his last stretch at prison. It’s been three years and now that he is about to be released, all he wants is to be reunited with his wife, Laura. But just days before his release, he discovers that she and his best friend have died in a car accident. Now, he is out in the world with nowhere to go and no one whom he can call his family. So when he meets a stranger with an interesting job offer, he agrees to take it. This decision will take him on a journey that he could never have imagined.

This was definitely a different book than the other novels I’ve read by him. For one, it’s much longer. Also, it is decidedly more adult than his other books. It goes on a much deeper level and really makes you think about the way society is today versus the past. This wasn’t my favourite book by him but it was definitely a good read. At times, the story would wind along and I would wonder where it was going. However, the plot was strong and everything that happened in the story was  important. All in all, it was a really good read and I recommend this to anyone looking for something deep!

Happy reading ~