Monday, August 4, 2014

A Miss and a Hit

Once again I have been duped by slick marketing and a cacophony of media noise.  Once again, I cannot figure out why I fell for it.  This advance reader copy came bundled with a glossy, 2-pocket folder containing all sorts of goodies. Attractive sell sheets.  Testimonials. bookmarks.  In the outside world, bookish websites from coast to coast have this flagged as a must read.  

After my recent battle with Gone Girl, I am disappointed that I did not recognize this as one of the many knockoffs that are sure to follow. The Good Girl was faster reading however for many reason, beginning with the straightforward plot.  No deception here.  Just characters going about their business in an apparent kidnapping/hostage situation. Gone Girl alternated between two storytellers, this book moves among four, most of them are believable and at times complex. However, by page 70 or so I was already saying to myself  "I bet that .....".  Once I made that assumption, the pieces came together nicely, basically as I thought they would. 

The plot?  A nice middle school teacher from a richer than rich dysfunctional family is kidnapped by a hired gun.  At the midpoint of the abduction, he gets cold feet, changing directions and secreting Chloe in a deserted cabin with no provisions.  Chloe has no idea that her captor is trying to protect both of them from the man who hired him - a man he has never met.  So, Stockholm syndrome kicks in, and when the girl is eventually found, she has amnesia and can't help the authorities in any way.  Can't or won't?  That's the question I began to ask...on page 70!

I turned the pages of this deck read.  Luckily my neighbors are not close enough to have heard the screams when I got to the "Epilogue".  350 pages of plot.  Epilogue begins on page 345 and finally things are revealed and explained just in case we missed all the big clues that clobbered us in the previous 345 pages.   I know. I know, Agatha Christie did this all the time, but who can find fault with the charming Miss Marple?  This was just lame.

The Black House by Peter Max has lots of promise.  Another mystery.  This one is set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.  Geography and history combine to add layers to the plot.  I'm struggling with some of the Gaelic words, but the author anticipated that and provided a pronunciation guide for me. A detective who has been detached for a while due to a personal tragedy is dispatched to investigate a crime that bears simillarites to a case he cracked in the past.  The journey back reopens wounds and reveals secrets about his troubled past.  Reminds me of the detective shows on PBS.  This is the first in a trilogy.  I think I will enjoy these.

If you're on the lookout for an out of the ordinary movie with an exceptional cast, try "The Grand Budapest Hotel."  This modern day fantasy piles layer upon layer of silliness and visual excitement.  Keep your eyes and ears open, this moves goes quickly and you if you blink, you'll need to rewind.  Even if you don't care for the story, the look or the characters, watch it for the prison escape scene.  That deserved an award.

Thanks for stopping by.