Sunday, February 26, 2017

Heads Up: Emelie Schepp, MARKED FOR REVENGE, and Bill Pronzini, THE VIOLATED

I won't be posting full reviews of these two books coming out in the next week or so, but want to mention them -- and the reasons for my choices.

Emelie Schepp lives in Sweden, and her "Marked" trilogy is being adeptly translated -- the second book, MARKED FOR REVENGE, was moved into English seamlessly by Suzanne Martin Cheadle (it's hard to even tell it was translated). It's suspense, with high stakes; the protagonist, prosecutor Jana Berzelius, is investigating the international drug trade and child trafficking in Sweden.

My problem with it is really my own ... I find graphic child abuse really hard to read. I read all of the first book in this series, Marked for Life, and couldn't bear to reframe it as a review. As soon as I started reading the second book, MARKED FOR REVENGE (release date February 28), all the emotions from the first book rolled back at me. I've skimmed book 2, and it's brilliantly plotted and tightly written. But again, the level of abuse and violence is so far outside my comfort zone (which is pretty wide really ... I have read and enjoyed most of Andrew Vachss and Carol O'Connell, for example, as well as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series) that I'm not going to spell it all out. If you're into it, you can see reviews elsewhere. Sorry.

For a very different reason, I'm not going to present THE VIOLATED, the March 7 release from Grand Master of Mystery Bill Pronzini. This one's an audacious attempt at narrating the investigation of a serial rapist's career and murder from multiple points of view. I thought the technique took the book into being very flat, and the tension never rose the way a good work of suspense should. Not did the character acquire enough depth. Even the California setting didn't quite come to life. I can't recommend it -- but that said, Pronzini is generally marvelous, and if you haven't yet read any of his books, do try some of the others. I'll be watching for his next book, figuring that he too knows this one didn't work out as well as he'd hoped ... so he'll create a major winner on the next round.

Obviously, if you're a Pronzini collector, you'll pick up a copy of THE VIOLATED anyway. Go for it.

PS:  Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.

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