Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something old, something new
I usually begin reviews of Aaron Elkins's novels by calling him "the best writer of classical mysteries working today". That's still true, but _Little Tiny Teeth_ represents a bit of a departure from the format. It's part straight mystery, part thriller--and all delightful.

Most of the usual delights of a Gideon Oliver story are, happily, still present. There's...
Published on June 6, 2007 by Jonathan A. Turner

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Glancing, lite Gideon
This is a very enjoyable read, ideal for vacation time, particularly while floating down a tropical river somewhere. It is very good at describing tropical heat and enervating humidity, the languid pace of river voyages, and the endless forest of the Peruvian Amazon, in its subtle variety. Prof. Gideon Oliver, and his trusty FBI friend, John Lau, have joined a botanical...
Published on January 25, 2008 by tertius3


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something old, something new, June 6, 2007
By 
Jonathan A. Turner (Nashua, NH United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
I usually begin reviews of Aaron Elkins's novels by calling him "the best writer of classical mysteries working today". That's still true, but _Little Tiny Teeth_ represents a bit of a departure from the format. It's part straight mystery, part thriller--and all delightful.

Most of the usual delights of a Gideon Oliver story are, happily, still present. There's a terrific setting, even more evocative than usual. There's a soupçon of dry wit. There are some clever deductions by Gideon and his sidekick John Lau, and a nice twist ending. And, of course, there are fascinating forensic tidbits galore.

But this time around, we also get: Jungles! Piranhas! Headhunters! Drug smugglers! More piranhas! Giant spiders! Poisoned blowgun darts! Still more piranhas! With a setup like that, how can you go wrong?

Mystery aficionados will note some shifts in the story's structure, to accommodate its thriller-esque aspects. The actual crime doesn't happen until midway through the book, although the lead-in is so interesting that you probably won't mind. The cast of suspects, while deftly sketched, gets relatively less attention than usual; there's no room in the tale to trace their alibis, set them up as red herrings, or unearth their long-buried secrets. That's probably a sensible choice, given the book's relatively rapid pacing--it's not an action-adventure by any means, but it does move smartly along.

Elkins does, perhaps, reveal too much too soon. The nefarious doings of one major character are fully laid out in an early expository chapter, before the narrative really gets going; I'd have preferred to see these matters left nebulous, and only gradually revealed. Contrarily, the murder calls for some damned quick thinking on the perpetrator's part, which could have used more foreshadowing.

These, however, are mere niggles. Gideon Oliver first appeared in thriller form (_Fellowship of Fear_), but it's been quite some time since he sojourned there. Elkins, in ringing some changes on his typically cerebral approach, gives his hero and his series a whiff of novelty, while still keeping a foot planted firmly in the classical-mystery camp. Bravo!

P.S.: If you check out the author's website, you'll find some photos from his own Amazon cruise ("research", he calls it). They'll give you some striking visuals to accompany the narrative.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Glancing, lite Gideon, January 25, 2008
By 
tertius3 (MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
This is a very enjoyable read, ideal for vacation time, particularly while floating down a tropical river somewhere. It is very good at describing tropical heat and enervating humidity, the languid pace of river voyages, and the endless forest of the Peruvian Amazon, in its subtle variety. Prof. Gideon Oliver, and his trusty FBI friend, John Lau, have joined a botanical "fishing" expedition in the selva. Elkins does a wonderful job differentiating the scientists and sending them off together with contentious differences you just know have to result in violence. Oh, so many motives targeted on their arrogant leader. But people just sorta...vanish, from the old steamer boat. Serious modern crises form the distant backdrop to this story, never directly confronted: drugs good and bad, nature, logging, eco-disaster and -tourism, tribal survival. Perhaps the most exciting moment in any Oliver adventure is here. Prodded into the trackless jungle toward undoubted death, all Gideon can think of is the amazingly splayed toes of his tree-dwelling captors. Only a Gideon Oliver fan will understand how hilarious that is.

