Mini reviews

Hey guys,

It took a couple of weeks, but things are slowly getting back on track. Resuming work and a normal life after more than six weeks spent in Spain took some time. Unless something unexpected happens, these should be the last mini reviews. I intend to return to full reviews with my next one for Wesley Chu's The Art of Prophecy.

- End of Watch by Stephen King (Canada, USA, Europe) 7.75/10

I was looking forward to this last installment in the Bill Hodges trilogy. Unlike its two predecessors, there is a paranormal element in this novel. It was great to see Bill, Jerome, and Holly back together again. They're definitely one of King's most interesting casts in recent years. I particularly enjoyed how the author elected to close the show, not taking the easy way out. Not King's best works by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm still happy to have brought these books with me to Spain for my Camino!

Here's the blurb:

The spectacular finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes (winner of the Edgar Award) and Finders Keepers—In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.

In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

In End of Watch, Stephen King brings the Hodges trilogy to a sublimely terrifying conclusion, combining the detective fiction of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers with the heart-pounding, supernatural suspense that has been his bestselling trademark. The result is an unnerving look at human vulnerability and chilling suspense. No one does it better than King.

- The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo (Canada, USA, Europe) 7.5/10

By the time I left Santiago de Compostela, I was aware that I would run out of reading material in the following days. There are plenty of books on my Kindle App, but I wanted a hard copy of something I could bring with me instead of my tablet. Trouble is, trying to find a novel in English in Bilbao proved to be quite a challenge. Most bookstores don't carry any and those that do only have a few of them. Perusing this small selection, I came across Dolores Redondo's debut. Not only was the premise interesting, but the author comes from the Basque Country. Since I was spending the last days of my trip in Bilbao and San Sebastian, this looked like I was destined to read this novel. Her trilogy sold more than 1.5 million copies in Spain alone, so I figured that all those people couldn't be wrong.

The Invisible Guardian is an engaging magical realism tale. Redondo's prose and evocative and atmospheric and I encourage you to give this thriller a shot if you're looking for something different. The book is not as self-contained as I would have liked, but it did make me want to read the next two volumes.

Here's the blurb:

Already a #1 international bestseller, this taut, gripping psychological thriller follows a police inspector who reluctantly returns to her hometown in Spain’s Basque Country—a place shrouded in mythology and superstition—to solve a series of eerie murders.

When the body of a teenaged girl is found on a riverbank in a remote area, the crime appears all too similar to a murder committed only months prior, igniting the worst fears of the small community of Elizondo. Homicide inspector Amaia Salazar, a strong, borderline-obsessive investigator, is assigned to the case. After all, this beautiful, peculiar backwater steeped in the blood of the Spanish Inquisition, where pagan beliefs still flourish under a thin veneer of modernity, is a space she knows better than anyone. Forced to return to Elizondo, a town she has always sought to escape, Amaia is tasked with finding a serial killer on the loose.

As the murders in the area grow increasingly violent, the locals come to believe only one creature could possibly be responsible: a creature of Basque mythology known as the basajaun, or Invisible Guardian. But Amaia is logical—a professional—and she refuses to let local superstitions distract her from her careful detective work. As the investigation deepens, a troubling secret from Amaia’s past plagues her with nightmares and soon her findings seem to transform myth into reality. Everything she believes to be rational and verifiable is called into question. Now Amaia must fight her demons and determine if these murders are the work of a ritualistic killer or something even darker.

2 commentaires:

Kaki said...

Thank you for sharing these mini reviews! I had not heard of the Delores Redondo books and they look right up my alley. I'll be reading them soon!

Fred said...

Glad to hear that Patrick, your strength is inspiring