Friday, November 5, 2010

another delicious dark dexter story from jeff lindsay

Dexter is Delicious is the fifth book in the Dexter series from Jeff Lindsay, and yes, these are the books the award-winning TV show Dexter is based on.
The serial killer as hero premise seems old hat now, but when the first book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, was released, the concept was constantly being debated by everyone from high-brow critics to bible-bashing mid-westerners. How dare Lindsay make the hero a psychopathic serial killer? Shocking!
With an award-winning TV show and a heart-throb actor in the central role, the Dexter franchise has become practically mainstream.
Luckily the books are still as well-written as they always were; the structure of the internal monologue continues to work, and the reader still wonders just how Lindsay knows so much about how a serial killer thinks.
In the TV series, Dexter is a father, and in Dexter is Delicious his daughter Lily Anne is also the one thing that’s keeping him on the straight and narrow and out of the electric chair.
At least until he realises that someone from his past, someone who knows rather too much about what really makes Dexter tick, reappears in his life.
If Dexter is threatened, then Lily Anne is threatened; and that is not something you want an accomplished murderer like Dexter thinking about.
To complicate matters, Dexter’s job as a blood spatter analyst gets him involved in the disappearance of an 18-year-old girl who may have been abducted by vampires – who could also be cannibals.
Lindsay’s books are so much more detailed than the TV show, although the voice-over used in the show mirrors somewhat the internal monologue of the character in the novels.
Still, you can read the books and watch the show without too many discrepancies cropping up, which isn’t always true.
For lovers of crime thrillers and murder mysteries or lovers of novels about psychopaths, you can’t go past the Dexter novels; they are a unique twist on a great genre.

Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay is published by Orion Books and is available at all good book stores and online.

historical romance brings classic tale to modern life

Anne Fortier’s Juliet is a mixture of romance, whodunit, coming-of-age and historical fiction.
When Julie’s aunt Rose dies, she is left not with half an inheritance, but with a wooden box containing a secret.
Julie’s much more successful, and much nastier, sister Janice gets Rose’s house – and all it’s debts – much to Julie’s delight.
The secret in the box turns out to be a bunch of documents and letters that lead Julie to randomly decide to return to Sienna, Italy, where her parents died and where her personal history may be unravelled.
It’s in Sienna that Julie discovers that she, and her sister, are scions of an ancient Italian family – which may have been the source of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic tale.
Titillated by the possible connection, Julie ignores the warning signals of mysterious men following her, mysterious policemen being overly interested in her whereabouts and mysteriously friendly “long lost relatives”.
Obviously the secret of the box, the secret of her parents deaths and even the possible secret connection to the fabled Juliet, could lead to a lucrative payday for someone.
Eventually Janice – the more organised and practical sister – discovers what Julie is up to and turns up in Sienna ready to sort it all out. Once again, Julie is “saved” by her sister.
After a few historical twists and turns, with some very obvious fudging of historical facts, the secret is revealed, the romantic hero turns out to be a cad and the sisters rediscover their love for each other ... of course.
Still, Juliet is nicely written; the pacing is tight, the characters mostly realistic if a little stereotypical, and Fortier has a nice turn of descriptive phrasing especially when describing the streets of Sienna.
There is plenty of action, lots of romance, burning gazes and heaving chests, as well as a bit of magic; Juliet is a fun read, perfect for the Christmas holidays.

Juliet by Anne Fortier is published by HarperCollins and is available from good book stores and online.

another piece of reality tv masquerading as a novel from lauren conrad

This is the third book in Lauren Conrad’s LA Candy series based, rather obviously, on her own experiences in the reality TV show, The Hills.
While it’s plastered with the bold “#1 New York Times Bestselling Author” blurb, you just know that Conrad has sold so many books simply because of her pseudo-celebrity.
The story is boring, conventional and teenaged; there’s the nasty girl who get’s her comeuppence, the apparently genuine boy who only wants to be on TV, the clueless but kind bimbo who is easily led astray and the “ordinary-girl-caught-up-in-things-beyond-her-control”, who is obviously Conrad herself.
While I’m sure Conrad, and her publishers, have never claimed that these books are literature, it offends my educated sensibilities that rubbish like Sugar and Spice – not even the title is original – manages to sell so many copies. 
It’s like the horrible success of the terribly written pap that is Twilight; there are so many better books out there that get left on the shelves because their authors haven’t been on TV / are Mormon moms with great publicists.
Sorry ... this rant has little to do with the actual book I’m supposed to be reviewing, but I just had to have a say.
Back to Sugar and Spice. The “plot” follows the continuing “adventures” of Jane (Conrad’s alter-ego), Scarlett, various boyfriends, Madison, Gaby, the PR company they work for (I know, I know, even the job is borrowed) and new addition Sophia.
Madison manages to get a job at Jane’s company ensuring the TV crew have lots of shots of simmering hatred between the two, and the machinations and bitch-fights ensue.
And that’s about it. Eventually Madison gets her comeuppence and Jane and BFF Scarlett escape the clutches of big bad LA TV-land.
While nothing new happens, Sugar and Spice is not totally horrible. It’s written slightly better than the Twilight series for example, and it clearly shows that being on a reality TV show isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Not that, that stopped most of the cast of The Hills moving to The City in New York and doing it all over again.
Oh well ... there’s got to be some sort of TV show for all those hopeful country kids who don’t get picked for America’s Next Top Model, So You Think You Can Dance, X-Factor or American Idol.
After all, on shows like The Hills and The City, you don’t have to have any sort of talent at all to become famous – just look at Jersey Shore.

Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad is published by HarperCollins and is available from good book stores and online.