Oh right, what's the mystery? This is more of a shaggy suspense story. Surely there's a murder? Only if people don't vanish for other reasons. But there has to be more about bones, besides hallux varus, no? After all, this is about "The Skeleton Detective." Well, barely. Mainly this is a well-told tourists-over-their-heads-in-the-tropics adventure story. Elkins has it down, even to the ubiquitous jars of Nescafé powdered instant coffee. He does forget to make much of the biting bugs that would plague you at every stop, something else the glossy tour brochures don't tell you about. Get this book, sit back, and enjoy this story on your cruise. Douse yourself with repellent and turn up the heat, just for atmosphere.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Is The Most Dangerous Predator in the Amazon Jungle?, July 9, 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
Rarely have I read a beginning of a mystery with a more chilling start. Little Tiny Teeth's prologue features three graduate students who are lost in the upper Amazon basin and are being trailed by poisonous blow-dart carrying Chayacuros, an indigenous people who had never been conquered by the Spanish who are known for "harvesting" heads of their enemies. The threat in the beginning sets an eerie tone for the rest of the book that makes the Amazon basin the most interesting aspect of the story.

As the main part of the book opens, an unlikely group is introduced who are to embark on an ethnobiological tour of the upper Amazon led by Professor Arden Schofield. Of the professionals in the group, the one thing they have in common is a dislike for Schofield. There are also three tagalongs: Gideon Oliver (an physical anthropology professor who is known as "the skeleton detective") and John Lau ( an FBI agent friend) have been cut loose by their wives to take a vacation together with Gideon's old friend from graduate school, Phil Boyajian, who runs an economy vacation service called On the Cheap.

From there, you'll enjoy great descriptions of the Amazon and the people there. The word pictures are so vivid I felt like I could see them in my mind.

Danger lurks everywhere from both the uncivilized beasts and the so-called civilized people with hidden, uncivilized plans. Naturally, the Amazon's piranhas play a role in the story.

Soon, there are two missing people following a series of attacks. What will happen next?

Despite the wonderful job of working the Amazon into the story, Little Tiny Teeth has two important drawbacks: There's little room for Gideon to employ his forensic skills and the explanation for what happened to the two missing people is pretty easy to figure out. With a better mystery, this would have been a five-star book.

Fans of the series will probably be disappointed that Julie plays only a cameo role in the story.

If you don't think that the upper Amazon presents fascinating story potential for a mystery, you could skip this book without harming your enjoyment of the series.

Most people are afraid of what's new to them. After you read this book, I suggest you check into what the odds are of being harmed by a variety of sources. Then, be careful where the risks are actually the highest . . . rather than where you feel most afraid.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars First half awesome- Second, not so much, September 2, 2008
By 
"Tiny little Teeth" by Aaron Elkins has a terriffic prologue and continues it's compelling story throughout much of the book, however about 60% of the way thorugh it really lacks what it delivered on earlier in the book, intrigue.
The book is essentially about a group of people that are on a shady cruise down the Amazon river whose main goal is to study the botany of the Amazon and how it affects it's surroinding area. Each person on this voyage is on it for their own personal gain in some aspect or another, and hardly any of them actually want to be there. During this "cruise" local tribes are threatening the folks on board and the leader of the voyage has reason to believe the threats are directed towards him. Twists are turns are also aboard as this novel comes to it's chilling climax.
There are pros and cons with this book.
Pros: You really do learn a lot about a variety of subjects; Botany, human bone structure, the Amazon river and it's tendancies, among many other small subjects that are discussed throughout the book. One could also really tell that the author did his homework and made some of these complex subjects easy for the layperson to understand.
Cons: I mentioned that twists and turns were on board, well they were barely there. Most readers of the mystery genre could see these "twists" coming 30 pages before they happened. The end was very predictable and, to me anyway, that is the most important part. I want to always try to figure it out but somehow I am always dissapointed if I do.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vacation trip down the scenic Amazon, with unusual companions, a weird guide, drug smugglers and one humongous spider, June 9, 2007
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
The spider is a Goliath, the largest of the tarantulas, with a fist-sized body and big hairy legs, and, according to entomologist Duane Osterhout, he's an adorable little creature who will make the perfect centerpiece for Duane's living room. I mention this to give you an idea of what I mean by "unusual companions". The weird guide is Cisco, full name unknown, a stone freak who is so far tripped out that people are afraid of him. See the next paragraph for the drug smugglers.

