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Three Stations
Three Stations
par Martin Cruz Smith
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Arkadi Renko's struggle to solve crimes, 22 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Three Stations (Broché)
Late in this thriller, Martin Cruz Smith (MCS) describes his hero Arkadi Renko's mindset as sailing in a small boat on an enormous sea where deep below a great struggle is taking place, causing huge waves and all manner of strange creatures to rise to the surface... Despite decades as a stubborn, contrarian Russian investigator, Arkadi faces suspension and dismissal in the new Moscow with its billionaires, casinos, private urban renewers, fat cars and branded-clothing outlets.

But it is also the biotope of thousands of street children aged 8-15 trying to survive in gangs. The square linking three important Moscow railway stations is a favourite hunting ground for child gangs and criminals. It reminds 88-year old photographer Anna Furtseva, a real-life cameo living high above the square, of tropical Africa's watering points where lots of wild species meet. In the Moscow version, hyenas predominate... Readers of MCS's "Wolves Eat Dogs" meet autistic Zhenya again. He is 15 now and lives on the street, earning money playing chess in the waiting rooms of the Three Stations, protected by a child gang led by Jegor (16). Arkadi was/is his foster parent; they establish contact only towards the end of the book.

The thriller's main themes are (1) the search by a 15-year old runaway prostitute for her stolen baby; (2) the death of a young woman found in a maintenance vehicle parked near the Three Stations, its power supplied from the premises of the Railway Police; and (3) Arkadi's struggle to continue his investigations. One line of inquiry suggests a possible serial killer who arranges his victims in classical ballet positions...

Three red threads act as safety straps to hold this somewhat chaotic tale together:(1) allusions to Walt Disney's old movie "Snow White"; (2) references to the legendary Russian ballet dancer Nijinski (and his mother) in many contexts, and (3) a constant reminder that all Moscow's police forces are very corrupt, from top to bottom and back again. A thriller smelling of real life, but chaotically plotted and written. But perhaps this is the only true way to depict fighting crime in Moscow now, and therefore a brilliant book. A read like riding a wild horse.

Hit and Run
Hit and Run
par Lawrence Block
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 6,86

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hunter becomes hunted, 20 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Hit and Run (Poche)
Lawrence Block (LB) is a productive (crime-)writer with a flowing style, interesting characters, good plots and his books are well researched. Outside the US, LB is best known for his series of 17 thrillers about post-alcoholic NY detective Matt Scudder. He has also devoted book series to perpetrators: Ten books followed Bernie Rhodenbarr, a brilliant burglar; eight covered Evan Tanner, an insomniac adventurer; and five (5) dealt with Keller, a professional killer.
This is LBs fourth thriller about hit man Keller, who works closely with `Dot'(for Dorothy). They did well financially until Keller's job in Des Moines, Iowa becomes a career changing disaster for both. It evidently kills Dot and sends Keller on the run, evading a nation-wide search for him. The book is mostly about Keller trying to stay alive without his old resources. It would be a disservice to new readers to tell more...

But it must be said, Keller is a weird criminal. Instead of a male bonder he is an almost completely anonymous entity, except for Dot. He is justifiably somewhat paranoid because in his trade or craft, a successful hit often backfires on the hitter: the solution becomes the next problem. Many hit men survive their prey by fewer than 48 hours. But Keller has no compunction at all about killing as a job or for his own protection or, once in this book, for altruistic reasons. At the end of this thriller he has notched up or punched five more kills or tickets.

He is also a quirky criminal. His greatest passion is philately. Pardon me? Keller is a avid stamp collector, proud owner of ten albums. And he deeply loves his 50-inch flat screen TV and its futuristic remote control full of amazing functions... Despite his profession, Keller sometimes adheres to a few ethical values. Which comes in good stead after the Iowa meltdown and his being chased across the nation.
Time for readers to take over. Morally repellent, a nice read, good dialogue, nice twists and turns, good finish.

