“Then Harry was alone. As we always are.”
Harry Hole is the epitome of the modern day noir detective. He’s a Norwegian Philip Marlowe. His life revolves around his cases. His relationships can never last because he lives for his cases not for his relationships. The only lasting relationship he can ever have is with crime.
In this first installment, we see Harry as a bright eyed, bushy tailed detective on his way to Australia to help the Australian police solve the murder of a young Norwegian girl. He’s almost naive at the outset of this case. He seems so young and innocent in comparison to where I found him in The Leopard. Harry is quickly taken under the wing of a seasoned Australian police detective, Andrew, who begins to show him the ropes of the Australian police force.
As with the last Harry Hole mystery I read, this novel is surrounded in folk tales and fables. Tall tales of creation stories that weave throughout the case Harry is working. In this case, Aboriginal creation stories are told, including the bat, representing death, Bubbur the snake, and Walla the fighter. Each folk character has it’s counterpart in a character involved in the crime. And it’s up to Harry to figure out who is who, what is truth and what is fiction.
It doesn’t take long for the Harry in The Leopard to begin to emerge. The case soon drags Harry down the rabbit hole, kicking up his worst traits. It’s almost as if Harry has to succumb to the depths of his own depravity to see the depravity in others. Harry manages to get his man but each time at a greater cost. It makes me wonder what will be left of Harry Hole at the end of the series.
Rating: 4/5 You can see Nesbo is still working out the kinks of Hole’s character in this one but I love the character study from the later novel to Hole’s creation.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!
Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel translated into English. I had a few different options on this one and had a hard time narrowing them down. This was one of those categories that made me realize just how many books there are in the world to read. I finally settled on the first Harry Hole mystery, Jo Nesbo’s The Bat. Funny story, I was reading the novel just for fun and not for the Book Battle until I realized that, duh, it was first written in Norwegian.
I’ve already read one Nesbo thriller for this reading challenge so I expect a lot of scares. With The Leopard, I read the prologue and had to stop reading it for about a week because I was traumatized. But I ended up really liking the gritty journey of that novel and can’t wait to see where Harry Hole started. Usually I like to read series in order but with this one I started somewhere near the middle/end. I’ve seen Harry Hole at his most down trodden it will be fascinating to see how he got there. What choices he made throughout the series that left him in down and out in Asia.
Stay tuned for the full review of The Bat. Happy reading!
How well do we really know the people who are closest to us? That was the question that kept repeating through my mind on a loop as I read I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. When you think about it, we really only know what other people present to us and vice versa. You never can tell the inner workings of a person no matter how well you may know them. Everyone presents some kind of facade to the world. And even when people throw out hints about who they really are and their problems sometimes we’re just so caught up in our own lives we fail to see those clues and hints. This is the world the protagonist of I Am The Messenger, Ed Kennedy, occupies. He barely lives in the present let alone thinking about his life in the future. He just kind of exists. That is until he begins to get playing cards in the mail with messages written on them.
The messages point him in the direction of people who need help of some kind, and Ed has to figure out how to help them. From domestic abuse to an old woman waiting for her long lost love to return to her, Ed finds ways to assuage people’s troubles and in a roundabout way his own. With each person he helps, Ed is forced to face the reality of his own life and his impact on others. And he’s surprised to find that by putting himself out there he’s not just changing his relationships but strengthening them and giving them more meaning and depth. The further Ed is pushed the more walls start to break down between himself and those closest to him. He begins to see his life and himself in a new way that is challenging and terrifying but fulfilling.
The novel is reminiscent of the movie Pay It Forward with Haley Joel Osment and Helen Hunt in the sense that by helping others you are spreading a similar message and will get other people to help those around them.
I honestly loved this book. Zusak has proven to me he is a great writer with The Book Thief, and this novel is just as good, though different. I agree with what I said in the beginning, especially after reading the ending. This novel feels very personal for the author. Ed Kennedy could have been him as a teenager. He even inserts himself into the end as explanation for why Ed was sent to help all of the different people around his town.
