The Killing Game Monday, Sep 27 2010 

“It… burns him out. Profilers usually socialize only with the other profilers. I guess when you’re a man who stares at monsters every day, it’s hard to talk to someone who doesn’t do that too.” (57)

Hello Readers! Let’s welcome back Eve Duncan of The Face of Deception fame. This is her second novel. Hell yes, thank you, Iris Johansen! This is the second time I have read this novel and the twists were amazing! The first time I read this, I could not foresee any of what was to happen in the end. Complete mind-blow. This entry might be short, between making dinner for roomie night, homework, and reading–I hope I can convince you that this is an amazing read!

In The Killing Game, the antagonist has done their homework on Eve and her long, lost daughter, Bonnie. Sick, sick, sick. Ms. Duncan has become involved with the FBI when there are nine skulls found at Georgia’s Talladega Falls. The sick thing is the serial killer knows that Eve can be convinced to believe that one of those skulls could be her little girl. Based on the previous novel, we all know Eve’s determination to bring Bonnie home so she can receive a proper burial and Eve can have some closure. But… the FBI does not bring closure obviously–this is the second in a series of many.

So… the FBI. The Federal Bureau of Investigation. I won’t say much about this in the event they feel I am going to breach national security. In any case, before I became an English major, I believed I was destined to become a Criminologist and FBI Agent. I wanted to be a part of something huge and I loved picking at criminal’s minds. I did so much research on what the career would entail, I was determined. And then I figured out that while I loved the idea of being a criminologist, I was doing it to make everybody else happy. Also, I began to wonder about how much danger I could put my family in and how much of my work I would end up taking home with me. At the end of the day, I would not be myself if I allowed everything that happened at the job to internalize within me. I applaud those who are able to do their job and do it well. Long story short, English was an impulse decision. And I love it.

Total shipperness for my two favorite characters–Eve and Joe–whoop whoop!! He told Logan he would not give up on Eve–he didn’t–now he just needs to keep her!! Granted, they have a moment, but some moments don’t mean a thing. We shall see. I was rooting for them when I first read this novel and I hope they get married or something–Permanence please!!

In any case, this novel was amazing! Johansen does a great job writing her characters and her word choice is superb. I want to get back into the habit of giving other crtitics’ thoughts, so here goes:

Kirkus Reviews states, “The second of Johansen’s suspensers starring Eve Duncan (The Face of Deception, 1998), a forensic sculptor who shapes human faces from the skulls of murder victims…. Johansen creates some nonconformist women characters along with heroes as devoted to them as golden retrievers.”

I am giving Iris Johansen’s The Killing Game a 3.5/4 out of 5. Such a great novel! 🙂

Happy reading!!

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Heads Carolina, Tails California Friday, Sep 17 2010 

What I would not give for this entry to be a book review. Do you realize how many books I have in my possession–not including the huge pile that is an avalanche all on its own? School has taken up so much of my time and to be honest–I long for summer once again when I can go to work and come home and read. I’ve taken up knitting–it is so calming. I’ve completed two hats and can’t wait to begin making scarves.

My reason for writing this entry which has nothing to do with what I would truly love to be doing right now? I could not leave this untouched for another day. I became so accustomed to reading non-stop, writing a blog, and then starting up again. So, to those who read and those who comment: I appreciate your comments and discussion… and your patience. I will one day soon get another book review up. However, this is not even half of what I am up against:

ENG 203–Introduction to Drama.
We aren’t reading books so much as we are reading plays like “Oedipus Rex”, “Everyman”, “Lysistrata”, etc. The Greeks really knew how to stress SEX without saying it. Okay, that’s a lie. At one point in “Lysistrata”, the women declare they will not be “lifting their slippers to the ceiling” or “go on all fours.” Oh joy. I am currently writing a paper about King Oedipus and Oedipus complex–riveting, wouldn’t you say?

ENG 312–Literary Criticism.
Mostly collected works by Elizabeth Bishop and a custom-made course reader thanks to the Professor. Apparently, my views are incredibly Marxist and reader based. I guess I can agree if it means that I firmly believe how you interpret literature is based on your social location and experiences. No matter, recently read a short story called “The Burning House” by Anne Beattie–amazing. Read it. I could pick apart that story all day.

