gsisk - Reviews

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12 Mystery Stories (Oxford Twelves)
12 Mystery Stories (Oxford Twelves)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/2/2018


These are fairly old (most are from the 19th century) and therefore rather tame by today's standards.


Airframe
Airframe
Author: Michael Crichton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 490
Review Date: 8/10/2010


Not one of Crichton's best - but still entertaining to read.


The Anatomy of Deception
The Anatomy of Deception
Author: Lawrence Goldstone
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 2/1/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Ephraim Carroll is a physician in 1889 Philadelphia, whose career is about to take off. He is being asked by his mentor Dr. Osler to join him at the new Johns Hopkins hospital, where the latest surgical techniques will be taught by a pioneering surgeon. During an autopsy session, Dr. Carroll notices a curious reaction on the part of Dr. Carroll and a fellow doctor (Turk) to one of the corpses. It is the body of a pretty young woman, well-kept, not one of the typical, poor human beings that are usually brought in for autopsies (at that time, autopsies were viewed by many to be a desecration of the human body). During a dinner Dr. Carroll hears that the daughter of a well-to-do family has disappeared and her friend asks him to help find her, because she has reason to believe that she might have contacted a doctor or hospital. He suspects that the body in the morgue is the missing woman, but when he checks the "Dead House" the body is no longer there.

He embarks on a search to find out what has happened to the woman, and finds himself befriending and being threatened not only by the seedier parts of society, but also by powerful families. When a fellow doctor is killed, he begins to unravel the secrets of his present and future mentors and ultimately has to make a choice between exposing (and ruining) a brilliant surgeon (which would most likely throw back surgery and thus condemning hundreds of future patients to die unnecessarily), and saving the life of a fellow colleague.

The story is fictional, but the characters are based on real persons, and the techniques used and state of medicine at the time are accurate. It was an informative read, and had well-fleshed-out characters. I enjoyed this book.


The Angel of Darkness
The Angel of Darkness
Author: Caleb Carr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 300
Review Date: 9/8/2011


Excellent read. Another case for the same cast of characters as in "The Alienist".


Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1)
Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1)
Author: Dan Brown
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 286
Review Date: 5/10/2009


This is actually the PREquel to the da Vinci Code. It is much less convincing as a story, and has some big holes in it. The basic outline is pretty much the same: Prof. Langdon is called to CERN to puzzle out a strange symbol carved (no - that's the dV Code) eh ... branded into a murdered scientist's chest. Together with a pretty scientist he follows the trail, leading to and around Rome. Ultimately, he has to save the damsel in distress.

There is a short explanatory story given about the main villain's reason for committing his deed, which is rather unnecessary and seems to have been an afterthought.

All in all: don't waste your time on this one - just watch the movie. It's too predictable anyway.


Arabesk (Inspector Ikmen, Bk 3)
Arabesk (Inspector Ikmen, Bk 3)
Author: Barbara Nadel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 3/1/2009


It's a good read, but not as good as the other 2 books by Barbara Nadel I have read (Belshazzar's Daughter, The Ottoman Cage (= A Chemical Prison)).

The secret wife of famous Turkish singer Erol Urfa is murdered. Only the motive is unclear. The singer's lover (another famous Turkish star) knew about the wife and was content being the lover. Erol Urfa himself comes from a traditional background, and being properly married and having children is of utmost importance to him.

Of course, there is the neighbor's son whose fingerprints are all over the murder scene - only he has Down's Syndrome and would not be capable of a carefully planned murder.


At Knit's End : Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
At Knit's End : Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
Author: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 94
Review Date: 1/4/2008


Cute. This is a small book (about4x6") - makes a nice little gift for a knitter.

The contents is cutesy/funny-to-moderately-substantial, lots of quotes and interesting tidbits.


Atlantis (Jack Howard, Bk 1)
Atlantis (Jack Howard, Bk 1)
Author: David Gibbins
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 130
Review Date: 11/16/2008
Helpful Score: 2


I was expecting something between Indiana Jones and the daVinci Code when I bought this book. I was sorely disappointed. The hero is a James Bond type archeologist, and of course an expert in everything. The story is bogged down by countless technical details about weaponry and gadgets, balanced by cliched characters: the loyal-to-the-death friends, the damsel-in-distress, the plain and, of course, traitorous woman, the evil muslim warlord. Oh, and of course, Atlantis is destroyed in the end.

I was ready to stop reading this book midway through, but finished it out of morbid curiosity, and because, out of principle, I don't like not finishing a book.


Auferstanden von den Toten
Auferstanden von den Toten
Author: Martha Grimes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/8/2008


GERMAN-Language book. It is a translation of Martha Grimes' novel "The Grave Maurice".

I've heard of Martha Grimes before, so expected a good novel. I was a bit disappointed. While nicely written, it was at times somewhat boring (it felt like I was reading an episode of "Friends") and the actual crime-solving part of the book took a backseat to bantering and humorous (well, not that humorous) chit-chat. Maybe that's Martha Grimes' style - but as a mystery it wasn't that interesting.


Auriel Rising
Auriel Rising
Author: Elizabeth Redfern
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 6/16/2010


After reading "The Music of the Spheres" I found this book generally in the same vein (no happy ending), but ultimately disappointing.

In the England of King James, Ned returns from overseas to look up his love, Kate, only to find out that she married shortly after he left, and now has a small son. In a pub he wins a letter, written by the famous Dr. Dee, an alchemist, addressed "To Auriel, I will give the gift of gold ...". Soon Ned realizes that there are many people who are after it, and who are not shy to kill for it. Ned does not believe in a recipe for gold, and indeed the letter seems to have a double meaning ...

