The concept of this story completely drew me in. It starts with disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his journey to clear his name. Now this book has a lot going on, so of course in order to clear his name he has to first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. In the course of his investigation he enlists the help of Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius and researcher extraordinaire.
Does he solve the disappearance? Will he clear his name? Will he ever eat anything other than a sandwich?
Things I learned about Sweden from this book:
Swedish people only eat sandwiches. Throughout the book the characters eat sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes even as a snack. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to look at a sandwich. I wish the author had included some authentic Swedish food in the food as a filler as opposed to all the different sandwiches one can eat.
Swedish people also like their coffee. I have never read about so much coffee drinking in one book in my life! All those giant Tea manufacturing multinational companies out there, Sweden is an untapped market!
You might think that if my biggest problem with this book is the food they eat, then the book isn’t doing too bad a job. And it wasn’t. Until I got to the relationship between Blomkvist and Berger and of course all the shrugging off of rape.
Perhaps Blomkvist and Berger’s relationship won’t be an issue for a lot of people, but to me it just seems in the same realm as unicorns and nymphs.
I loved Salander as a character personally. It’s hard not to fall in love with a genius antisocial minx, but I managed. I adore how she refuses to be a victim and is a genuinely strong female character. Maybe I am not supposed to agree with how she acted out against her guardian, but I think she was being far too nice. I thought the story as a whole was interesting and yes I am a fan of stories that have neat little endings in theory, if not in practice.
I know this book is a translation, and I don’t particularly care for translated books because the writing comes off as too stilted and awkward. And I know that a lot of readers thought that the language in this book was stilted and awkward, but trust me, when you read a truly badly translated book, you will be willing to forgive a lot! I speak from experience. So I was a bit wary of this but really for me it has turned out to be quite well written.
There are a lot of different story threads in this book, something that a majority of people did not like but personally I loved. It kept me engaged and interested throughout.
Jerry Grey is a bestselling crime author. Writing under a pseudonym of Henry Cutter, his twelve novels have thrilled readers and granted a comfortable life to him and his family. Jerry is hard at work on his thirteenth book when he forgets his wife's name at a party. This seems like a simple slip of the mind, but soon he becomes more and more forgetful. Finally, he agrees to see a doctor who gives Jerry an unexpectedly grim diagnosis. At the young age of forty-nine, Jerry Grey has the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
Fast forward a year and Jerry's descent into dementia has reached a dismal low. His wife Sandra has left him. His daughter rarely visits him and refuses to call him Dad. Abandoned by his family and barely able to remember his past, Jerry finds himself in the care of a nursing home. As his malady continues to ravage his mind, Jerry begins to confuse his own actions with those of the characters he used to write about. He used the Henry Cutter pseudonym as a way to separate the horrors he wrote about from the joys of his family life, but now the two are indistinguishable. Most days find Jerry confused and confessing to murders that took place in his novel.
Jerry has a habit of wandering from the facility in the night. When he is found, he is disoriented and has no recollection of how he escaped or what he did during the time he was gone. The situation becomes more dire when the police show up at Jerry's nursing home. It is no secret that Jerry has confessed to crimes from his novels, but now he has confessed to the murder of a girl who actually existed. Worse, her murder occurred on a night when Jerry escaped. Jerry is certain that he is not a killer, but he has no memory of the events of that night. With no alibi and a group of police seeking any closure to the case, Jerry struggles to defend his innocence and maintain his grasp on reality.
The novel switches back and forth between the past and present. The past is told through Jerry's "Madness Journal" that he started keeping at the start of his diagnosis. He knew that his memory would begin to fail, so he wrote the journal to inform his future self of his life. These journal entries alternate with the story of present day Jerry and his ongoing mental decline. As the novel progresses, The past and present begin to come together and culminate in a electrifying conclusion. The mystery ends up being conventional to the crime genre, but the spin of an unreliable protagonist helps to keep the plot moving and the suspense tightly wound. Trust No One is an adequately dark thriller that skilfully breathes new life into the genre while adhering to the style that readers have come to expect.
Being a woman has never been easy, but being a woman, living alone with one’s sisters, on an isolated farm in 1915, becomes even more complicated for Constance Kopp.
After a young, rich and belligerent silk factory owner hit their buggy with his motor car, the Kopp sisters bill him for damages. What should have been a simple manner of reimbursing them $50 for the reparation turns into a year of kidnapping threats, flying bullets and cops camping in the sisters’ barn. To convict the culprit and his accomplices, the sheriff recruits Constance in the investigation. Along the way, a chance encounter forces Constance to confront a family secret and face their uncertain financial future.
