Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book Review: The Neanderthal's Aunt

Hmmm! Let's create Jurassic Park (yes, I know it's off by 60M years, but the drift is there) in the womb of a monkey to give a rich, self-absorbed, and annoying woman a baby after her husband dies and then drag her sister, THE NEANDERTHAL'S AUNT, through this hellacious and suspect process. Could work. I love the braided plot line where odd little tidbits in life coalesce into hair-brained logic at the end of the story. Though it starts off a bit slow, good moments of sheer lunacy thrive in the story. Some love interest aspects between two of the main characters didn't click with me. What does he really see in the aunt? How can she care for a playboy? The aunt is not quite Bridget Jones--though close, the science is a bit wacky or perhaps it's the lack of medical team support for the crazy science experiment that pulled me out of the story a few times, and the very ending seems emotionally right but the how and where were kind of hard to swallow.

Still it is a very good read for the beach or on the plane. You may even find yourself laughing out loud on a few occasions. With the right players, this might actually make a better movie than book. Zany romance female leads Renee Zellweger and Sandra Bullock are pushing the age envelope, but I think a fattened-up Alyson Hannigan could pull this off. This is a very strong 4-star book.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

SOCIAL DEATH is deadly

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

SOCIAL DEATH by Tatiana Boncompagni is a well-written and layered murder mystery with lots of interesting details about the news reporting business, which I assume is accurate since I'm not in the biz. It was also nice to read a story where the police were not painted as total buffoons although what was considered a leak, lead, off-the record comment, or non-denial denial from the cops often seemed arbitrary. It is a fast-paced story with the expected twists and red herrings, a too-long denouement, and a few ambiguous last lines that will send conspiracy theorists rereading the book for "the truth" about the death of one character.

I never really warmed up to the protagonist, Cornelia "Clyde" Shaw, despite the explanations for her actions based on her past issues. She had far too many forgiving guardian angels especially for a career in an industry often painted, even in the story, as brutal and vicious. But life is two-faced. Had she been a man, her escapades would probably have been considered colorful rather than capricious and slutty. I believe this had to have been written this way on purpose. If so, well done.

Like many mystery readers, I play the game of detective alongside the protagonist. I love it when I'm totally fooled at the end. I was not fooled here. 43% of the way through my Kindle read, I knew who had committed the murder and more importantly, why. Yet, it did not deter me from enjoying the rest of the read. SOCIAL DEATH is a solid 4-star mystery. In the hands of an experienced screenwriter to tighten the story even more, it would make a good movie.