Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Cuckoo's Calling

I admit, I picked up The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), because the BBC was turning it into a tv series. I love detective shows, and detective books, and I had never heard of the Cormoran Strike books, so more fun for me.

First the good stuff. Rowling knows how to tell a story. There were few points where I wanted to wanted to put the book down, and fewer still where I was incredulous of the characters' action... at least until the end. The best part was that Cormoran (horrible name, btw, it doesn't roll of the tongue at all), and Robin weren't set up as potential lovers. I hope it stays that way in future books.

Ok, so for the not so great stuff, there was a lot of repetition. The constant going back to characters and running around (sometimes literally), the "oh, I know someone's holding something back, and blackmailing the killer," trope were just too overwrought. The "twist" felt forced, and the "omg" moment when Strike knew who did it, but didn't share it with Robin also felt forced. Why not? And because it was a visual clue that wasn't shared with the reader, it felt cheap. I'll give the next book a try to see if it evens out a bit. Before I gave it a 7/10 stars, but the further I get away from it, it might be  6 or a 6.5/10 depending on how much weight I'm putting on readability over substance.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Red Violin

 We had a poor copy of this film, but it was beautiful just the same. The Red Violin starts with the auction on the beautiful violin and then travels through time to follow the violin's path to the auction house. Along the way, we find out why each of the bidders wants the violin. Every potential owner has a need because of the power and influence the violin had over their (or their hero's) life. The violin is it's own character, beguiling and intense. It lures people to it and helps them realize their dreams. But nobody escapes their time with the violin unscathed. While some might say that the violin brings destruction, I believe that it brings comfort and stability during trying times.

The Red Violin's score has to be mentioned. Each time period has it's own sound and vision. Beautiful. And the cinematography captures the story while making the setting another character. A great film, not exciting, but lovely and meaningful.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series

I've finished Sue Grafton's entire alphabet series through X. "Y is for Yesterday" comes out soon, so I'll wait a bit and finish up my current reading list before I take on the latest edition.

Anyway, the alphabet series follows private investigator Kinsey Milhone as she completes her various investigations. Overall, I enjoy these books because they're fun and quick reads. Kinsey tends toward the typical as far as investigative characters go, but Grafton has given her a couple of quirks that make her stand out. For instance, her love for small spaces and her fondness for the gun her aunt gave her both add to her as a character. Also, her next door neighbor, Henry, adds to the more personal aspects of the story. He deals with tension and anger through baking and cooking, but also bakes and cooks when he's happy. It's all in his method of getting to the final product. I'm always worried that he's going to die, and that bothers me a bit, probably more than it should. 

One thing I don't understand about the books is the Cabot Cove aspect. Because Kinsey is a private investigator, she should be able to get into enough trouble without having it seek her out. It's like in tv shows when the serial killer decides he's going to take on all the CSI or BAU. It doesn't feel natural. However, it doesn't take me so out of the story, that I stop reading, obviously. 

I would love it if I could adapt these books for a television show like they've done for Bosch on Amazon. I'd take the grittier aspects of the story and bring them to the front.

About Me

I was born and reared in Austin, Texas, where I attended three elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school, and one university. I've backpacked through Europe, gone on an archeological dig in the Belizean rainforest, scuba dived through the Atlantic reefs, and skydived over San Marcos. And, while hang-gliding turned out not to be for me, I did give it a shot.