I had a hard time sometimes, following why the characters acted the way they did; the story was a bit disjointed. It took 130 pages to finally figure out what was going on. I developed no sympathy for any of the characters. ... So: meh.


Awesome Abs: The Gut Busting Selection for Men  Women
Awesome Abs: The Gut Busting Selection for Men Women
Author: Paul Chek
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/17/2010


This was a disappointment for me. I thought it was a *book* - instead it is more of a booklet.

Great for people who like to drool over bodybuilders' pictures. Very small part on exercises, but they seem to be good.


Belshazzar's Daughter (Inspector Ikmen, Bk 1)
Belshazzar's Daughter (Inspector Ikmen, Bk 1)
Author: Barbara Nadel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 10/7/2007
Helpful Score: 4


Great story. The characters are are so real, you feel like you are inside their heads.

An old Jew is murdered in Istanbul's Jewish quarter, but Inspector Ikmen does not buy the Nazi-related clue. The story goes deep into the past of one family, and has a fiery climax. Some graphic scenes, but they advance the story. Can't wait to read another Inspector Ikmen book!

Excellent book.


The Body Farm  (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 5)
The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 5)
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 688
Review Date: 8/3/2008
Helpful Score: 1


I was a bit disappointed in Kay Scarpetta's self-aggrandizing. I did not remember that from other Scarpetta books. There was also a number of times when product brand names were mentioned en passant which makes me suspicious that these were paid product placements.

Aside from that, not bad, but I've read better Scarpetta books.


Body of Evidence  (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 2)
Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 2)
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 309
Review Date: 8/14/2008
Helpful Score: 2


The body of a young and promising writer is discovered in her home shortly after she returns from hiding out. She was the protege of another, famous old writer who was living off the success of his one good book. But it seems she was more than just his protege, and her latest manuscript has disappeared - apparently it was going to be a tell-all book. But then the old writer is murdered, too; and his sister commits suicide.

It's one of those books I kept reading, because I wanted to know who done it, but I did not really enjoy it, because of Scarpetta's self-aggrandizing ways.


The Bone Garden (Medical Thrillers, Bk 5)
The Bone Garden (Medical Thrillers, Bk 5)
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 275
Review Date: 10/4/2008


Great Read! In 1830s Boston medical schools are struggling to keep their students provided with (preferably) fresh cadavers so they can practice their dissection skills. At the same time a mysterious disease is claiming the lives of new mothers who give birth in hospitals. Aurnia is one of them, but her child is saved from the orphanage by her sister Rose. Rose soon realizes that somebody wants that baby and is willing to commit murder to get it.

This story is set into a present-day frame, in which recently divorced Julia digs up a skeleton in the garden of her new home. Relatives of the previous owner have saved many boxes of documents and together they piece together what happened to Rose, and also find out who the skeleton in the garden once was.

This book provides some fascinating glimpses into what anatomy lessons at that time were like - there are a few parts in here that are not for the squeamish.

I read this in two days - very well written, great characters, and a surprise murderer!


The Breaker
The Breaker
Author: Minette Walters
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 72
Review Date: 4/13/2009


Great writing ... one of the few books I read in one day!

Mrs. Sumner is found dead on an isolated stretch of coast. Apparently, she was raped and thrown overboard while still alive. Suspects are a wannabe actor who does the occasional porn shoot, and has a reputation of being a ladies man, and of course, her husband. The narrative swings back and forth between these two suspects and gives you a little more information about each person each time, so that you are convinced that yes, this is the guy.

Great read!


The Brothers Karamazov (Penguin Classics)
The Brothers Karamazov (Penguin Classics)
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 10/12/2008


Yes, it's world literature ... but it's like trying to wade through thick mud. You will need stamina to finish this book.


Buddenbrooks. Verfall einer Familie. Roman.
Buddenbrooks. Verfall einer Familie. Roman.
Author: Thomas Mann
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/14/2017


One of the German classics.

The Buddenbrooks are a wealthy German merchant family. Their fate is traced from about 1835 to 1875 using the siblings Thomas and Antonie as the main figures.

Thomas Mann's German is like a rich truffle you want to let melt on your tongue. Beautifully written.


Burial Ground (Moundmaster, Bk 1)
Burial Ground (Moundmaster, Bk 1)
Author: Malcolm Shuman
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 4/13/2010


Contract archeologist Dr. Graham is good, but business is slow. On top of that a new competitor moves into town, Dr. Courtney, a rather attractive if a bit brusque female archeologist. At the same time he is hired by a wealthy landowner who wants to have his land examined, because there might be an ancient Indian burial site located on it (with possible treasure!). Unfortunately, Dr. Graham's client is killed in an automobile accident shortly afterward. There is one peculiar thing about the accident, though - the coroner finds an extra tooth that does not belong to the victim.

The landowner's son extends Dr. Graham's contract, because he is convinced his father's death has something to do with the suspected burial ground on the land. So Drs. Graham and Courtney set out searching for it, but soon realize that someone does not want it found!

Nice story - it meanders at a slow pace, but keeps you interested enough, because of the characters.


The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library , Bk 1)
The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library , Bk 1)
Author: Ian Sansom
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 77
Review Date: 9/17/2007
Helpful Score: 9


Nice little story about Israel Armstrong, a librarian, who gets a job in a small North Ireland town - only it's not what he expected it to be. The library is closed and he even has to find all the books. The writing style gets a little repetitive and tedious after a while, but a nice read, nevertheless.


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