ENG 326–American Immigrant Experience.
Yep, you guessed it. It is a co-taught class for History and English. The professors banter back and forth–funny as hell. We read historical accounts, participate in lectures, and discuss what we are reading. Six or seven novels and a zillion articles. To be quite honest, the topic of immigration tends to be a very touchy topic. I do not understand why. We are a nation of immigrants. On another note, you could say I am a bit of a feminist. So, despite the fact that I’ve learned to respect various cultures, I became very sad when we had to read a short story about a young Chinese couple who were to be driven apart thanks to being Americanized–which really is so true–we expect everyone to act “American.” Whatever that is–I do not really know anymore. And now that I have gone somewhere on a tangent, let us return.

HIS 211–History of Latin American Civilizations.
The professor, my roommate and I have decided, looks exceedingly like a young Michael Caine. We are reading two books in that class and the sections are so ungodly long. The class lectures are fascinating and it is quite obvious the professor is passionate about the subject: Maya, Aztecs, Incas, etc., but this English major and History minor loves to read–just not texts that are so dense that you could put a knife through it.

SPN 101–Introduction to Spanish.
Hola! Me gusta mucho! I had taken three years in middle school and high school. However, upon being called stupid and lazy, I backed away from the language that I was so close to being fluent in and slowly but surely, it became dormant. Until now. I am staying up late and having fantastic conversations with one of my roommates, Amanda, and the second best part about having these conversations: they are  completely in Spanish! Hell yes!

~~

As much as I love school, (if I could be paid to go to school for the rest of my life, I probably would because I love to learn) I would love to get in a car with my travel buddy, Amanda, take some good music, a couple dozen books, my laptop, and plenty of money for gas and food, and just drive without a damn map. Get lost and just be at peace with a good book in my hands. Flip a coin and go. Escape into the novels that have become (almost) like home. Call me crazy, but I love talking to the characters and sharing in their adventures–but I guess I have to come back to reality sometime. Quite honestly, I do not  enjoy reality right now and a great big bubble of positive something would do me some good. By next week, I fully intend on having SOMETHING up…this two-week business is not okay with me.

To end on a positive note–I am thoroughly excited for my Fall TV shows and supposedly, they are making a show or a movie out of the Vampire Academy series. They will not be able to do Dimitri Belikov justice. haha

Books in my possession that I have not started yet: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, The Killing Game by Iris Johansen, and maybe three or four other books that are coming in. Oh to be able to write another entry. Until then…

Happy Reading!! 🙂

The Face of Deception Tuesday, Aug 24 2010 

“She shook her head. ‘It’s too bizarre. It couldn’t be pulled off with Chadbourne anymore than with Kennedy. The office is too public.'” (142)

Well, the title says it all. Iris Johansen did an amazing job writing her characters and pulling the story together the way she did. I love a good conspiracy theory and this novel delivered those lovely qualities. Murder. Sex. Lies. It was quintessential conspiracy. It involved my favorite one of all–The Kennedy Family–America’s Royal Family. Was Kennedy really assassinated by Oswald or others? Where is his brain? Etc. Learning more and more about me every entry, aren’t we? Anyway…

Due to the importance of body language, specifically within this novel, I should mention the following. I have been told that it is difficult to read me–and sometimes I am greatful it is that way. But that is another story altogether. Reading body language is fascinating and I have  started trying to do just that. The direction of someone’s feet and their shoulders, eye movements, or lack of movement, the scratch of a nose or ear lobe. It might be totally horrible to do that, but hey, it is entertaining. In any case, I loved Johansen’s use of body language when describing the antagonists and protagonists.

Speaking of protagonists, Eve Duncan is a forensic sculptor. Most of the time, many authors spend the first few chapters giving you some kind of backstory to the character. That does not happen here. Duncan tells her story without the help of Johansen. It was kind of funny how greatly I connected with Eve and the correlations between her mother and mine. Granted–yes, I know, they are characters, but that does not stop what you feel when reading a novel. I think it is so important to draw connections between yourself and a character, that way, you enjoy the novel more than others. Now, if you are the kind of person who, after watching an action movie with lots of explosions and/or read a book with lots of action finds themselves wanting to pull off the stunts made visually and mentally available, I’d suggest staying far away from these book. Just saying. We don’t need a speed boat accident.

I enjoyed Eve’s desire to find her daughter who has been missing for eight years. That sounds horrible, but you can tell a mother (who has a sick kick for action) has written this novel. On a higher note, I can’t wait to begin reading the next novel. Granetd, I have read Killing Game before, so it it will be a different experience reading that novel than it was for never having read The Face of Deception. So, I am giving The Face of Deception a 3.5/4 out of 5. Well written and perfectly planned out.