Gideon Oliver thinks he can take a quiet vacation and this time his friends John Lau and Phil Boyajian are with him. They are cruising the Amazon on a former cargo boat which has not yet been fully converted into a low-budget tourist boat. (Phil is an expert at finding such things.) The other passengers are a professor of ethnobotany and some people whom he is leading on an expedition. Gideon and his friends are unaware that the boat is being used to smuggle coca paste from Peru to Columbia nor that some of the other people on board have very good reasons to want to kill the professor, but Elkins reveals these to us early on. Other reviews describe the rest of the plot, so I'll leave it at that.

I always say that what I love about Gideon Oliver is the forensics, but this one has very little. Near the end of the story, a human skull and some neck bones are found. Gideon rapidly runs through the indicators he sees in the skull, explaining nothing. He does, however, spend some time explaining how two neck vertebrae reveal the identity of the deceased. However, Elkins kept me absorbed in the book all the way through, so obviously there's more to Gideon Oliver than forensics.

For starters, there are the characters. There's Gideon himself, of course, the cerebral professor type who loves to lecture and keeps coming out with arcane scientific facts. A bit like me, actually, although I only taught college for a few semesters. Then there's John Lau, the practical FBI agent who balances Gideon's intellectualism. And Phil is always fun. As always, there is a cast of unusual characters invented for this novel. Elkins gives us brief sketches of these people at the beginning and then uses conversations through most of the book to further develop their personalities and their motives for killing. One character in particular brings back fond memories of people I used to know; he almost makes me wish I had misspent a tad more of my youth while I still had it.

There is one character, expedition leader Scofileld, who, from the beginning, is portrayed as such a cad that mystery readers will feel just has to be the murder victim. But Elkins doesn't kill him off right away. Instead he stretches out the suspense. Along the way, there are two attacks on Scofield - or are they really attacks on Scofield? Then he disappears and is presumed dead, although there is no evidence yet.

Elkins is a master craftsman when it comes to clues. There are obvious clues, clues which seem irrelevant at the time, and clues pointing in false directions. And, of course, there are a lot of details which really do have nothing to do with the plot. One critical clue comes in a scene which doesn't seem at first to be important to the plot. Along with that clue was a clue pointing in another direction, and farther away was information that can help the reader to see through the false clue, if he catches it. As for the ending, there was one clue which was too obscure for me, but there were other factors which narrowed it down to one person. There's a lot more I wish I could say about the clues, but that would spoil things. Based on previous novels in the series, I'm confidant that I will find more clues when I reread it.

The characters get into some tight spots where things get a bit hectic, but that doesn't dominate the book. There is plenty of room for Gideon's brilliant detective work. And he explains what he's thinking, so a reader who hasn't met a scientist or read other Gideon Oliver novels can get a look into the mind of a scientist. Altogether a great read.

Appendix: After writing the review, I looked up the two papers to which Elkins referred in his Acknowledgements. One was the inspiration for the very peculiar bone fragment that Gideon analyzes along with the skull. The other inspired the damaged neck vertebrae that Gideon analyzed. Elkins is very thouough with his science.

[Original review 9 June 2007; this added 29 June 2007] I finally read Elkins's description of his trip on the Amazon, which was research for this novel. I recommend it for what it can add to your appreciation of this novel. Click on the link to his Profile page, above, and you will find a link to his website. Also at his website is a link to a forensics page which will be interesting to readers who like real forensics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Mystery, February 5, 2008
By 
Gregg Eldred (Avon Lake, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
It was the cover that drew me to this mystery. I was about to put it down and then I read the flaps. I was sold and I soon found myself deeply immersed in the novel. If I had to put it down, say, to work or sleep, I couldn't wait to pick it back up it, it was that good.

