The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon took me forever to finish. My mom gave me this so-called mystery. It fails to provide the excitement and suspense that most readers seek from this genre. Bacon promises a mystery but really this book has an identity crisis without a true direction. Is it a murder mystery, suspense, drama, romance, coming of age story turned bad or young adult fiction? What an awful read. It lacked intrigue, the characters were boring, there was very little time focused on the solving the crime and there were too many subplots that had nothing to do with the main story. Bacon's writing style is very juvenile. She was not able to write dialogue that made sense for her male characters. The male characters read like women. I had to keep reading as I wanted to know how the story was resolved, but it was extremely painful and predictable.
The Hiding Place is an extremely sad, dark novel. Trezza Azzopardi sets the scene in the soon to be demolished Cardiff, Wales docklands. She develops a stark, scuzzy, cold environment where the Gauci family struggles immensely. The main character is Dolores. Her goal is to untangle memories, piece together stories and sort through the gossip to learn the truth behind what tears her family apart. "Someone must be to blame." Dolores eventually realizes that it’s impossible to pinpoint who is to blame “as with all truth, there is another version.” Azzopardi is absolutely brilliant with language. In the story, ghost pains plague Dolores. These pains not only represent the real loss of her hand, but also the loss of her family. She misses what she never had. She was so young when her sisters were sent away, her dad left, her mother broke down or when she is placed in care. She wants so desperately to be part of her family. A family that is grossly dysfunctional. Azzopardi has created a disturbing, emotionally powerful tale.
And the Mountains Echoed is the best book I have read this year. Khaled Hosseini continues to craft masterpieces. He is a beautiful writer and bewitching storyteller. His technique is delicate, yet purposeful. He makes suggestive comments that gradually reveal key plot lines. The narrative is appropriately complex. Hosseini’s characters are rich. Not one of them lacked interest. Every character (and there were many) had story lines for which I would have loved further exploration. I was so drawn to the characters and invested in the story that the last twenty pages had me bleary eyed with tears. I did not want the book to conclude.
Beautiful Ruins was well written, but I did not enjoy it. I would have preferred a story focusing solely on Pasquali, who is so endearing. Additionally, there are too many meaningless side plots. I found the story to be a downer. It is a book about how entertainment types are most often destructive and deceptive. What a nasty, heartless industry. At least, Jess Walter’s skewers the industry.