BOOK REVIEW: The Broken Shore – by Peter Temple

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Title: The Broken Shore
(Broken Shore #1)

Author: Peter Temple
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: 2005
Finished reading: January 26th 2013
Pages: 345
Rating 3,5qqq

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The mystery/thriller genre is one of my favorites, so I’m always on the lookout for new books belonging to the genre. When I saw a copy of The Broken Shore on the hostel shelves, I knew I had to pick it up. The promise of a proper crime story set in the middle of Australia convinced me straight away, and I think the setting is what I ended up liking most of this novel by Peter Temple. I like it when local knowledge shows in a story, although I do have to admit that the amount of Australian slang used in the story did slow down the pace considerably. There is a glossary in the back, but still it might complicate reading the story for those who are not familiar with the words. That said, I also admire the author for having used the Aussie words, since it makes the story more authentic. The plot itself is quite interesting and touches some interesting themes like corruption and racial prejudice. It’s an entertaining enough read, even though I can’t say it was one of my favorites.

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Homicide detective Joe Cashin has fled the ctiy after being broken by his last case. He returns to his hometown to recover from the past and let his wounds heal, but this recovery is interrupted by the murder of a wealthy older man and prominent member of the local community: Charles Bourgoyne. Three young men form the Aboriginal community are suspected of having commited the crime. Cashin is asked to help in the case, and he personally isn’t so sure the three youngsters did it. Corruption and prejudice seem to play a big role in the case and when one of the young Aboriginal men dies after a chase, all hell breaks loose. The local police is accused of discrimination by the Aboriginal community, clouding the actual murder investigation even further. What really happened to Charles Bourgoyne?

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The Broken Shore is an interesting enough crime novel for those who like the genre, although it’s not the best out there. The Australian setting and slang make the story feel authentic on one hand, but it does make it difficult to read for those who are not familiar with the dialect. The plot itself is not that special, although the involvement of the Aboriginal community did give it an extra touch. All in all a solid enough read if you don’t mind the frequent use of Aussie words.

BOOK REVIEW: Cross – by James Patterson

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Title: Cross
(Alex Cross Series #12)
Author: James Patterson
First published: 2006
Finished reading: January 11th 2013
Pages: 393

Rating 2,5

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I admit I normally enjoy reading novels written by James Patterson, but unfortunately I’m becoming tired of the Alex Cross series. It almost seems like he doesn’t put any effort into the series anymore, and things tend to become repetitive. It still is a fast read and I guess it does the job of delivering a few hours of easy entertainment. I will probably continue reading this series whenever I need a quick and easy read, but I’ll cross my fingers that James Patterson wakes up and starts writing like before again… I enjoyed his earlier work way better.

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Alex Cross left the FBI to work as a psychologist again. He still isn’t over his wife Maria’s death and wants vengeance, but he tries to get on with his life anyway. Then Cross’s former parter John Sampson asks for help in an investigation. A serial rapist is on the loose, using terrifying photos to threaten his victims. In short he tells them that if they talk to someone about what happened, they end up like those on the pictures: in a horrible death. The women refuse to testify and Cross and Sampson have a difficult job to try and catch the rapist. Things become interesting when they find a connection to Maria’s death. Will Alex Cross finally gets the vengeance he so desperately is searching for?

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Like I said before, if you aren’t looking for the next literary masterpiece and need a few hours of easy entertaining, Cross and the Alex Cross series is a good choice for you. It’s not the best read out there, but it’s a quick one that you can easily finish in one afternoon. Maybe not the best of James Patterson‘s work, but acceptable.

BOOK REVIEW: The Kite Runner – by Khaled Hosseini

brthekiterunnerTitle: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary
First published: May 29th 2003
Finished reading: January 5th 2013
Pages: 371

Rating 5qqq

“It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right. It didn’t make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.”

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The Kite Runner was my first experience with Khaled Hosseini‘s work and it is still my all time favorite (although A Thousand Splendid Suns comes a close second). I have read this story various times since it first came out, and it manages to enchant me every time. The Kite Runner tells us a story that is both well written, inspiring, full of raw and real emotions and simply a rollercoaster ride that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. The character development is very well done and the unlikely friendship between the wealthy boy Amir and the son of his father’s servant, Hassan, will bring tears to your eyes. Not only is it a heartbreaking story of family, love and friendship, but it also gives facts about the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years. All in all it’s a very beautiful and powerful read that will surely appeal to those who like reading historical fiction and learn more about foreign cultures and Afghanistan in particular. It’s Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel, and for me his best work so far.

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Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant and member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan is the son of his father’s servant and part of the despised and impoverished Hazara caste. Despite these differences an unlikely friendship has grown between the two boys. When Amir has to abandon his home and friend due to the increasing tensions during the last years of the Afghan monarchy, he never truly forgets about Hassan. The bond between the two boys is so strong that Amir decides to travel back to find him. The political and religious situation is more complicated than ever in Afghanistan, and that only complicates their reunion? What will happen to the two boys and their country?

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I love reading books set in cultures I am not that familiar with and the fact that The Kite Runner is so beautifully written is a huge bonus. Not only is the historical information really intriguing, but Khaled Hosseini managed to mix those facts with a heartbreaking story of friendship, love and family. If you like the genre and haven’t read this book yet, I would definitely recommend picking it up. It’s easy to say The Kite Runner belongs to my list of all time favorites.