Sunday, April 21, 2013

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

Although There was an Old Woman was not at all what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised.  I also think that this is one of the better books I’ve read so far this year. While it doesn't have the intensity that is usually consistent with a psychological thriller, I still think it belongs in that category. If you are waiting for a slasher to jump out and cut someone’s throat, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like a slower steady story that reaches a climax and has well-developed characters, you will like There was an Old Woman.

It was a good story that held my interest but I also found myself totally annoyed with the main character.  The family dynamics with sisters’ resentment of each other and their mother plays a large role in the story.

Evie is called to her childhood home to help her hospitalized mother. She finds that in a short amount of time her mother’s home and health have inexplicably deteriorated dramatically.  Evie becomes involved in events that surround her mother’s neighbor, Mina, an active 91 year old.

Mina is a wonderful portrayal of this elderly character.  She is determined and active, but not the stereotypical depiction I often see of the wise crackin’ grandma.  She is strong, but reserved and refined.

My only disappointment was that the mysterious story from Mina’s past of Mina was lacking the drama I expected, but did still enjoy the book very much.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Frozen Solid by James M. Tabor

A unique location and unique characters, Frozen Solid is set at the remote ASRS, Amundsen-Scott Research Station at the South Pole. The settings and are described very well, as is the deadly cold temperatures and their impact on the human body. The main character Hallie takes at short-term job at the Station. She is replacing a friend that died suddenly while working there. She has a complicated relationship with Wil Bowman and complicated problems that will have to wait. The book is interesting and starts off at a fast pace. I had a difficult time relating to the main character and her actions. For example, at the beginning of the book when Hallie had just arrived at the pole, she stumbles to her bed tired and obviously overwhelmed by the change in environment. Before falling asleep she found a camera above pointing at the bed with some disturbing video on it. Had that been me, I would have been yelling up and down the halls about finding the camera let alone what was on it. Hallie, however, decided to keep quiet about it. She didn’t trust anyone, but had not been there long enough to develop distrust. Also, several people died in short succession, but there was an odd lack of panic. I will also mention a language alert for those who find it offensive. In spite of that, it was a good solid and very unique thriller.

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