12 March 2013

Tuesday's Review: Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason

It took me a while after I finished Three Graves Full, the debut novel by Jamie Mason, to decide exactly what I thought of it. In fact, three or so days later, I am still not sure. Overall I liked it, but it was certainly not what I was expecting. 

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried. The first line of the book states "There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard."Sounds like the beginning to a typical thriller/suspense novel, doesn't it? But this book is not even close to typical for this genre, nor was it at all what I expected. I expected a novel with a lot of drama, drama of the serious bent. 

There was a lot of drama in this book, but it was more the drama-queen, eye-rolling sort of drama. Typically when I read a thriller I expect a lot of "Oh my, I didn't see that coming" moments, maybe some chills running up the spine and a little bit of worry about how everyone is going to survive. I don't expect to by cracking a smile and shaking my head in wonder at how absurd a situation can get. The sort of black humor that fills this book is definitely what sets it apart from your typical psychological thriller. About 20 pages into the book, Jason Getty's life veers horribly out of control and from there on, the book careens on to it's conclusion. 

I admit, before I read this book I had not read the part of the publishers blurb that likened this book to a Coen Brothers movie. If I had, I probably would have been more in tune with what to expect. Those types of movies are not for everyone and, like the movies, neither is this book, I think. As the blurb says, though, if you like your thrillers with a bit of sharp humor, you will like this book. If you like characters who are swept along by their circumstances and whose lives are totally out of control, you will like this book. If you like watching a train wreck and just are not able to tear your eyes away, then you will like this book. 

As to the nuts and bolts of the book, I thought the writing was quite good and the characters were well developed. I particularly liked the way that Jamie Mason let the reader into the minds of her characters. From Jason, whose out of control life becomes the focal point of the story, through Leah Tamblin, the detectives on the case, Gary Harris, all the way down to Tessa the dog, the way that she highlighted the internal workings of their minds was a real treat.

So - why did I give the book 3 stars, instead of 4? Well along with everything that was good, there were a few things that I put me off. For one thing, the author had a habit of referring to her characters by their last names in one sentence, and then by their first names in the next. For example, sometimes the lead detective was Tim, sometimes he was Bayard. In addition, although I liked the inclusion of the inner workings of the mind of Tessa the dog, I thought that they were a bit drawn out and ended up skimming some of that part of the book. 

My final thoughts, if you like the Coen Brothers movies, or the dark humor of some of the stories of Alfred Hitcock, you will love this book. If you are in the mood for something different than the usual, this is the book for you. I struggled with how to rate this book as I didn't quite feel it was up to a 4 star standard, but it was definitely more than a 3 star read. I would really love to have given it 3.5 stars. I can definitely see myself reading more by this author. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the unproofed copy of this book they allowed me to read.

11 March 2013

New Release Monday

Like any addict worth their salt, I await new book releases with bated breath.  At times I just can't wait for the next big book to come out, especially if it is the next installment to a series that I am reading.  What are you looking forward to reading in the near future?  Here are some of the new releases that I am excited about:

'Dark Tide' by Elizabeth Haynes - March 12

Elizabeth Haynes is a bestselling author of psychological suspense novels in the U.K. This past June, Harper published her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner. Her next book, Dark Tide, is the story of a woman who saves up to buy a houseboat and start a new life. Things are looking up when she gets the boat, but then a dead body floats into the harbor, and it is someone Genevieve knows from a secret second job as a dancer at a club. Is their relationship a coincidence or something more sinister? Fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn might enjoy this up and coming author.

Gone Girl was one of the best books that I read in 2012, so the fact that this book is supposed to be similar intrigues me.  Elizabeth Haynes is a new author to me, and I look forward to becoming familiar with her work. 

A Thousand Pardons' by Jonathan Dee - March 12

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee follows a woman whose husband makes a public mistake that destroys their family and everything they have worked for. The protagonist moves their daughter to New York and takes a job in PR, but she must still face the fallout from her past and work through what it means to forgive and how to reach her increasingly distant daughter. Dee's last novel, The Privileges, was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

I will actually be reading this one in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for my review.  

Six Years' by Harlan Coben - March 19

Harlan Coben delivers a stand alone thriller for those who need some spring break beach readingSix Years gets its title from the amount of time since the woman Jake loves married another man, Todd. Jake has kept his promise to leave them alone, but he has never stopped loving Natalie. When he sees Todd's obituary, he decides to go to the funeral. There, he finds out that Natalie was not really Todd's wife and that he's been lied to. As he tries to find Natalie, more of what he knows to be true becomes suspect and his life becomes endangered.

Another book by Harlan Coben that looks really interesting. 

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices #3) - March 19

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it? The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose. Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment. Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

I am really enjoying this trilogy, and am looking forward to the last installment.