Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book reports

This is s mostly fun first novel in a series of three novels about what happens when genetically modified tape worms that humans get injected with decide to take over their hosts.  The worms are genetically modified to help humans fight off disease and heal faster but when things start to go wrong shit really hits the fan.  It's full of interesting characters and  exciting situations but it suffers from being about 75 pages too long.  The author, Mira Grant is a pseudonym, needed her editor to cut out the silly fake quotes and the scenes where the main character, a woman who is miraculously healed from a serious accident but can't remember her past once she wakes up from a coma, sits around and ponders her life all the time.  Just get on with the story and stop the extraneous padding.  But having said that, I'll probably read the others when they come out, even if they're a bit too long like this one was.

I've tried other Scandinavian mysteries and mostly they're good reads, albeit very different in style from American mysteries, so I thought I'd give this series by Norwegian writer Karin Fossum a try.  By far it's the best of the lot of current moody northern European outings.  Her Inspector Sejer isn't some kind of melancholy alcoholic with one foot in the mental hospital, he's actually a believable older cop with flaws but his flaws don't overtake his personality, they're a part of him but they are not the whole of him.  In this book he solves the mystery of a well loved local girl's murder.  It's very good and it's very evocative of small towns everywhere, not just the town in Norway where it took place.  I really like Ms. Fossum's work so far, it's not a self consciously brooding and dependent on coincidence like the Wallander books are.  I've started the second one and so far I like it even more than I liked this one.

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