The Drop
The Drop
par Michael Connelly
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Harry Bosch pushed to his limits, 3 mars 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Drop (Broché)
Memorable book on the never-ending struggle between Harry Bosch (HB) and Irvin S. Irving (ISI), once a front contender for LAPD Chief of Police, is now a powerful member of Los Angeles's City Council. In `The Last Coyote' (1995), Harry found out that ISI was the young street cop who first discovered his mother's dead body when he was only eleven years old. Ever since he joined the LAPD, they have clashed...
Now ISI's son is found dead and naked on the pavement in front of the hotel he checked himself into. ISI pulls strings and insists that HB gets the case and reports to him daily about his murder investigation. But was it murder? It means HB and his partner Chu have to suspend their normal work of solving cold cases and investigate a real crime scene. An ill-advised infatuation, singlehandedly parenting his 15-year old daughter, frustration with partner Chu, ISI's perceived scheming and the vagaries of dealing with the force's top brass, take a heavy toll on Harry: late into the book he is seriously considering turning in his gold shield...
Well plotted and written with plenty of twists and turns and a satisfactory ending. However, the final pages suggest Harry may still call it quits. He has come close to making a huge mistake he would not have made five or even two years before. Is he losing his touch? Is he finally cracking under the combined weight of so much evil going on unnoticed and LAPDs poisonous politics? One of Connelly's best police procedurals

The Hard Way: A Jack Reacher Novel
The Hard Way: A Jack Reacher Novel
par Lee Child
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 6,74

4.0 étoiles sur 5 About strong sisters, 25 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Hard Way: A Jack Reacher Novel (Poche)
This 10th Reacher adventure is situated in NYC and moves later to England. Reacher becomes accidentally involved in a kidnapping case. It concerns the wife and stepdaughter of Alan Lane (AL), an ex-US colonel who heads a company offering paramilitary services. From being the only witness to the money transfer, Reacher challenges AL and his A-team of six mercenaries into involving him more, a highly trained investigator and within hours he proves himself indispensible. But soon the plot thickens, because he is approached by Patti, younger sister of AL's first wife, who was kidnapped too. Five years ago, and despite USD 100.000 ransom paid, she was found dead a month later...

From then on Reacher plays a double role. He moves in and out of AL's HQ on various jobs and pretexts. Inside he studies AL and his A-team, waiting for the kidnappers' call with further instructions. Outside, via Patti he meets NYPD detective Brewer and former FBI-agent Lauren Pauling, a private detective now. Who feels bad about the outcome of the first kidnapping. When after many twists and turns the action moves to England, she and Reacher are are partners and an item, ready for a complicated showdown.

Cleverly-plotted with plenty of cliff hangers and logical thinking. No Reacher book is complete without an epic, final burst of ruthless violence. Well done again. However, re the violence in this book, this reader has some issues: some threats AL made against his second wife are nauseating and over the top. And why situate massive, appalling cruelty going on for years in peaceful Burkina Faso, with so many more deserving alternatives around?

The Spies
The Spies
par Luis Fernando Verissimo
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 15,97

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Intriguing Brazilian crime story, 24 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Spies (Relié)
The nameless editor of a tiny book publisher in Porto Alegre receives by post chapters, one by one, of a novel in progress about, or written by 'Ariadne'. She writes about being held hostage by her husband in Frondosa and announces her suicide once she finishes her book. The editor finds her a talent with great potential, despite her never using commas and many spelling errors. He falls in love with her and worries about how to proceed, as an editor and a man. As a fan of John Le Carré and Graham Greene and their works on espionage, he decides `to put a man in place in Frondosa to assess the situation and the enemy's response. He convinces some of his fellow weekend-boozers to move to the small town. And joins his team when they report no longer....

His `Operation Theseus' is based on dreams and conjecture rather than on clearly-defined targets. What follows is a mixture of amusing and dramatic scenes, cleverly linked by the author to a web of references to e.g. the mythical Ariadne of Naxos and other ancient Greeks, German philosophy, the Italian surrealist painter De Chirico and Silvia Plath, a poet famous for foretelling her own exit. And indoor soccer!

Well-plotted and written novella full of obsessions and misunderstandings. Its cast of bizarre characters is reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novels: a man who betted against Brazil in the 1950 World Cup final against Uruguay, whose life was both enriched and blighted ever since. Or the astrologer who never received a cent for his bestseller from the editor's company, and who tags and bombards him with angry letters, then joins `Operation Theseus'. Or the other team members: nihilistic Professor Fortuna and Jewish lecturer Dubin. And the brothers controlling Frondosa, the enemy. Ariadne is married to one of them...

This novel is about obsessions and delusions. It is surely not a love story, nor a philosophical tract or a superbly-plotted spy novel. Readers will surely react is diverse ways to this mongrel-type book, and will highlight many issues this reader ignored in his review. Rich for those who have a nose for it.

