Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The only note I have on Harlen Coben's Hold Tight is that it had a few too many cute connections at the end but overall it was pretty good. Although I don't remember a single thing about the plot, so maybe it wasn't all that good.

Meg Gardiner, on the other hand, is my new favorite mystery/thriller author. Like most everyone else I first heard about her from Stephen King via Entertainment Weekly, who thankfully had enough pull to get her published in the US. I started with China Lake and I don't think I took a breath until I closed the back cover. It introduces Evan Delaney and her friends and family, in particular her brother, who is being threatened with a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife who has joined a religious cult. Next in the series was Mission Canyon which gets into Evan's boyfriend Jesse and the accident that left him in a wheelchair. It wasn't as good as China Lake, but was still good. The next was Jericho Point which was again non stop action, this time concerning identity theft and Evan's growing stress in her relationship with Jesse. I liked that there was actual character growth in this one with fallout from the last book. Crosscut was the best next to China Lake with a truly scary villain and a great setup to the the last of the series (so far), Kill Chain, which took Evan's action on a global scale. I loved Gardiner's commitment to the story and the characters, even when that meant hard choices that actually made me cry, damn it. I also read her stand alone mystery The Dirty Secrets Club which was just as action packed as the Evan Delaney books plus had a bonus Bay Area setting, which was cool because I could picture most of the events.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith had a lot of excellent buzz, so I grabbed it when it came in. It was good, a little impersonal, but definitely exciting at times. The frustration of dealing with the Soviet system that refused to acknowledge the existence of a serial killer came through, as did the legitimate paranoia and fear it inspired.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson got even more buzz and I had it on my list for months before it came out. The title actually doesn't work with the book at all (the original Swedish title is much better). It took its time, but wasn't too slow at all and once things came to a head the action came quick. It was a nice, complex mystery (although parts of it weren't terribly difficult to figure out) but what I really liked were the two main characters who joined forces to investigate. Apparently they're also in the other books Larsson completed before he died.

I had no idea until very recently that Eddie And The Cruisers was actually based on a book by P. F. Kluge. And that we had it. I have a great affection for that movie, so once I knew I ran upstairs (okay, I took the elevator, but you get the idea) and checked it out. It was pretty good! There were a couple of extra characters and although it's been a long time since I've seen the movie, I'm pretty sure there was a different bad guy but it still worked really well. When they made the movie they swapped out the book of poems Eddie uses for inspiration from Leaves Of Grass to A Season In Hell, which I suppose sounds more manly but is no less gay, which made me laugh (and also check out a biography of Rimbaud).

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