Review: Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago. – via Goodreads

Okay. Uhm, let’s see. Two Nights. Uhm… no. This just wasn’t my thing. It could have been, but it wasn’t, and I should have known better seeing as this is a Reichs novel, and I have never actually enjoyed anything I have read from her. I thought this would be different, as a standalone and not part of her Temperance Brennan series, but boy, I was wrong.

I absolutely could not stand the lead character, Sunnie. Or her stupid freaking name (Sunday Night – I am not even kidding). Or her horrendous sense of humour. She was a gruff character, and not in the good way. She annoyed me, she did not come across and broken or strong or a survivor, but a whiny brat. Also, stupid little details that Reichs insisted on highlighting – such as exactly which shade of OPI Sunnie was wearing on her nails was just grating. I did not like the way the book was written, either. Certain phrases were constantly recycled (the biggest offender was “pro that I am”). So many of the sentences are short and snippy, which makes for staccato reading, nothing smooth. Just jarring.

The books dawdles and runs in circles the whole time, and there are massive chunks of time dedicated to, well, nothing happening. Just repetitive waiting, waiting, waiting, and I just couldn’t stand it. I think the best thing about this mess was Gus, and he was not featured nearly as much as he could have been. Another thing? The history of Gus and Sunnie had so much more potential than was realised in the book. This really could have been the something to draw us in. Instead the constant hinting but no real payoff really just got under my skin. Yes, it really seems that this whole book got under my skin, and it did.

Two Nights is sloppily written, filled to the brim with hateful characters, and has a rather thin story stretched out to within an inch of its life. It is dull and a total waste of time, and took me forever to slog through. Definitely not a book I enjoyed or could recommend. I am not a fan of Reichs and her work, though many people seem to love her stuff.

Review: Death du Jour – Kathy Reichs

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kathy-reichs-death-du-jour-cover

Temperance Brennan #2

This is my eighteenth book in my book challenge, and is the second book in the Temperance Brennan series.

Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is closing up her last few days in Canada before returning to the Carolinas for the new semester. A nun was excavated to be examined for an application of sainthood. Brennan is finishing up the last things when she gets called out to a house fire in St-Jovite. What she discovers there sets her teeth on edge: mangled babies and an old woman shot to death as well as a couple that has been burned to death. Brennan joins in to help out as much as she possibly can before her departure.

Brennan’s sister, Harry, comes in to stay with a few days while completing another one of her new age courses. Brennan does not notice her sister become more withdrawn and completely like herself. One of the nuns rings Brennan, desperately trying to get someone to assist her in locating her niece who has gone missing. Brennan puts detective Luc Claudel on it, who is not impressed at all.

Returning home and starting the new semester, homicide detective Andrew Ryan calls her to inform her that he will be in her neck of the woods for a while when one of their leads turned up a link between Quebec and Saint Helen nearby Brennan. Meeting up with Ryan leads to a grisly discovery of a further two more corpses – they have been there for three weeks. Something seems amiss, and it seems that the cases should be joined together, though they are two countries apart. Their investigation takes them to a group which has all the markings of a cult headed up by charismatic leader Dom Owens.

Suddenly things start to screw out – Harry seems to have gone missing, the cult is overly secretive and all the victims seem to be tying back to Saint Helen and a mysterious man overseas running the show for payments for both St-Jovite and St Helen. Brennan is being strongly warned to stay out of it, yet she continues to dig. Will she and Ryan sort out what is going on? Will they be able to conclude their dealings and stop the ruckus before the body count escalates further?