Metro 2033
Metro 2033
par Dmitry Glukhovsky
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 12,30

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Russian post-atomic SF novel, 15 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Metro 2033 (Broché)
This is an SF novel, not of the inter-galactic type but situated inside the Moscow metro system. It was published in Russia in 2005 and over 2 million Russians have bought its on-line version. Its success has inspired persons and companies to create online games, blogs and further episodes. This book has spawned an industry. What is it about?
Moscow's survivors of an atomic strike are hanging on to life in its subway network, designed by Stalin and his successors to withstand nuclear warfare. Theoretically, its 100+ stations should shield millions, but when the bombs struck, only subway passengers and a few lucky people above ground made it into the system before its doors and gates closed. Survivors stayed on in its stations and over time each station developed its own coping system re survival and security, guarding its entry- and exit points from inside the tunnels. Going outside by day means death from radiation (nuclear, sun). At night, highly-paid Stalkers clad in protective gear venture into the destroyed city on behalf of investors, to retrieve key items...
The book's hero is Artyom. He is in his 20s, an early orphan, brought up by foster father Sukhoy, a kind of diplomat for the tube station they live in in. Tube stations have become stratified into e.g. communist, fascist, free trade and purely criminal enclaves. Followers of other faiths or worldviews dominate other stations. Some adjoining stations have merged into confederations. The strongest is the Hanze-federation controlling on the Moscow circle line every station where branch lines come in.
What makes this a novel is Artyom, who is given a task by a man described as the Hunter, a killer assigned to protect the system against fatal dangers from within and outside. If he fails to return from his next mission, Artyom has to carry a verbal message to a person living in Polis...
This is a rich novel for aficionados of SF and perhaps academics, because Artyom meets many interesting people on his Odyssee to Polis. It is a complex of four stations below Moscow's city centre where the last living scientists and artists live, a community willing to pay high rewards to Stalkers to retrieve books from the mega library above ground, rather than for fuel, food and other key resources...
Final words, SF is not my favorite genre. But this book is rich in terms of ideas. It should appeal to readers welcoming an unusual thriller-like, almost classical epos in a dark, and dangerous, underground universe.

The Grandmothers
The Grandmothers
par Doris Lessing
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 7,81

3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Weird, well written account about a taboo, 13 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Grandmothers (Broché)
Was this novella written long ago or a recent creation? Dorris Lessing (1919) won the Nobel prize for literature in 2007. This novella was published in 2003. It is a woman's book about two little girls, Lil and Roz, who went to school together when they were small. They have remained close friends ever since and became opposite neighbours in an idyllic US beach resort full of artists, despite husbands and children. Both have a son.

Lil's adulterous husband kills himself in a road accident, Roz's husband is unhappy about his marriage and moves out. Which leaves two youngish, busy working mothers with an adolescent son each. What happens next will cause some readers to gasp for breath. What happens between the foursome is not punishable by law, but... No one on the street and in the coastal resort itself suspects anything, but how long can this go on? Longer than one would expect...

Rich novella, which starts with an intrusion from an unexpected angle. Challenging novella that cannot ever end happily. Dear readers beware: this novella is offered as a stand-alone offer and/or as title-holding book with a much larger collection of her stories. Go for the best offer.

Kolymsky Heights
Kolymsky Heights
par Lionel Davidson
Edition : Relié

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant, forgotten masterpiece, 12 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Kolymsky Heights (Relié)
Bought this novel long ago at a market stall and was struck by its imaginative power. One friend has read this compelling spy story four times by now. I reread it only once. Having given away my own copy, I have to rely on my memory to entice readers to enjoy this captivating spy novel, which ultimately is also a love story. This brilliant novel is about sneaking into Siberia and getting out again during the Cold War.
Kolyma is one of the coldest regions on earth hosting many labour camps in the Stalin era. This story is situated in eastern Siberia, some of whose native people migrated millennia ago to Alaska and western Canada. The novel's hero Johnny Porter is a Canadian Native Indian with a gift for language, who turns out to be well able to communicate with speakers of his ancient ancestors' language: because he received a plea for help from a security agency: the Soviets are doing something very suspicious and dangerous in a super-secret laboratory deep inside the permafrost of Kolyma... And as the song goes, Johnny goes. And how!
For readers to discover and enjoy is how Johnny Porter infiltrates into the Soviet Union and finds his way to Kolyma, survives there while investigating, and most of all how he gets out again...
Author Lionel Davidson (1922-2009) is an enigmatic person. In the 1960s and `70s he won three Gold Dagger Awards, the top British prize for crime writing. Then, for 16 years, he fell silent. Until recovering from whatever ailed him to write this book, first published in 1994. Alas, by then the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was old news and his book was ignored as part of a genre no longer en vogue. Written ten or twenty years earlier, it would have been a major bestseller.
A very enjoyable piece of writing and high on my list of great books that failed to become a bestseller.

