Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kind of Cruel, by Sophie Hannah

Kind of Cruel is a complex mystery by British author Sophie Hannah.  It’s an interesting book in that it has absolutely no sympathetic characters, but a very compelling mystery that moves the story along.  
Kind of Cruel demands that you pay close attention because it is told in shifting first person narratives, and the characters lie not only to themselves but to you as well.  The themes are especially interesting, with subtle emotional abuse and the damage it takes on people well into their adulthood and how it affects their personal development and interpersonal relations.  

The mystery of the murders, and a mysterious christmas disappearance and reappearance by several family members years ago are extremely intriguing and hidden behind a wall of unreliable memories and subconcious inferences.  The unraveling of the mysteries and the unwinding of the memories are both fascinating.

There are a number of red herrings that may turn off some people, and a complete cadre of fairly unlikeable characters.  While unlikeable, they are interesting and the ultimate payoff is both satisfying and a little chilling.  Recommended read.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp

Nothing Lasts Forever is the book that the movie Die Hard was based on.  This is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book, but the book is still solid in its own right.  Fans of the movie will appreciate those ways in which the movie closely followed the book and may also appreciate the ways in which the movie improved on the book.  It’s difficult to write a review without comparing the two.

One of the ways the book feels limited is in its confinement exclusively to the first person perspective of the hero, Joe Leland.  There is a lot of action going on around Joe, but much of it is only seen secondhand and motives are often surmised or interpreted.  Nothing Lasts Forever is darker than the movie and a little sadder.  

The book provides a lot of action even if it seems quite dated.  Joe Leland is a solid, everyman sort of protagonist and easy to root for.  I would compare this book to First Blood, by David Morrell.  Morrell’s book is the better book and stands the test of time better, but both are solid stories on their own and worthwhile experiences for fans of the movie who are interested in the original story and how it compares.  Recommended read.

I was fortunate to receive a review copy through netgalley.