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Sunday, December 24, 2017

3-2-1 Chapter Review for He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly

3-2-1 Chapter Review for He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly.

He Said/She Said is about the alleged rape of Beth Taylor, described from the perspective of the witnesses Laura and Kit who testify in the court case.  Kit and Laura are eclipse followers and this thread is interwoven with the story line.  I picked this book for my own birthday treat – mainly because it mentioned there was a twist.  I like a good twist; when dancing, but especially when reading.  So far the writing style has been as rich as I love it to be and I can’t wait to get on with the rest of the book. Here’s my 3-2-1 Chapter One Review.

The Good – Erin Kelly uses such a rich, descriptive language and the words are carefully chosen to match the locale, as in ‘the institutional clatter of doors opening and closing’

The Good – A great build of the mystery and threat on the horizon and yet they have such friendly sounding names; Beth and Jamie.

The Good – I loved the little double poke at psychotherapists and IKEA where Kelly describes their thoughts towards their IKEA couch being a sacred confessional.  We all know IKEA thinks this too!

The Bad – Possibly too many mystery angles for the first chapter.  One of the descriptions left me wondering if Laura had a sex change.

The Bad – The epilogue (not named) is set at the Court house and refers to the female first person being a witness. It ends with ‘How did it come to this? How did we get here? How will it end?’  Then we start the first chapter to find that it’s after the trial has happened rather than an explanation of how we came to this or how we got here.  Just a little confusing.

The Beautiful – ‘High ceilings catch your words and throw them back in different shapes.’

Sunday, December 3, 2017

3-2-1 Chapter Review for Murder at Wrotham Hill by Diana Souhami

3-2-1 Chapter Review for Murder at Wrotham Hill by Diana Souhami.

Murder at Wrotham Hill tells the true story of the killing of a woman in 1946.  The whole country has been surrounded by death caused by World War II and now yet another death is on their doorsteps.  With so much upheaval and loss from the war, should this murder have mattered?  Here’s my 3-2-1 Chapter One Review.

The Good – Souhami gives us an interesting insight into the background of the time, where people are coming from and the attitudes of the time.  We see how people are still influenced by law, religion, culture and in particularly World War II

The Good – I like the way the cost of living at the time has been integrated quite smoothly into the descriptions of the murder and surroundings.

The Good – Descriptions of Dr Cedric Keith Simpson, the pathologist, were the most energetic of all the characters.  There was a swing and a swagger to it in line (I hope) with his personality.  It made me want to hear more from him.

The Bad – The subtext on how to pronounce Wrotham (root’em) was useful, but I found it distracting from the magic of the opening sentence.  Would it have been awful for us to mispronounce it in our heads?

The Bad – I found the writing very staccato.  It’s almost like a list of evidence or the sequence of events taken from a Detectives notebook.  It will be interesting to see if the next chapters follow suit.  It was closer to prose when giving background information.

The Beautiful – (about Keith Simpson) ‘His patients, he said, never complained, and if their symptoms proved perplexing he could always put them back in the fridge and return to them later.’

Thursday, April 7, 2016

3-2-1 Chapter Review for The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

3-2-1 Chapter Review for The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas.

The story of Cornelius van Baerle, a simple member of the Dutch gentry whose only passion is to grow the perfect specimen of a black tulip.  Set in 17th Century Holland, Cornelius is the closest thing they had to a geek.  He gets caught up in his godfather’s political minefield and ends up being sentenced to death.  It is while he’s in prison that Rosa, the jailor’s daughter, winds up holding the key to his survival and the fulfilment of his desire.  In spite of time’s transition I found The Black Tulip a very exciting, insightful and humorous read.  Here’s my 3-2-1 Chapter One Review.

The Good – Dumas built the tension extremely well with a magnificent comic timing.

The Good – Count Tilly, the Captain of the mounted troops, was my favourite character and loved his gentle taunting of the angry crowds.

The Good – The first chapter (and proceeding) is written with such an easy style you feel like you’ve been friends forever and he’s filling you in on a rather exciting day.

The Bad – Even though he explains it’s necessary to give the history I think the main protagonist should have been introduced in the first chapter as well as Rosa.

The Bad – The brothers are portrayed as perfect in every way, which is hardly possible.  I suppose their naivety could be counted as a failing.

The Beautiful – ‘Whereupon the jailer, a sort of bear, trained to lock and unlock the gates of the prison…’

Saturday, September 19, 2015

3-2-1 Chapter Review for The Dinner by Herman Koch

3-2-1 Chapter Review for The Dinner by Herman Koch.

Two couples go to dinner and it unfolds that together their respective teenage sons committed a violent crime, though their identities have yet to be discovered by anyone else besides the parents.

I joined a newly formed book club at work and this was the first on the list.  Although, I enjoyed it as a whole it didn’t match the hype in my opinion. Perhaps it was lost in translation. Nevertheless, my 3-2-1 Chapter One Review.

The Good – The first chapter has a quite delicate cynicism which was easy to read, particularly the part about how historians could measure this society by articles about the ‘top’ restaurants.

The Good – The imagery of Serge Lohman (the main character’s politician brother) walking into a restaurant with an air of ‘please carry on, don’t mind me’ was quite humorous and entertained me.

The Good – Using what the narrator found negative to give us an idea of what this person’s character was cleverly done.

The Bad – I found the opening writing a tad jerky. Again this could be down to the translation from Dutch to English.

The Bad – Again with the restaurants! After a point I got fed up with listening to the character’s gripes about pretentious restaurants and I just wanted to get on with the story.  The first chapter is admittedly short, but the complaining continues pretty much throughout the book.

The Beautiful - 'I won’t say which restaurant, because next time it might be full of people who’ve come to see whether we’re there.'