Thursday, October 24, 2013

THE BOOK OF LIES by Mary Horlock

Finished We 10/23/13
October selection for the Contemporary Book Club

The book is set on the Channel Island of Guernsey and blends the story of Cat Rozier, a disaffected high school student in the mid 1980's and the social and political problems that occurred during the Nazi occupation of the island during WWII. The deception and falsehoods of the Rozier family seem somehow tied to the island's history during the war. The novel examines how the occupation forever changed the character of  the island's people in ways that were profoundly secret and subconscious. I found it startling to learn that when Germany occupied France, there was approximately one German soldier to every one hundred and twenty civilians, but on Guernsey, the ratio was almost one to one. This assured collaboration to one degree or another, and this is the theme of the novel. How does the atmosphere of deceit and misrepresentation that happened a long time ago set the stage for an unsatisfying life in the present?

Mary Horlock does a great job telling two parallel stories separated by decades, yet fundamentally connected, and the novel is rich in psychological insight and historical detail. I really liked the book!


Rozier Family
Charles and Emile-Brothers
Hubert Rozier and Arlette Prevost (The Duchesse)-parents of Charles and Emile

Emile is Catherine's father. Catherine is the focus of the novel that is set in 1985 (11/24-12/24)
Nicolette Prevost-she is the 'frenemy' of Catherine. Catherine kills this girl in the opening paragraph and the entire novel is an explanation for this act that intertwines the lives of her uncle and his dealings with the Nazi occupation during  WWII.

The novel is a commentary on the fluidity of Truth, but might have been more perfectly titled THE BOOK OF SECRETS

Vicky Senner-one of Cath and Nic's friends. Her father and mother are doctors on the island. Mother is shrink.
Ray Le Poidenvion- He is older than Charles and he takes Charles's boat and escapes. Later goes to Australia. Charles is imprisoned by the Nazis.

Anton Vern is the Nazi officer who has the affair with Arlette, Hubert's wife during the occupation
PATOIS PRESS The printing company that's the family business through both stories

J-P (Jean Pierre) and Ray are the two other people who planned the escape by boat

Michael (son of the police constable) He is Catherine's friend. Goth Kid who leaves the island with Cath

Revelation in the end by Cath is that her mother might have been covering her father's suicide or maybe her mother might have killed him.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

THE 5TH HORSEMAN by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Finished Su 10/6/13

This is one of Patterson's 'Women's Murder Club Novels'.

My post on Goodreads-

This is one of Patterson's 'Women's Murder Club Novels', and it's really about two different crimes that are related only because they occur in San Francisco. The first is a series of murders of beautiful young women who are carefully smothered, and then their bodies are posed at an artfully staged crime scene, and the second series of murders concern seemingly random deaths at a large municipal hospital in San Francisco. Both plots are told from the point of view of Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer who works for the homicide division of the San Francisco Police Department. She shares her findings of the cases with several of her friends who make up 'The Murder Club'. All of these women have ties to law enforcement, forensic medicine, or the law. 

Both plot-lines are developed in a fast-paced manner and are completely engaging, however James Patterson writing style is borderline 'hack' and he always has the feel of a lower quality sensational novelist. But I can't deny that he is quite able to deliver a true 'potboiler'(albeit with the aid of his 'assistant' writers). A great 'airport read' or something lite to take to the beach.