Apparently, Little Tiny Teeth is the fourteenth Gideon Oliver novel from Aaron Elkins but it was the first I have read. Gideon Oliver, the "Skeleton Doctor," has an affinity for studying old bones. He is asked by one of his friends, Phil, a tour guide for On the Cheap, an economy travel company, to take a week long cruise on the Amazon River. To the mix, Gideon is able to bring another friend, John, a Special Agent with the FBI. But they won't be the only ones on the cruise - a leading ethnobiologist from the University of Iowa is chartering the cruise for a week long study group. He brings some very prominent scientists with him to study the local flora and fauna, meet with some shamans to discuss the medicinal properties of local plants, and gather some Amazonian insects. Not long in to the cruise, the scientific leader, Arden Scofield, is nearly killed by a spear with a shrunken head attached to it. Then there is a giant spider. And fire ants. And some Columbian drug dealers. Gideon and his friends find themselves, thousands of miles from home, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest with more than they anticipated. Not only does the heat and humidity make then uncomfortable, but their surroundings aren't helping.

Elkins has spun an amazing mystery. He takes his time setting up the story, slowly introducing the reader to all of the characters and the Amazon itself. But when they all come on board the cruise ship, the story really takes off. I found myself staying up later than usual to "finish a chapter," but actually reading several more. Elkins has more than one possible culprit in the story, and it was a joy to figure out who was behind all of the strange coincidences as Gideon, Phil, and John were working out the particulars. This was a very satisfying novel and I am glad that I am late to the Gideon Oliver series, as the previous 13 books present me with another excellent character and author.

Now, if only I could carve out more time to read. :-)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of Pleasure, November 13, 2007
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
Aaron Elkins delivers one of the best mystery series around, with one of the most interesting and charming amateur detectives. Gideon Oliver, a forensic anthropologist who is dubbed "the skeleton detective," ends up on every vacation he takes and at every conference he attends--always in an exotic locale, described in vivid detail--having to reconstruct from a recently discovered skeleton (or pieces of bone)a crime that has baffled local police. Elkins' knowledge of anatomy is encyclopedic, but Oliver's explanations are never preachy or boring. We learn fascinating facts about how our bodies function and age and how our bones reveal more about us than we ever thought--not only sex and age at death, but our professions and our hobbies. In his latest book, Gideon Oliver takes a trip down the Amazon with his amiable sidekick, a Hawaiian FBI agent, to help out a friend who organizes cheap (no luxury hotels or restaurants) tours. Mysterious natives, cocaine smuggling, piranhas, obnoxious professors--and a glimpse into a world little known to armchair travelers and amateur detectives. Elkins started this series long before forensic pathology became popular in books and on TV. His books are smart and not in the least gory. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT ENOUGH, August 18, 2007
By 
Carol Lemelin "seeker" (St. Clair Shores, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) (Hardcover)
I can't say I didn't like this book. It was very interesting and the plot was pretty inventive but the opening was so chilling, so stark and so compelling that one expected so much more from the rest of the story. The fact that the two men who figure in the opening meet 30 years later should have been equally shattering but it was almost ho-hum. Its almost as though the author planned another book first and this one got in the way. The story would have been fine without the opening, but since the opening was there it left the reader wanting so much more than they got. And...milker's neck?...Come on!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, April 10, 2011
Little Tiny Teeth has the kind of opening chapter that made me sit up straight and whisper, "Whoa!" And in classic Elkins fashion, it set the tone for the action, and there was plenty, to follow. The ride down the Amazon and on the tributary was nerve-racking, and sweltering, and I have to admit I didn't figure out where the spear with the shrunken head attached to its tip came from until Gideon explained it to one of the other boat riders. And I really did not suspect the actual murderer until the end.

Elkins is a master of his trade, showing us the cerebral sleuth dispassionately at work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good classic mystery, July 23, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is my first book with this author. I was not expecting the exciting start
of the book. I eventually read it in one sitting which pretty much says
how I like it. I will be buying copies of his other books and enjoying them
also.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery)
Little Tiny Teeth (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) by Aaron Elkins (Hardcover - June 5, 2007)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.