GRADE 5It is so frustrating to read her books. I keep thinking that they will be getting better in time. I mean I read this one and couldn’t reconcile the fact that she was more upset about her cat being killed than having lost her best friend of many years in the previous book. As though that was not enough, Brennan always seems to have premonitions as to what is going on yet major difficulties pulling it up. Then she spends pages lamenting the fact that something bothered her and she wasn’t quick enough on the uptake to notice what it was and make a difference. Reichs also writes in a rather boring and predictable manner, and overall I am just not particularly keen on it. It is fine to read as a filler between really good reads, and maybe she gets better (after all, this was like the beginning for her), but I still don’t really like her writing style. Also, the heroine Brennan seems to be incredibly selfish, rude, cold and totally unrealistic. I blame her immensely flawed logic. She just sets my teeth on edge, to be honest. Not the strongest character to lead with. Not the worst book of all time, but definitely not tight and flowing and perfect, there is too much lull and boredom and filler crap lining the pages. But wait – there’s more! More French. Truly, if the language is that amazing, write the book in that language. If you are going to put French in it – translate all of it. Bear in mind, readers are there for a story, not a new language and grammar pop quiz. So what if it was mentioned earlier what it was? Repeat it for clarity and what not.

Review: Déjà Dead – Kathy Reichs

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KATHY REICHS DEJA DEAD COVER

Temperance Brennan #1

I have read a few of these books in no particular order over the years – not all of them, but a few, and decided to go back and read them in the correct order and see how I felt about Kathy Reichs’s writing after that. This is the first Temperance Brennan book, and my fifteenth entry to my book challenge.

Dr Temperance Brennan is a the Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec, and is called out one afternoon to check out some bones. A feeling tells her that it will not be an ancient burial, and she is correct. The mutilated corpse of a young woman is dredged from garbage bags that have been dumped. Something seems off to Brennan, but she cannot place what it is. Once in autopsy, she continues to grasp at what is bothering her so much about the most recent corpse.

Soon Brennan is convinced that this case has similarities to one of her older cases, but instead of being met with helpfulness, she is met with hostility. She is an anthropologist, and should not interfere with the detectives’ job. She is angered that they will not take it seriously while they are sure she is cooking up some American serial killer story in her boredom. If no one will help her, she will do it on her own. Painstakingly slowly she starts to tie the cases together, all the while worrying about her best friend Gabby Macaulay and what she may have gotten mixed up in.

More bodies turn up as the days go by, and still no one will hear of her crazy theory. Fighting her own demons as well as the police is not easy when it soon becomes evident that there is a monster on the loose, and he has his sights set on Brennan. Her insistence on looking at all the murders as though committed by the same perpetrator has divided the police force, support for her as well as professional courtesy. Will she be able to tie the cases together as well as get someone to take her claim seriously? Will detective Andrew Ryan take her side, or back up the ever-frustrating and dismissive detective Luc Claudel.

GRADE 6There really are a few things that set my teeth on edge about this book. The content is pretty cool, the execution is at some times lacking a little bit. I don’t like for instance how a character will say something, and all that she will write after it is a name, or how a whole conversation will go on between multiple characters and there is no indication of who is speaking at any given time. Then the French. It is fine when she translates it, but it angers me when it is not. Not everyone can speak French. However, the story was quite interesting, and the anthropology field is majorly interesting.  It is evident that this is a first novel for her, and at some points can get excessively long winded for nothing. Not a terrible first read, but her writing style needs to be tightened up considerably. Also, if you are looking at this expecting a written rehash of the television series, you have to think again. To say that the show is loosely based on this book series is the understatement of the century. Try to keep the two separated when reading.

A few excellent authors

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Authors… you get excellent ones, and you get disappointing ones, and you get mediocre ones. Here are some authors that I enjoyed reading, and will not turn down the opportunity to read.

Karin Slaughter… wow. That is all I can say. And so few people here where I am actually knows who she is, so I don’t really have anyone to discuss the books with. I accidentally found Blindsighted in the back of a closet, gearing up to be chucked out. The book was old and tatty, but its sequel, Kisscut, was also there, and I had nothing else to read. It was crime thriller fiction something or other, that is all I recall thinking when I picked it up and read that she was compared to Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell, both who write decently, although not too consistently, for my taste.

So I bagged them, saving them from certainly being thrown out with the dusty stacks of newspapers piled everywhere. The books could not go, they are not in the same category as the shabby newspapers were. I had no other books to occupy me, and I started with Karin Slaughter’s debut novel. I have one word for her writing style: respect. By the end of the Grant County series I had forgotten they were fictitious characters, and lived on a steady diet of chocolate when I had finished with Skin Privilege.

