Friday, February 28, 2014

Rules of Prey - John Sandford

I usually look at the lists at to search books I want to read. I see the whole list made by someone and if I have read several books in that list and liked them, I think this person have similar taste like me. Then I will look for further info about the books which interest me: I will read the synopsis and the reviews before deciding to buy it.

Rules of Prey by John Sandford was one of the books I found this way. I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked mind games between the protagonist and the antagonist, although I thought the bad guy was quite easy to catch in the end.

A serial rapist and murderer was haunting St Paul, Minnesota. He was proud at his brain and thought that the police would never be able to catch him. The story started with his failure, though; how his 3rd victim could escape him and became a witness. Our hero was lieutenant Lucas Davenport, who -in my opinion- was too good to be true. Davenport was smart, very rich (as a side job he made and sold video games), didn't hesitate to use his fists, and a favourite among women [from the physical description, he was not beautiful, but charming). I believe it was easy to fall in love with him if he was real in life. I find Harry Hole, a fictional police inspector in Oslo (by Jo Nesbø) is more realistic. Hole often breaks his promises to his girlfriend, while Davenport here doesn't.

One thing I found very interesting in Rules of Prey was the relationship between the police and the media, how the police used the media for their benefit.

I will surely read more works by John Sandford. Rules of Prey is the first book in the Prey series and as I like Lucas Davenport very much, I can't wait to read more of his adventures.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cockroaches - Jo Nesbø

"...and that for every cockroach you can see that there are at least ten hiding."

Cockroaches is the 2nd book in the Harry Hole series. Harry Hole was sent to Bangkok, Thailand, to help the local police in the investigation of the death of the Norwegian ambassador, and to avoid scandal because the body had been found in a motel room. I like Harry Hole in this book because he was capable to keep himself sober most of the time. He would finally find that the ambassador's death was not like what it seemed, and that the truth was hiding like cockroaches.

There was a note in the book that the writer got his idea from a rumor that a Norwegian ambassador in Thailand, who died in a car crash, was actually murdered under mysterious circumstances. No sign of the car crash in the book, but he successfully wrote an enjoyable detective story.

I have read the next Harry Hole books. When I was reading them, I thought that there were missing things. [This was what I got for not reading them in order.] I found Harry's first loves in the first book, The Bat; and there were 2 things mentioned in later books which I hoped to find in Cockroaches, but they weren't here, and not in anywhere. One, when Harry made fool of himself on TV shows. "A young guy [...] had come over to him while his pals sniggered in the background and ask if Harry was 'that Bruce Willis type guy in Australia'. It was three- three! - years ago since his face had decorated the front pages of newspapers and he had made a fool of himself on TV shows talking about the serial killer he had shot in Sydney." [the Redbreast] I would love to read how the show was going and thought that it had been written in the previous book, but it had not. Two, Harry in Chicago "He practised speed-cuffing on the table leg, which was already splintered as a result of this bad habit he had picked up on the FBI course in Chicago and perfected during lonely evenings in a lousy bedsit in Cabrini Green [...] [The Snowman].Would love to read Harry's adventures in Chicago during the course.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Julia (1977)

Julia was based on a chapter in Lillian Hellman's second volume of memoirs, Pentimento: A Book of Portraits, appeared in 1973. Lillian Hellman (June 20, 1905 – June 30, 1984) was a successful American author of plays and screenplays. She was Jewish.

Jane Fonda played Lillian Hellman. In the beginning of the movie, she was struggling to write a good play in a beach house, accompanied by her lover Dashiell Hammett, a novel writer. She often thought about her friend Julia, a political activist, who now studied medicine in Vienna. There was an attack to the university (I am not clear what event it was, but people burst into the building, attacked the anatomy lab and threw students from upstairs). Lily went to Vienna to visit gravely wounded Julia, who was in a coma. Later Julia's records were removed from the hospital and no one knew about her.

Then Lily wrote a very good play which became a hit. She became famous and was invited to Russia. In her hotel in Paris, she was visited by Julia's friend, who asked her to take a train via Berlin and smuggled money for buying Jewish people's freedom.

The movie was slow. I think it was because Lily's life was not as exciting as Julia. However, this movie used Lily as its main character, and put Julia as a supporting character. Lots of time was used for the train scenes. Because she was a Jewish, we knew how dangerous it was for Lily to come to Berlin. It was almost insane for Julia, who claimed that she was her friend, to ask Lily to travel via Berlin. Julia did provide people throughout the journey to watch over Lily so that she was always safe.

After the released of this movie, psychiatrist Muriel Gardiner from New York claimed that she was the basis of Julia character. Gardiner and Hellman had the same lawyer, who could read Gardiner's memoirs.

Lillian and Julia - past and present