Dark Heart of Sweden: A Review of Lazarus, by Lars Kepler

Ever since the series began in 2009 with The Hypnotist, the tales of Joona Linna, Saga Bauer, and the dark heart of Sweden, Lars Kepler has captivated their audience.  Swedish detective fiction is a very unique genre, one which often goes far and above the types of crimes and mysteries written about by American counterparts.  Beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the world found a taste for the darkness that only Nordic authors seem capable of capturing.  Since the completion of that trilogy, Lars Kepler has kept the tradition going.  Originally published in 2018, but only recently released in English, Lazarus is the seventh entry into the newly christened Killer Instinct series of detective novels.  I have followed this series since the beginning, and each entry never fails to draw me in while making me feel slightly ill.  The best combination for a detective novel.

Continue reading “Dark Heart of Sweden: A Review of Lazarus, by Lars Kepler”

Betwixt and Between: A Review of Within Without, by Jeff Noon

The crossing of a border is a sacred act, a transgression representing a metamorphosis from one state to another.  To most, borders represent the barriers between nations, or states, the crossing between one civilization and another.  But there are many more borders in our everyday lives.  The crossing of the threshold from within your home to without it.  The crossing from a street to inside an apartment building to inside a singular apartment, and in reverse.  But most borders are not physical objects, until we bring them into being.  Without a human mind, there are no borders anywhere.  One world stretches and encompasses everything.  It is us who gives borders their significance and power.  Borders are not just for people either, but ideas.  There are borders of the mind that welcome you across, and borders that bar your entry.  Thoughts come to us unbidden across closed borders, but so too much mental borders be crossed in order to grow and learn.

Continue reading “Betwixt and Between: A Review of Within Without, by Jeff Noon”

All Saints’ Day: A Review of Creeping Jenny, by Jeff Noon

Detective fiction takes many forms in literature, and indeed can encompass many other genres as well.  Some prefer the straight-forward, hard-boiled mystery novels featuring rugged private eyes taking on shadowy government agencies or powerful corporations.  Others prefer the more humorous satires, or the always enjoyable mixtures with fantasy.  Sometimes, the mystery takes place in the modern day, other times in a far-flung science-fiction setting.  Others, such as the tales woven by Jeff Noon, prefer to focus on the slightly supernatural, but always mind bending.  The mysteries can be likened to the stories written by authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, whose mortal main characters frequently questioned, or lost, their sanity in the face of such unknowable mysteries.

Continue reading “All Saints’ Day: A Review of Creeping Jenny, by Jeff Noon”

The Life and Crimes of the Upper Class: A Review of Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith

Writer’s Note: I now regret reviewing, and reading, this novel due to the author’s increasingly hateful transphobic remarks and beliefs. While I will not be removing this review for posterity, I will not review another work by J.K. Rowling, or any of her aliases. I will not be a part to spread her hateful rhetoric.

The private detective is a fixture in fiction.  Stalking through dark rooms, smoking under lazily spinning ceiling fans, waiting for their next big case in a lonely office.  Fiction glamorizes the detective and prefers to show us the down-of-luck, grizzled, white man who somehow attracts the most beautiful women in the city.  There are tropes and stereotypes and familiar story beats in every tale of detective fiction, some of which have already been discussed in previous blog entries.  Everybody loves a good mystery.  The trick in writing a truly great detective story is balancing the glamor with the realism.  We enjoy stylization for the purposes of entertainment but allowing the real world to bleed through into the fiction is engrossing.  This blend of real and glamor is what makes the Cormoran Strike novels such a joy to read.

Read the Rest!