Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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In May, for book group, we decided to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  As a group we had read ‘The Last Word’ by Hanif Kureishi (which was universally disliked) and ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson (which had a mixed response) in the two preceding months.  Each member of our little group pitched a book to the other members, and then we voted.  Extremely Loud (as I will now shorten the title to) tied with ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro and was eventually chosen on the toss of a coin.  Even though I voted to read Extremely Loud I still wasn’t sure about it; the only reason I had heard of it was because of the film released in 2011 which received very average reviews.  I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its film reviews but sometimes it’s hard not to.

Extremely Loud is the story of a young boy, Oscar, who lives in New York with his Mother.  They are both trying to deal with the trauma of losing their Father/Husband in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre.  Oscar’s father was in one of the towers when it collapsed.  Two years later Oscar finds a key inside a vase in his father’s wardrobe and then sets off to find the lock that this key will fit. Continue reading

Desperation by Stephen King

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By now, if you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a huge Stephen King fan, and have been since a young age.  I have been meaning to reread Desperation for several years but not got round to it.  I have read Desperation once before when it was initially released in September 1996 – considering the amount of King’s novels I have reread over the years, a 19½ year gap is a long time.  I couldn’t remember much from when I first read Desperation – only that the story centred on a psychopathic policeman in a small mid-US town that a number of people stumble upon.  Because of this lack of recall, Desperation was like a new Stephen King book to me.

Desperation does feature a psychopathic cop, and although he is (very) important to the story, he is not who or what the story centres around.  The novel is about the small group of people that encounter the policeman or are drawn into the small township of Desperation. Continue reading

Sacred by Dennis Lehane

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Sacred is the third novel in Dennis Lehane’s ‘Kenzie & Gennaro’ series. Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are Boston private investigators and have featured in ‘A Drink Before the War’ and ‘Darkness, Take My Hand’ previously. Both of Sacred’s predecessors I enjoyed hugely, Lehane writes with grit, realism (to a degree), and a wit that runs throughout each novel.

At the beginning of Sacred, Kenzie and Gennaro, still reeling from the events that occurred in ‘Darkness, Take my Hand’, are employed by a Billionaire, Trevor Stone, to find his missing daughter. However, they are not the first investigators on this case – Kenzie’s one time mentor was searching for Desiree Stone for a few weeks but is also now missing. As the investigation gathers momentum, Kenzie and Gennaro find themselves embroiled in lies and deceit from every side of the story. Continue reading