Der Wille zum Bösen – Dan Chaon

37803865 4 Sterne

 

German review

„Der Wille zum Bösen“ ist ein höchst ungewöhnliches Leseerlebnis. Der Klappentext beschreibt einen relativ normalen Thriller. Dustins Eltern wurden ermordet als er ein Kind war. Sein Adoptivbruder  Rusty sitzt für diese Tat seit fast 30 Jahren in Haft. Er und seine Cousine Kate, deren Eltern ebenfalls getötet wurden, waren die Hauptzeugen. Nun kommt Rusty frei, da ein neues Urteil ihn für unschuldig erklärte. Dustin ist inzwischen Therapeut. Einer seiner Patienten ist ein ehemaliger Cop. Er ist besessen von der Idee, dass ein Serienmörder schon seit Jahren sein Unwesen treibt und junge Männer in Flüssen ertrinken lässt. Vielleicht ist es aber auch eine satanische Sekte. Dustin lässt sich in dessen Verschwörungstheorien hineinziehen. Währenddessen zerfällt seine Familie nach dem Krebstod seiner Frau. Was auch in meinen eigenen Worten wie ein relativ normaler Thriller klingt, ist tatsächlich eine ziemlich bizarre Geschichte.

 

Die Story wird aus der Sicht von mehreren Personen und auf verschiedenen Zeitebenen erzählt. Gemein ist allen Figuren, das sie unglaubwürdig sind und an ihrer eigenen Sichtweise der Geschehnisse beharren. Aber auch im Stil ist dieses Buch ungewöhnlich. Dustin hat die Eigenart, seine Sätze nicht zu beenden. Deswegen enden seine Sätze in Buch tatsächlich einfach so. Ohne Punkt hört plötzlich sein Satz auf. Auch meint man manchmal Schreibfehler oder formale Fehler zu finden, wie z.B. zu große Wortzwischenräume. Das Buch verwirrt nicht nur durch seine seltsame Story sondern auch durch seine Umsetzung. Die Kapitel sind oft sehr kurz, nur 1-2 Seiten lang. Manche Kapitel lesen sich, als ob jemand im Drogenrausch sie erzählt. Andere sind wiederum sehr normal. Manche Kapitel sind in einer Art Tabellenform erzählt. Man muss erst die erste Spalte lesen, über mehrere Seiten, dann die zweite und dann die dritte. Das ist alles höchst ungewöhnlich.

 

Trotz seines seltsamen Stils hat das Buch mich die ganze Zeit gefesselt. Alle Figuren haben ihre eigene Art, mit der Wahrheit umzugehen. Besonders Dustin ist sehr geübt darin, Dinge, die er nicht wahrhaben will, auszublenden. Er traut seinen Erinnerungen nicht, denn Erinnerungen können beeinflusst werden. Das weiß er als Therapeut sehr genau. Er ist zudem ein sehr leicht zu beeinflussender Mensch. Er ist zu vertrauensselig und der Ex-Cop, der sein Patient ist, weiß das für seine „Ermittlungen“ auszunutzen. Leider bleiben zum Teil einige Fragen am Ende offen. Wer hier wen manipuliert hat, das muss der Leser dann für sich selber entscheiden.

 

Wer sich auf dieses Buch einlässt, muss auf jeden Fall bereit sein, sich von den üblichen Stilmitteln zu verabschieden. Belohnt wird man mit einem sehr ungewöhnlichen Buch, das sich von der normalen Thrillerkost extremst abhebt

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The Other Woman – Sandie Jones

36212848   2 Stars

Emily meets the man of her dreams in a bar. Her romance is very serious very quickly. Everything would be fantastic if it were not Adam’s mother. Already from the first encounter Emily feels that Pammie does not like her. With all the tricks she tries to torpedo the relationship.

The summary sounds irresistible. Who is better suited as a villain than a mother in law who maliciously tries to alienate her son from his girlfriend. Unfortunately, I have no patience for whiny and submissive women. And Emily is such a person. Very quickly red flags appear everywhere and show very clearly that with the whole family, including Adam himself, something is wrong. But Emily thinks she is very smart and tough and thinks she can handle it. Unfortunately, she is in no way. She is naive and completely fixated on marrying this great man by her side.

