Tag Archives: thriller

Review of Arctic Chill, by Arnaldur Indriðason

I borrowed a copy of Arnaldur Indriðason‘s Arctic Chill from the Little Free Library. I was completely thrilled to see a book by an author whose name started with the letter I. I do an alphabet challenge every year and an ‘I’ author is one of the hardest to come up with.

Description from Goodreads:

The Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society.

In this new extraordinary thriller from Gold Dagger Award winner Arnaldur Indridason, the Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society. Meanwhile, the boy’s murder forces Erlendur to confront the tragedy in his own past. Soon, facts are emerging from the snow-filled darkness that are more chilling even than the Arctic night.

Review:

I thought this was interesting in some respects and a little dull in others. Being a book translated from Icelandic, reading the culture from an insider perspective was a treat. So was the atmosphere of the book, all bleak and cold like the environment. Similarly, I felt like (as an American reading an Icelandic book) this isn’t a book an American could write. Certainly we, as a people, struggle with some of the same issues brought up in the book. The immigration arguments could have shown up on any right-wing media outlet here, for example. But the fact that the investigation so quickly and strongly focused on the child’s race would never have passed muster in American fiction, I think. It addresses racism too starkly. Again, interesting.

But at the same time, the vast majority of this book is the detectives going around and asking various people the same questions and getting largely the same answers. It was slow going until a sudden break led to solving the case at the end. All in all, I’d read another Inspector Erlendur book, but I’m not rushing out to do it.

Review of Body Art, by Jordan Castillo Price

cover of Body Art

I received an Audible Code for a copy of Body Art, by Jordan Castillo Price.

Description from Goodreads:

Does everyone have a certain “type” they end up with…whether they want to or not? If Ray Carlucci’s ex is anything to go by, Ray likes his men gorgeous, rebellious, and chock-full of issues. But now that Ray is single again, he has a shot at a fresh start—a very fresh start, since his tattoo shop was gutted by repo men and he can fit all his belongings in the trunk of a taxi.

Ray’s shiny new chauffeur’s license lands him a job as a driver for an elderly couple on Red Wing Island. It’s a cold fall, and since the Michigan island is the summer home to snowbirds who fly south for the winter, it’s practically deserted—save for Ray’s new household and a sculptor named Anton Kopec, who works day and night twisting brambles and twine into the distorted shapes of macabre creatures. Compelling, bizarre, and somewhat disturbing…not just the sculptures, but the artist, too. Ray has a feeling Anton is just his “type.”

Despite their scorching chemistry, when a dead body is unearthed by some workers and a freak ice storm traps them all on the island, Ray can’t say for certain that his new flame isn’t capable of murder.

Review:

A short review for a short book.

I adored Ray as a character and thought Gomez Pugh voiced him beyond perfectly. Anton I liked a little less, but he’s not the focus of the book. I do have to say though, that as a bipolar character, he felt very real. 

The mystery however wrapped up a little too quickly for me. (It didn’t even start until well into the story.) And I felt like the Whites and everyone else at the home were simply abandoned. As a reader, I wanted to know their fate or at least touch base with them a single, conclusionary time. 

All in all, a great read.

Review of Aftermath, by George Weinstein

Cover of Aftermath

I received an audio code for a copy of George Weinstein‘s Aftermath.

Description from Goodreads:

After her father’s murder, Janet Wright returns to her folksy childhood home to tie up loose ends and mend her broken heart. But the sassy heroine soon discovers that there is more than meets the eye within the enigmatic small town entangled in secrets, scandals, and lies. This suspenseful southern thriller will have Wright facing pieces of her broken childhood and fighting for her life. Mystery, murder, and romance converge to keep you listening section after section.

Can Janet Wright complete the deadly puzzle connecting her father, his murder, and the wary small-town setting?

Review:

I quite enjoyed a lot of this, but also thought it fell into some disappointingly cliched ruts too. There was the femme fatale who was literally described as a Jessica Rabbit clone (even down to the red dress). There was the Colonel Sanders-esque southern lawyer and all of the down-trodden and oppressed minorities that the main character desperately wanted to rescue. (White savior much?) The New Yorker with her brusque attitude and high priced branded clothing. The woman who was apparently obsessed with her relationship status and assessed every man as a potential partner. Etc. 

I also didn’t understand some of the events. Why exactly did Janet try and help Tara? That seemed beyond stupid. Why exactly did the inn keeper get so mad at Janet? The reaction seemed out of proportion and misdirected. Mostly, however, I thought the particular version of evil engaged in by the father was cliched and over-used. I had hoped for something a little more original. 

Having said all of that. I did find it engaging and I liked the characters a lot, especially Tim. And the narrator did a wonderful job of bringing it all to life.