I Am The Messenger is an interesting twist on the coming of age story where the character is forced by an omniscient hand to look around him and change his fate. He’s forced to confront his own demons whether he wants to or not and really examine his relationships and how they have affected his life and shaped his identity. But more than that, he can change the way he sees himself and the world around him. He doesn’t have to be what he’s always been. He has the power to change the way other perceive him and at the end of the novel he has the tools to take ahold of his own life.
Rating: 5/5 This is one book not to miss.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015! Happy reading!
Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel set in a place you’ve always wanted to go. Once again, I went back and forth so many times on this category, from book to book and back again. Finally, I decided to settle on I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak. The novel is set in an unidentified place in Australia, a country I have always wanted to visit even though there are 9 out of 10 of the world’s deadliest creatures living there.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to start reading this novel. I fell in love with Zusak’s The Book Thief and am expecting equally great things from this novel. In a way, this novel seems more intimate to Zusak himself. The character of Ed Kennedy perhaps a reflection of the author. From the back cover, I think this book might be a round about mystery. It’s hard to say. Ed starts receiving playing cards in the mail with instructions written on them. He has to become a vigilante Batman type, and who doesn’t love a tragic hero.
Stay tuned for the review of this Book Battle installment. Happy reading!
The next book on the agenda is Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton. For any of you curious about the category, this is the popular author’s first book. I’ve read a few other books by Kate Morton, perhaps my favorite being The Distant Hours. I loved the I Capture the Castle feel about that book and the gothic darkness surrounding it.
In the books I have read by Kate Morton, she definitely has a formula she follows for her books and it works splendidly for her. I’m excited to read this first book and see how she has crafted and adapted her formula from here. Each book I’ve read her formula gets a bit sleeker and I can’t wait to see where she started to compare her later novels. In addition, I love the oscillating back and forth between time periods. Morton does a great job of recreating the past, a tad bit melodramatic, but intriguing nonetheless. She is a great one for foreshadowing as well.
This particular book is set during the first world war and then oscillates with the present from the perspective of a main working at Riverton. And naturally mystery and intrigue shortly follow.
Stay tuned for more book battle fun! Happy reading!
Like an onion, Big Little Lies starts with the superficial facade of the book’s main characters. There’s the beautiful trophy wife married to the wealthy millionaire, the harried housewife, and the young single mother. When I first began the book I thought, this reads almost like a script for The Real Housewives of…fill in the blank. But the more I began to read the deeper the characters became. Flaws emerged, backstories took effect, and lives began to intertwine.
I loved watching each character shed their layers until their true core was revealed in an act of violence. Nothing is as it seems in this glittery beach town on the Australian coast.
Told as a crime in reverse, the novel had me up reading well into the night. I was so drawn into this world I had to know if my suspicions were proved right and what happened on that fateful trivia night. How was the crime connected to each of the characters and how on earth they were going to deal with the aftermath.
A thoroughly satisfying read. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a bit of chick lit with a mystery thrown in. Moriarty knows her audience and definitely delivers a highly entertaining read.
Stay tuned for what’s next on the agenda!
The Book Battle has begun! The novel in progress is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I decided to go with the toughest category, a book with an antonym in the title. In a somewhat funny twist, I was going to read this book for another category of the Book Battle and it wasn’t until I was finishing up my list the other day that I realized, wow after about 30 minutes of looking for the right book I have one not three feet away from me. Palm to the forehead.
Having already read The Husband’s Secret, I am so excited to start this book and see what it has in store for me. I love reading books that take places in other countries, especially ones I’ve never travelled to. It’s incredible to form that mental picture of the surroundings the author is painting for you and create your own little place inside a new territory.
Here’s to 2015 being the year of the book!
Let me know what category you decided to go with first and what book you chose to fulfill that category!