There was a point in the book where I seriously considered stop reading. Emily became humble and obedient to me at some point. But instead I just flew over a few pages and read on. The book is written in a simple and fluent way so that it just flows by. In addition, Emily luckily came to a point where she then had too much of the whole messed-up family. My hopes got up. Unfortunately only for a short time.

Finally, I did not foresee the twist during my speed reading. But it was also so awkward and unlikely that I would have never imagined it. There could have been another possibility for this whole crude story. The twist was pretty much unbelievable.

Emily is really no example of emancipation and female strength. She is one of those characters for whom all the other characters in the book feel just worship, but as a reader I just think how fragile and whiny she is. Once again a very weak protagonist spoiled a book for me.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Something In The Water – Catherine Steadman

36388243  4 Stars

What a hell of a ride!

The book begins very unusual. The main character Erin digs a grave for the corpse of her husband. She describes very precisely how difficult it is in reality to dig a grave. How it happened that she has to make her dead husband disappear, we learn on the following pages.

 

Erin and Mark have been together for a few years. They’re happy. Mark has weathered the problems of the UK finance industry and Erin is making a name for himself as a documentary filmmaker. They decide to marry and make an opulent honeymoon. Unfortunately, Mark then loses his job by a stupid coincidence. So the wedding is more modest. But the honeymoon remains exclusive. Bora Bora. First class flight and a top hotel. Erin and Mark are happy.

 

On a diving trip they make a discovery. Due to adverse circumstances, a found bag ends up with them. They open it. And that changes everything.

 

You have to throw aside your common sense, your own morality and the logic to enjoy this book. So much goes wrong here and is so incredibly unlikely. But it’s a lot of fun. The book is a light-footed trip into the depths of man. Erin and Mark, a normal couple, become greedy random criminals in no time. The decline of the relationship is frightening but at the same time comprehensible. Of course, there are a lot of unbelievable accidents, e.g. through Erin’s accidental contact with a criminal. But the story is just a breathless action trip. There is a lot to criticise here but I see no reason why I should do so. The book is a lot of fun. You should just turn off you r head and enjoy the ride.

Don’t Believe It – Charlie Donlea

36296238  4 Stars

With only two books, Charlie Donlea has made it to the top of my personal favourites list. My first book I read from him was Summit Lake. It did not quite convince me at the time and I only awarded it with 3 stars. That was 2 years ago. But I have to admit that I still remember the story very well. I could retell it to the end. That’s something I can not say about many books. „The Girl Who Was Taken“ was a 5-star read for me and I really loved it. And now „Do not Believe It“. This book also impressed me.

 

The story revolves around Sidney, a young filmmaker. She has built a reputation for true crime drama. She already helped 2 wrongfully convicted men to freedom. Now she has taken the case of a young woman who has been imprisoned for 10 years for the murder of her boyfriend. The murder happened while staying in St. Lucia and that’s why the young woman, Grace, is in prison there. Sidney soon realizes that the investigation has adjusted the evidence to suspicion. She develops a documentary where she presents her current research every week. Every week, the audience knows as much as she has just found out. The show is a great success and Grace will be released. But as soon as Grace returns to the US, Sidney learns things that questions her investigation.

 

It takes a while for the story to get going. I’m more excited about the complexity and originality of the book than the execution. That is also the reason that I only give 4 stars. The tension is unfortunately very slow. The book is a little lengthy. At the beginning I was also irritated by the chapters dealing with Gus, a man in a hospital. It takes a while to figure out what he has to do with the story. I felt some things as something too long-winded. Sidney’s work as a filmmaker is interesting, but often very sprawling. The work of the doctor, who helps Sidney, is explained in every detail. I am also not sure if Gus needed such an expanded storyline. A retired cop who gets bored would have done it. Personally, I would not have needed his long healing process after illness to such an extent. It does not contribute to the actual story. A big minus for me is also the end. After having had so much time for so many aspects of the story, everything suddenly goes very fast. I figured out some of the resolutions before. The conclusions for some of the characters are very carelessly and not completely explained.

 

Despite my criticisms, I liked the book very much and above all very unusual. The story will stay with me, I am sure of that.  Charlie Donlea tells unusual and impressive stories. Very often, after a short time, I no longer remember the plot of many books that I read. Some I just read and forget quickly. This is not the case with Donlea’s books. They remain in my memory for a long time. Maybe because of those things that I have criticized. He just writes very intense and memorable. He writes in his own way very impressive stories. Even though I have my points of criticism, „Do not Believe It“ impressed me very much.

