Monday, November 10, 2008

The Eye in the Sky and Other Books

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This beautiful building is the impressive, full of amazing and intricate details, thought provoking cathedral of Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK. The town of Ely and its surrounding marshlands is also where Jim Kelly's suspense novels take place. I found his first book, The Water Clock, in the series about worn and weary country newspaper journalist Philip Dryden to be quite good, the milieu descriptions, the tragic story about his wife suffering from locked in syndrome after a car accident, a car accident Dryden in parts blames himself for, the body of a murder victim being found up on the roof of Ely cathedral tower. Yes I liked the book and I was happy when I saw the second one, The Fire Baby, finally in pocket edition a few years back. As far as I can remember I found it to be a pretty decent suspense novel too.

But when I got the third one, The Moon Tunnel, I realized I was rather bored with the excessive milieu descriptions, the brooding Dryden with his coat pockets filled with food and snacks, his cat green eyes and the sloppy taxi driver with a fondness for greasy meals that drives Dryden around the marshlands. The way in which his wife still suffering from LIS is able to help him with a very extensive as well as quick research via Internet, e-mail and text messages I personally find rather improbable. So bye, bye also to Mr Kelly.

Karin Fossum is an internationally renowned Norwegian crime novelist whom I've read a few books of. I'm not a great fan of hers and that's actually not because I find her to be a bad writer, quite the opposite, her writing is intelligent and precise, no word seems unnecessary. But the stories she tells, and picture she paints in words of Norway and the Norwegian life, true or false or a matter of personal opinion, is just so utterly gloomy and depressing I shy away from the books.

The Jonas Eckel novella I got from a charity organization store and I thought the 152 pages long book might be a quick crime novel read. It wasn't. A very skillfully written psychological everyday drama, a sad, depressing, bleak, emotional, tense, creepy novella about unhappy, grey outsiders - or even sadder, perhaps just very "normal" people - trying to fit in and live life like it "should be lived". The main character's surname Eckel spelled Äckel is translated into "Repulsive", hence the name of the book is very apt. Depressingly apt.

The last book, Himmelsöga - Heaven's Eye, or The Eye in the Sky -, in Arne Dahl's brilliant Decalogue about an elite force within the Swedish police was such a great summing up of the ten years with the group called Intercrime. I was a bit hesitant since I didn't find the ninth book to be of the series usual top notch quality, but I was instantly drawn into this book from the first chapter.

A first chapter that was one of the best first chapters I've ever read, the way he describes the daytime equivalent to the night time's dead hour when summer turns into autumn, the way he soars above the 10 different members of the elite force, the ingenious way this first chapter is tied together with the story in the end. And the explosive, imaginative, humorous, political, satirical, philosophical, intellectual splendid story in between the first and the last chapter simply makes me, once again, go *w.o.w*.

A big role in his books is also played by Stockholm and I must say that's another great detail of the series, not as fully appreciated by non-Stockholmers I suppose, but such a perfect spice in an already wonderful stew. I'm glad he decided to write an eleventh book in the series, because I'm honestly not sure how I'll be able to go on without another book about the Intercrime group to look forward to...

3 comments:

tr3nta said...

Impressive post... and very good photo...

Pia K said...

Thanks, tr3enta!

Paz said...

Yes, very impressive-looking cathedral.

Paz

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