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Timothy and Virginia Kennedy RSS Feed (Atlanta, Georgia United States)

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A Loyal Character Dancer
A Loyal Character Dancer
by Xiaolong Qiu
Edition: Hardcover
58 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poetic License, March 17, 2003
This is a thinly plotted mystery that partially redeems itself with a nuanced evocation of modern day Shanghai. It should be sub-titled 'An Anthology of Chinese Verse' because scarcely a page goes by without some couplet appearing. But these interesting trappings cannot sustain a mystery that fails to be very, well, mysterious. Most of the novel centers on a race between the police and several gangs to locate a woman. The resolution to this race occurs in one sentence and will leave you asking - Did I miss something? It's a microcosm for the novel as whole... great setting, rich characters, nice writing... but no mystery.


Detective Inspector Huss
Detective Inspector Huss
by Helene Tursten
Edition: Hardcover
31 used & new from $4.44

22 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Here's a mystery, how did this get published?, March 15, 2003
I purchased this book after a glowing review on NPR. Big mistake. Perhaps it is the translation, but there are, no joke, 2 or 3 exclamation marks per page! The writing is stilted and filled with stereotypes. The central mystery lacks any major surprises and Tursten even fails to capture the omnipresent chill of a Swedish winter. If you want to try some international crime fiction, try the excellent 'Shape of Water' by Camilleri or 'A Very Long Engagement' by Japrisot.


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel
by Michael Chabon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.39
229 used & new from $0.85

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing indeed, May 22, 2001
I am always wary when friends tell me about a book I "must read." All too often that book turns out to be very long and very underwhelming. (A Man in Full springs to mind) It's as if these friends, flush with having conquered a 600+ page epic, want someone with whom to share their triumph, so they do a sell job. Well, here I stand, flush with having finished a 600+ page epic and ready to do a sell job. But, please hear me out.
The Amazing Adventures... is a must read for all the right reasons. Chabon's command of the English language will leave you envious, his characters will engage you, his in-depth look at the comic book industry will fascinate you and the plot will weave artfully from pathos to humor without ever grinding to a halt.
Is this an important piece of fiction? I believe the Pulitzer committee has settled that debate. But more to the point, it's the greatest type of book, one that, even after 600+ pages, will make you sad to turn that final page.


Shattered
Shattered
by Dick Francis
Edition: Hardcover
339 used & new from $0.01

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bringing up the rear, May 22, 2001
This review is from: Shattered (Hardcover)
Let's be honest, Dick Francis writes candy for the literary brain. You pick up one of his novels on the eve of a vacation and then suck it down between naps and walks on the beach. Even with these lowered expectations, Shattered fails to deliver the goods.
The plot is standard Francis fare, a resourceful young man, tangentially related to horse racing, finds himself in the center of a perplexing mystery due to the sudden death of a close friend. In 240 pages, the protagonist will use his wits, perserverence and high moral standards to solve the mystery and get the girl. Sound familiar?
The central character, Gerard Logan, is a glass blower. The best bits of the novel center on the interesting revelations about this rather obscure art. Unfortunately, the rest of the novel is populated with cardboard characters and silly plot twists. "Such as?" you ask.
1- The central villian, Rose, is motivated by a singular hatred of men. Why? It's never really explained. But her dialogue is so irrational that it's difficult not to be perplexed and even slightly offended.
2- Despite bedding a policewoman in Bond-like fashion, Logan seems absurdly reluctant to go to the authorities despite a brutal beating at the hands of some known!! assailants.
3- There is a poor attempt to introduce the Internet and e-mail into the plot that painfully proves Francis is about a decade behind the whole WWW revolution.
4- The final scene is so contrived, I have to believe Francis conceived of it first, the wrote the rest of the novel to get there.
There are more offences but I think the point has been made. If you're new to Francis, there are plenty of fine reads in his library of works. Try Nerve or Longshot. If you're a longtime Francis fan, don't bother laying out the cash, there's sure to be a copy left behind at a beach-house in your future.


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