The Broken Girls – Simone St. James

cover132106-medium  5 Stars

There is something strange going on in a small town in Vermont. No one likes to go near the slowly decaying girls‘ boarding school. For decades, the school, which was intended for “troubled” girls, closed. It is said that there is a ghost. For the journalist Fiona, the place has particularly bad memories. 20 years ago her sister’s body was found there. She was beaten to death by her boyfriend and left there. He’s been in custody since then but Fiona does not let it go. Her family never recovered from the tragedy. Something gnaws at her and does not let her rest. Now the school has been sold and the new owner wants to reopen it. The corpse of a young girl who has been there for more than 60 years is found on the property. Fiona is fascinated by the strange coincidence that a murder has been committed on the property where her sister was found dead. She begins to investigate the story.

 

In the beginning I had a little trouble warming to Fiona. As much as I can understand her and her grief, I saw her problematic fixation on murder. It seemed to me she did not want to get over it. This murder defines her life and relationship with other people. The perpetrator was convicted and his guilt was never seriously debated. But even this fact did not help her to continue with her life reasonably. In the course of the story, I slowly warmed up for her. And that’s because of the writing talent of the author. The story is complex and does not involve confusion at any point. At a second time level, we get to know 4 young girls who lived in the boarding school. One of them is later murdered and she is the corpse found many years later.

 

The book is a mixture of ghost story, thriller, historical novel and family drama. It keeps the balance surprisingly good and none of the storylines falls flat. Many themes are interwoven into a complex story. The book is never boring and I could hardly put it down.  In fact, it is a very sad story. „The Broken Girls“ is an atmospheric, very well-written book that confidently trades its various levels of action. Thank you, Simone St. James, this was a high-class entertainment.

 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Bring Me Back – B A Paris

35857495   2 Stars
2 years ago I read „Behind Closed Doors“ by B A Paris and enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, her next book „The Breakdown“ did not convince me anymore. And now I have to admit that I liked „Bring Me Back“ just as little.

The story is just absolutely irrelevant and implausible. As noted by previous reviewers, the plot is taken from a soap opera. The characters remain extremely flat. The resolution I have guessed quite quickly. The whole book seems somehow unfinished and still in its raw state. First, the smooth writhin stopped me from DNF. But especially towards the end it goes downhill. I do not like it when the characters roll questions over questions in their heads. It’s teeming with question marks on some pages. In the end, there is no action but everything is explained in a letter. Anyway, towards the end, too much is explained rather than at the expense of action. The whole story is extremely bizarre and implausible. This book would also go through as a penny dreadful.

I am not sure if I will give the author another chance. I liked her first book, but two such bad follow-up books make me think.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart

33843362  3,5 Stars

Like many other readers, I am a fan of „We Were Liars“. I rarely read YA books. Most of the writing style is too simple and the youth problems are too far away for me. But E. Lockhart convinced me in both books and was able to captivate me. Even though „Genuin Fraud“ does not match up to her other book.

 

In the beginning it was a bit difficult for me. I am always a bit confused when a book just throws me into its story without any explaining. I was aware that the story is told backwards. This is an interesting gimmick, but as a reader you have to be prepared to see events and people emerge that we can not classify. Jule is vacationing in a hotel in Mexico. There she meets a woman in the gym. But very soon she becomes suspicious, feels persecuted and flees the hotel. You can tell immediately that Jules is different. How she assesses and behaves the whole situation is very unusual. Especially for an 18 year old girl.

 

In flashbacks, we learn how Jules came to Mexico. Before that she is still in London, New York, Martha’s Vineyard. You should not know so much about the content, although sometimes I would have wished I knew more. As I said, at the beginning I found it difficult to get into the story and to remember that I’m reading something that happened before the previous chapter. But the more you learn, the better the whole thing becomes and you get to know Jules better and how she ticks. And so it gets more interesting but also more abysmal.

 

For me not all questions were clarified. The book is relatively short and an easy and quick read. The characters are a little bit sketchy, even Jules. But it grew on me from chapter to chapter. I give 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review