Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The London Eye Mystery Review (Siobhan Dowd)

When Aunt Gloria's son, Salim, mysteriously disappears from a sealed pod on the London Eye, everyone is frantic. Has he spontaneous combusted? (Ted's theory.) Has he been kidnapped? (Aunt Gloria's theory.) Is he even still alive? (The family's unspoken fear.) Even the police are baffled. Ted, whose brain runs on its own unique operating system, and his older sister, Kat, overcome their prickly relationship to become sleuthing partners. They follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin, while time ticks dangerously by.

I wouldn't say that this was a bad read, but it was a little boring, as far as mysteries go. But I will get to that later. I was expecting Ted to be annoying, but he is a surprisingly likable character. Kat is the annoying one, and I wished several times that she would disappear and never return.

That said - on to the mystery. It was not as involved as I was hoping. The Reader does not get the pleasure of solving the case with the characters (though I figured out about half of the answers fairly quickly), but instead only receive part of Ted's thought process so we are almost as much in the dark as everyone else. It can be annoying. Every mystery Reader wants to be given the opportunity of following their "detective's" thought patterns so they can feel as if they are assisting in solving the case. All in all, the mystery was a disappointment and was wrapped up in a manner that left me feeling a little sad and bereft of concern for the characters themselves.

Despite the mystery's lack of real interest, I have to say that I enjoyed the Author's writing. I love British writers - there is a quality to their style that is lost in a lot of other literature. At times, it might be difficult for someone who doesn't know much about British terms, but there are not too many instances like that. I usually dislike modern-set stories (who wants to read about the 21st century? We live it, after all), but Siobhan Dowd's writing made all the difference and kept me interested enough to finish the book.

Star Rating: 3/5 (liked it)

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Dead Drop Review (Jennifer Allison)

For fourteen-year-old (soon to be fifteen) psychic investigator Gilda Joyce, a summer internship at the Washington, D.C., International Spy Museum gives her the perfect opportunity to sport her vintage spywear, cavort with real C.I.A. agents, and expand her knowledge of gadgetry and surveillance. But when the spy museum acquires new Cold War-era artifacts from a former Soviet spy, things get a little . . . weird. Suddenly, the ghost of Abraham Lincoln haunts Gilda's dreams, and a mysterious spectral woman with a bloodstained star keeps appearing in spy museum exhibits. Seeing her chance to solve a mystery, Gilda takes the case, but she soon finds out that she's in far deeper than she imagined. After intercepting a "dead drop" - a spy's encoded message hidden in a Washington, D.C. cemetery - Gilda realizes her case is not only a matter of investigating the supernatural; she's involved in an urgent matter of national security.

Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, Gilda Joyce and the Ladies of the Lake, and Gilda Joyce and the Ghost Sonata - the three preceding books to this one - were disturbing, and I'm not entirely certain why I read the next two after the first one. They weren't good right-before-bedtime reads, and some of the content pertaining to the murders was disconcerting (i.e. in one of them, a girl almost purposely takes a drug overdose because she's tired of living). What I did like about the other three as opposed to The Dead Drop was the fact that at the end, Jennifer Allison did not specify whether or not there actually was a ghost. She more or less left it up to the Reader; a ghost could have actually been involved, but at the same time she offered a realistic, plausible explanation. The Ghost Sonata is when she stopped doing this and got ghosts more involved.

In The Dead Drop, there is no question of there being ghosts. The Dead Drop is not as disturbing as the other three, and I was able to read it comfortably before going to bed. There are some instances that are, of course, spooky, but not quite in the same way as, say, The Ladies of the Lake.

But the main reason I keep reading Gilda Joyce is because while actual ghosts are involved, the stories themselves really are intriguing mysteries, and Gilda herself is a very fun and unique character. I can share her love for vintage (though, in my opinion, she chooses the wrong era) and her love for working on a manual typewriter. There is simply no denying the fact that Gilda is a great heroine that keeps a Reader laughing. While the first three books have some pretty creepy and disturbing content, I think it can be a fun series to read. At times.

Star Rating: 3/5 (liked it)

Others in the Gilda Joyce Series:
1)Psychic Investigator
2)The Ladies of the Lake
3)The Ghost Sonata
4)The Dead Drop
5)The Bones of the Holy