Baptism by Max Kinnings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, I generally like crime thrillers, so this one was pretty fun to read. It was also an interesting turn (for modern-day thrillers) of having a Christian terrorist instead of a Muslim one. The use of symbolism (baptism of fire and water) was chilling.
Kinnings moves things along quite quickly with the jumps between perspectives and places through the use of time, tracking movements of the main players in this drama throughout the day. He does start at a strange place though, somewhere probably in the middle (well, 10 hours in, if I remember correctly) before jumping back to the start of the story. I'm not quite sure what that was for, because it wasn't anything that we really needed to know at the start? Unless he wanted to start us off with a tragic death and high stakes.
The story is also particularly twisty. