Tag Archives: Crime Fiction

Review: Fever Dream

Fever Dream Book Cover 

Fever Dream
By Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing
May 2010
405pp 

The Short of It:

A solid addition to the Special Agent Pendergast series. It contains all of the witty anecdotes that I’ve come to expect from Pendergast, but it’s also a bit of a page-turner.

 The Rest of It:

I have a long-standing love affair with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Years ago…I picked-up Relic, which was book #1 in the series and since then, I’ve been enjoying the series every couple of years. There have been a few misses, so I consider these books guilty pleasures and nothing more. However, every once in a while I am reminded how good they are. This is one such case.

Fever Dream is about Special Agent Pendergast and his discovery that his wife’s death, years ago, may not have been the accident he imagined it to be. You see, he knew she was mauled by a lion while game hunting in Africa, but what he didn’t know is that his wife’s rifle, her only means of protection, was filled with blanks.  With this new piece of information, he sets out to find the true killer.

What makes these books special are the characters. Pendergast is a rather refined individual. Not your typical FBI agent. There are lots of asides and witticisms that are quite enjoyable. On the other hand, D’Agosta, his liaison in the police department is not as refined and a bit more stereotypical so the contrast between the two is quite entertaining.

Overall, Fever Dream was a quick read and provided a much-needed distraction but wasn’t all “fluff” and pat endings. If you shy away from crime fiction because of the million little details or mystery because of the formulaic quality of it, then I think you will like this one.

It should be noted as well, that it really doesn’t matter which order you read these books in. They are all pretty much stand-alone pieces.

Source: Purchased for Duckie (My Kindle)

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Book Cover)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
By Stieg Larsson
Knopf
May 2010
576pp

The Short of It:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is at once edgy and endearing. Edgy in that you often can’t believe what you just read, and endearing in that no matter what the main characters do or say, you still look forward to spending some time with them.

The Rest of It:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the final book in Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. The series is all over the internet, so I don’t feel the need to go into details over what it’s about, but for those of you who have not read any of the books, I will tell you this, it’s well-written crime fiction with a kick-ass protagonist. If you need the summary, click here to read it.

The series as a whole can be a bit graphic. There is a lot of sexual violence towards women and there’s lesbianism and some language too, but for some reason you just sort of take it all in without balking too much about it.

Since my thoughts are all over the place with this book, I am going to highlight a few items:

  • The background history on how SIS came into being (which is sort of Sweden’s version of the CIA), was interesting at times. I felt that it went on way too long though. There was just too much detail and it dragged during these parts.
  • Lisbeth is still one of my fave female protagonists. She’s complex and simple at the same time. Complex because only a few can figure her out, but as you read and really get to know her, you realize how simple her needs and wants are. She is a no-frills kind of gal. Lovers of Lisbeth might get frustrated with her lack of involvement in the first half of the novel.
  • Mikael Blomkvist is still the womanizer of books past, but he’s so damn likable and apparently very good in bed because the women just flock to him. I love his matter-of-fact style when it comes to relationships.
  • Erika Berger plays a slightly larger role in this book. I love Erika. Another strong female. I can see why Mikael and her hook-up every now and then.
  • Larsson’s use of small, insignificant details was a bit distracting this time around. Right in the middle of the story of the century, he’ll stop to describe the sandwich that Mikael makes, or the type of electronic device that Lisbeth uses (brand, model, etc.). These mundane details were out of place. I thought this especially odd since these characters are not new to the series. Plus, the mention of specific pieces of equipment sort of dates the story in my opinion.
  • There were too many “E” names and with similar spellings to boot. I had to really concentrate to keep them all straight. I found myself frustrated by this more than once.
  • The story wrapped up too quickly at the end. Another blogger reminded me that this was meant to be book three in a ten book series before the author passed away. I suppose everything had to be tied-up quickly since it was the end of the line for the series.

In the end, I felt a tad disappointed with Hornet. To me, it was the weakest book of the series but it did answer quite a few questions that were left hanging in the previous books. BUT, even with that, I still enjoyed it quite a bit and the series is definitely worth reading.

Source: This review copy was provided by the publisher.