I have been inexorably drawn to her work since Blindsighted, experienced a spectrum f emotions throughout Kisscut, and that was only the beginning for me. After that there was the Atlanta series, and the two merged together for the Georgia series. I was skeptical about how she would bring two totally different story lines together, yet she does so effortlessly. She is one of my top favourite writers, hands down.

Then there is Stephen King. I will not hear a bad word about him! I know that there are so many that dislike his movies (even though it is apparently forgotten that the Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption are both King creations), and I know that he writes with excruciating detail, and that some might find this to be a bit of a cliché, but Stephen King is a master. I love him!

I cannot remember precisely what my first taste was, but I think it was either Dreamcatcher or Carrie. Either way, I was in love with how this man brought horror and life to the pages of his book. I have read so many of his works and they are rich in detail, description, action, thoughts, everything. You can follow what is happening, the feelings and everything is brought into stark light within the covers of his stories. When you pick up a book by Stephen King, even if the cover was missing, you would know it to be his work!

I started reading his books when I was about eleven years old. I had already whipped through everything in the children’s section and dominated the young adult’s section. The library was nice enough to allow me a card and permission into the adult section. I was stunned. There were gigantic tomes of books with their faraway stories waiting to unfold. I had to know more, and there were horrors, bona fide, true horror books, not the childish ones I had become accustomed to. Naturally, the King shelves dominated the horror section, the closest secondary rival by for space being Dean Koontz. I have started building on my Stephen King collection, but I have a suspicion that it will take a long time to get where I want it to, seeing as it is such a vast compilation.

I spoke of Stieg Larsson in a previous blog that I wrote, and explained my deep seated infatuation with the man and his genius. I maintain that everyone should read his Millennium Trilogy. The story unfurls effortlessly, it keeps you hooked, and nothing can waver your anticipation. You experience the journey as though a part of it. The writing style is smooth and neat, and very well structured. I have been looking for a nice box set, and have as of yet not found anything in my region, which is rather daunting, as I believe these books belong on anyone’s shelf, and I would love to have it as a collected works.

J.K. Rowling is another classic to this list. I wrote a blog on Harry Potter, here, too. But about the author, and how I stumbled upon her books? Wow. Really. I think it one of the best things that I had ever had the fortune of coming across (not that it would have been easy to miss a few years later when it got super popular). I was reading them pretty much since release. My aunt loaned me The Philosopher’s Stone when she heard that I couldn’t get to the library until the weekend. I read the book 4 times before I returned it to her. I was in love. There was this beautiful world, with great people, with crazy adventures, and real lessons. It was amazing.

Obviously, as a child, you read it and you know it is fiction. That did not prevent me from waiting for my very own letter from Hogwarts for years. Alas, it never came, and I was sorely disappointed. I think the Potter series was also great because it gave children something to believe in, to hope for. He had it tough, and he survived it. Things are not always what they seem, and anything can be overcome, and evil does not triumph against those who will fight for the greater good.

I truly enjoy Anne Rice. I loved her Vampire Chronicles, and painstakingly and extremely expensively built that entire collection up from scratch. I love her writing style, but her work is very deep, dark and thought evoking, not light reading to just pass time. The way the characters are introduced and their development is amazing, but I really wish she would have focused a bit more on Armand. He was my favourite character of anyone she had ever written about. He was the strangest one, the most demented, dark and tortured soul ever.

I obviously watched the movies, (Interview With A Vampire and Queen Of The Damned)  but they really are nothing compared to the books. Sad, because if done right the movies could bear so much potential. The first book that I ever read from Anne Rice was The Vampire Armand. I was totally drawn in and besotted with his character. He was perfect… perfectly broken, that is. She really is the Queen of dark, romantic and gothic writing. One thing that she nailed perfectly is realism for vampires, not this twinkly rubbish that we have been submitted to recently. I hope to start on the Lives of the Mayfair Witches soon, as they were rather intriguing to me when they come up in the later novels in the Vampire Chronicles.

This calls for the Distance Book Club again! I would love any author/book suggestions, so throw them along!

Who are some of your favourite authors, and what drew you to them?