Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Marley (Clinch) and The Last Time I Saw You (Constantine)

While the first of this pair wasn't finished all that long ago (though I can't say the same for the second) I now have an extra bias in the former's favor since I have a new (half-)nephew who bears the same name as the book. While the movie rarely outshines the book, even without meeting him I can guarantee that I love the boy more than I could ever love a book. And that, my dear friends,  is saying something 
Business first - thank you to Goodreads,  the publisher, and the author for a free review copy. As always,  this review is honest and not influenced by the price...

Marley isn't dead. He's very much alive and shares the spotlight with Scrooge in this prequel/origin story. Marley is already a tad shady when he meets Scrooge who is newly arrived at the boys school. They remain connected into adulthood, building a business in which Scrooge manages the numbers...with the simple honesty of figures and arithmetic done right...and Marley brings in the money, often through nefarious means including ties to the slave trade.  They also overlap in love, with Marley interested in Scrooge's sister, Fan, and Scrooge in love w Fan's best friend

Having not read Clinch's previous work, for me the concept recalled Wicked (and a children's book about the Big Bad Wolf and his bad cold). It gives a different view of a famous character and explains how the character came to be the person we see as a villain (of sorts) in traditional telling. Here, this means Scrooge shares the spotlight even though Marley is the protagonist.

This is very well written and provides something for a wide range of readers. It is a character study, it has plot points (that is, things do happen...some dramatic, some quiet), and it has a sense of time and place. Impressively, Clinch handles all of this well. It has a definite literary feel...I'd recommend reading it in your favorite quiet chair rather than on the beach or a plane so you can focus and savor the details without interruption and choose when to break rather than be at the mercy of a seatmate or frolicking children. 

A solid 4 stars. Def for a literary crowd looking for a true novel rather than a mass market book (note: I appreciate the latter too, just need the right match to a moment).

Kate seems like one of the lucky ones. A privileged upbringing.  A handsome husband, a darling daughter, and top notch career. When her mother dies suddenly and mystery text-er begins sending threatening messages, it all begins to unravel. She questions everything. Her oldest friend,  putting aside years of estrangement to come to the funeral, takes on the new of lead investigator.  Blaire takes on the role of chief investigator,  uncovering secrets in the circles of high society that run from the distant to the terrifyingly close

Well, i suppose it's meant to be terrifying.  Honestly, this just didn't do much for me. I didn't see the entire ending coming but I saw parts. And the rest...I just wasn't invested and it dragged. 

Two stars because it wasn't just wasn't, in my humble opinion,  very good. You can find a better beach book or airplane ride fodder at the supermarket. 

I did, however,  appreciate the opportunity to read a free copy from the publisher in exchange for what is quite clearly an honest review!