A Deniable Death
A Deniable Death
par Gerald Seymour
Edition : Relié

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Thriller about IEDs, roadside bombs, 12 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : A Deniable Death (Relié)
Gerald Seymour (GS) is a bestselling author on armed conflicts involving the UK. This is his 28th thriller, in which, as always, he portrays his heroes and villains spot on against authentic backgrounds. This sprawling, well-plotted novel confirms his reputation as one of the best writers about emergencies involving military, police and intelligence services.

Rachid, a brilliant Iranian engineer in miniature electronics, sneezes on a work in progress. Months later in Iraq, his DNA is lifted from a disabled IED. Later, cigarette butts collected by a local MI-6 recruit outside his alleged home in Iran confirm his identity. Bomb architect Rachid is always a step ahead of his detractors, despite tens of billions in R&D investments in the US: he uses basic science and imports from Dubai of key technology made in the USA. GS invokes poet Rudyard Kipling re Afghanistan in the 19th century, where and when massive force and science failed against cheap, new forms of attack and simple rifles made in what is today Pakistan...

This thriller contains a handful of sometimes depressing storylines and has an emotional start and finish in the small town of Wootton Bassett, where `Middle England' honours its repatriated war dead. What follows is the tale of a deniable, multinational effort to `interdict' the man responsible for most of the allied forces' dead and wounded in Iraq and the alliance's retreat: Rachid, the Engineer.

The bulk of this epos concerns two British rural surveillance experts with a police background. They are almost press-ganged into the operation, poorly briefed and flown quickly to Iraq to sneak across the border. To wade through hostile marshland to eavesdrop on the Engineer's well-protected home. To assess his future movements and set him up for the final kill. But camouflage experts Foxy (51) and Badger (28) loathe each other from the start...

The novel exudes many emotions: hypocrisy at the top; ambition, hopes of redemption at the middle level. Because all actions must be deniable, only marginal, expendable operators are involved, including the 2 infiltrators: Foxy speaks Farsi, Badger is his mule and neither has a shining future ahead of them. Profound book about values and motivations of people and agencies waging war far away from home. Emotions at the cutting edge of the operation and its back-up team run high too. But what determines the outcome is courage, holding firm, and ultimately, sheer heroism. Highly recommended!

Shock Wave
Shock Wave
par John Sandford
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 6,88

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Light prose, quirky hero, nice background, 12 février 2013
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Shock Wave (Poche)
John Sandford (JF) created two dozen police procedurals around Lucas Davenport (LC), an unusual police investigator in Minneapolis, wealthy thanks to computer games and simulations he designed. He drives to work in a Porsche. This reader never enjoyed LC as a character as much as e.g. Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch or Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder.
This police procedural is JF's fifth about Virgil Flowers (VF), a roving policeman in rural Minnesota and answerable to LC. This reader missed his previous adventures and lots of background. What I learnt about him: he married 3 times and divorced 3 times within 3 years, which is quite a feat. He likes fishing, is a male bonder, good networker and rational thinker, always keeping his options open. He looks like a hippy, loves Diet Coke, McDonald food and rare t-shirts. Finally, he seems a somewhat religious person, which is quite rare in this genre. But his occasional references to boners and its equivalents cast doubt on the depth of his faith.
Whatever. This thriller is about a series of deadly bomb attacks with the first striking the boardroom of the Michigan-based HQ of PyeMart, a supermarket chain. Days later explosions destroy a PyeMart building site in a town of 18.000 in Minnesota and later target several individuals, incl. VF. With help from a fellow fishing fiend, a focus group-like survey is held to highlight the most likely suspects. Meanwhile, finding a compelling motive behind the explosions is another challenge. Instructive about the methods and impact of big supermarket chains on small towns' existing businesses.

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