Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hold Me Now by Stephen Gauer

Hold Me Now by Stephen Gauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It took a while to get going for me but once it did, about 75% in, I loved it.
The story is told from the perspective of a straight father and his gay son has been recently murdered. A few times the father's perspective reminded me of my own father.
Many angles were covered in this book, mostly told from the father's perspective. I disliked how everyone referred to the main character as Brenner, not sure if this was his first or last name but it sounded overly formal. Also loads and loads, pun intended, of straight sex in this book which I wasn't expecting. It ended up being a unique perspective as I wasn't sure a gay man could write so convincingly from a straight man's perspective, so who wrote this book and what was the intended audience? These questions held me up for most of the first 2/3 of the book.
There's a section where the father is thinking of the murderer in prison and wanting him to have more time to reflect on his crime. The book says: "Or did that assume a level of introspection and intelligence that would have prevented [him] from killing Daniel in the first place?" Which is an excellent question and once the focus shifted away slightly from the father I was able to get much more into the book.
The book left me focusing on the system of punishment we have, what we expect the punishment to do, why these crimes are committed, and although it left more questions than answers, I appreciated having these thought provoking issues to reflect on.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pumpkin Eater: A Dan Sharp Mystery by Jeffrey Round

Pumpkin Eater: A Dan Sharp Mystery by Jeffrey Round
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A good addition to the series, I liked it better than the original, Lake on the Mountain: A Dan Sharp Mystery.

Dan Sharp is in a better mood this time around, less old crank hitting the bottle and more likable detective/father. He's also less down about the city he lives in, Toronto, and these were my only two complaints about the last book.

The story reads well and it is nice to step back into this character's life. The mystery is a little too straightforward and then suddenly a little too convoluted. One person called by two names then becomes two people, then becomes three? Not sure how that happens. I think my math skills are a little off.

I liked hearing more about Ked, he seemed more real to me this time and I didn't get that he wasn't white last time for some reason. Ethnic diversity is also always good.

I also really liked the use of the Toronto Islands setting, I liked this more than the thousand islands setting previously.

I had a couple questions. I thought the preview at the end of Lake for this book indicated the initial warehouse fire was back in time, I seem to remember 2008. I haven't double checked but I remember thinking "Oh good, he gets to stay in Toronto as we're going back in time" and assuming he was moving to Vancouver as indicated at the end of the last book. Anyway, what happened to that as suddenly we're in the present.

Also the preview at the end of this book for the next book, The Jade Butterfly: A Dan Sharp Mystery doesn't mention Dan Sharp or any of the characters we know. I thought that maybe wasn't the best excerpt to use.

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