Tag: Characterisation

Agatha Christie – The Seven Dials Mystery | Review

Title: The Seven Dials Mystery

Author: Agatha Christie

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 192

Rating: 4/5

I was taken by surprise with this one, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been getting through the last few unread Agatha Christie books on my pile and so I have a sort of automatic tendency to assume that I’ve left the worst ones until last. That was definitely not true in this case.

Weirdly, for the first time in my life, I found myself relating to the murder victim in Agatha Christie book, mainly because he was something of a spoiled young man who had a habit of sleeping in late. The core plot basically revolves around a plot that some of his friends hatch to plant a bunch of “alarumclocks beneath his bed to wake him up nice and early.

For me, this is in the top 20% Christie books, and that’s saying something. There’s a lot of good characterisation here, a fun little mystery for you to enjoy and just overall a lot of that classic Christie goodness. You can tell she was in her prime.

Learn more about The Seven Dials Mystery.

 


Stephen King – The Outsider | Review

Title: The Outsider

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 486

Rating: 3.5/5

The thing with The Outsider is that I feel as though it would have been pretty good if just anyone had written it, but the problem is that it’s pretty poor for a Stephen King book. It was competently written and I kept on reading, but it didn’t really contain anything to surprise or impress me.

Part of the reason for that is that I’m not much of a fan of when King does crime, mostly because I can’t help feeling that the point of crime is that it’s based on reality, and so as soon as he adds the inevitable supernatural elements, I start to lose interest in the story. It’s a bit like trying to play Cluedo with someone who makes up the rules as they go along.

It’s also the unofficial fourth book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, a mini-series that started off well but which immediately took a dive as soon as the supernatural elements kicked in. I quite liked Bill Hodges as a character, but Hodges is dead by this point and so we have to make do with Holly Gibney, who I liked in the previous books but who I found kind of annoying here. It was also a bit weird how she just randomly shows up half way through the story, way after all of the other characters have been introduced and established.

Other than that though, it’s pretty much positive, and I liked the way that King eventually explained all of the supernatural elements. The bad guy wasn’t necessarily as terrifying as the Walken Dude, but he was still pretty intimidating in a way that was terrifyingly human. In a way, it almost feels realer than a lot of his other monsters too, perhaps because of the setting and the explanation.

Then there are the main characters, with Ralph and Howie standing out for me in particular. That’s one of the good things about reading King – you know that you’re always going to get some pretty good characterisation. Everyone felt pretty fledged out, and I don’t have any complaints to speak of. I was just hoping for something a little more, even though I’d been warned by the reviews that it wasn’t the best King book on the market.

Would I recommend it? I mean yeah, but mainly because I recommend King in general. It doesn’t make sense to get to this one ahead of the other three books in the Bill Hodges series, and to be honest I wouldn’t even recommend those over some of King’s old school classics. But it’s worth picking up eventually or if you see it going second hand in a charity shop. And I’m glad that I’m that one step closer to finishing every book he’s ever written. So what’s next?

Click here to learn more about The Outsider.