Based on true events, this novel introduces us to Constance Kopp, US’s first female deputy sheriff. She is depicted as a strong and stubborn woman who is determined to get reparation from the gang who recklessly damaged their buggy. After all, why should she accept another resolution than a man would! Her interactions with other characters illustrate clearly society’s expectations about “simple woman” and how she should act. The well-meaning, but oh so patronizing, “isn’t there a brother or an uncle who can take care of you?” question, asked more than once in the novel, is evidence of the place women occupied in society.
Even if a little stereotypical, Constance, Norma and Fleurette Kopp take life in this novel. Norma, dependable and more conservative has a passion for pigeons, and Fleurette, childish and a little spoiled likes to design and sew new clothes. After some time, I felt like I could predict how they would react to new situations. Other secondary characters, such as the sheriff, are also well-fleshed and coherent. In fact, the less detailed characters are the villains of the book. Obviously, the author did not want to spend much time with them, or the documents she used did not offer more information about them. The gang felt like an ominous and ill-defined presence throughout the book, which was a really effective way to transmit the oppressive feeling felt by the sisters to the reader.
I came to this book without knowing it was based on true events (in fact I discovered this information in the postface of the book). So, I was expecting a fast-paced story, with a gun-bearing too-modern heroin. What I discovered instead was a slower-paced book based more on the ambiance and social dynamics of the era than the action of the story. It was for me a good surprise: good because I took away a lot more from this book than I would have from a “simple” mystery, but some sections seemed to lag a little.
All in all, I thought it was a good portrait of an era and of an exceptional woman and the circumstances that helped her show the world who she was and that she would not sit back and take the beating in silence. Constance Kopp is a model that should be known and followed by many young, and less young, ladies nowadays.
Hallelujah! Book #3 is here and it doesn't disappoint.
I’ve been a fan of this series since I picked up “Cold Mourning” last year. With each book, you not only get a proper mystery to unsnarl but further insight into the 2 main characters as their relationship deepens and titbits from the past come to light. That continues here.
At the end of “Butterfly Kills”, Det. Kala Stonechild took on one of the toughest jobs of her career…"Mom" to a teenager after the girl’s mother went to prison. It’s been a big adjustment for both, particularly Kala who has always led a solitary life. Any attempts at establishing a routine are further complicated when a young woman and her daughter go missing.
Kala & colleague Paul Gundersund take the call. Ivo Delaney has no idea where his wife Adele and daughter Violet have gone. Unfortunately, it’s not long before the cops have a pretty good idea. But the real mystery is why & as Kala and Paul continue to dig, it turns out Adele was keeping a few secrets from her husband.
Meanwhile, Staff Sgt. Jacques Rouleau continues to juggle the problems of running their department. There are budget concerns, meetings and a new member of the team to get up to speed. But when a local reporter approaches him about the case, it’s clear he has something else to worry about. Someone is feeding her information. In alternate chapters, we listen in as she meets her source and slowly realize this will have huge repercussions for Kala.
It’s a well paced story that pulls you in from the get-go. The investigation heads off in surprising directions before reaching a tense conclusion. Even then, a couple of nice twists near the end ensure your attention never wavers.
As usual, we also get to catch up on the characters’ personal lives. Kala and Paul definitely click as partners at work but she’s unsure she wants to take it any further, especially with his estranged wife hovering in the background. All Paul knows is he’s never met anyone like Kala. The comfort and sense of peace he gets when they’re together is something he never experienced in his marriage. But you get the feeling the author is in no rush and will let this develop with a slow burn.
As for Jacques, he continues to be the strong, solid centre of the series. In this outing, part of his past will reach a heartbreaking resolution & it strengthens the bond between him and Kala. They first worked together in another unit and when he moved to Kingston, she followed. He’s always respected her as a colleague but as they both face personal challenges, you get to see an almost father/daughter aspect of their relationship.
There are several side stories that carry over from the previous book but if you’re jumping in here, no worries. Enough background is provided to get the gist of what’s happening. Peripheral characters range from other cops and family members to sinister bikers and their crews. (At this juncture, I would like to make a special plea to the author. Without spilling any beans for readers, there’s one character I’d like to see get the smack down they so karmically deserve. You know who I mean. Please.)
Police procedurals are probably my favourite genre and I have read countless books from many different countries. In this crowded field, it must be difficult to create characters that aren't already out there running around in someone else’s story. Jacques and Kala grow more compelling with each instalment as layers are slowly peeled back & their characters continue to develop. By the end, there are a few loose strings left dangling and I look forward to seeing what happens next.
My sincere thanks to Dundurn for allowing me to receive a copy.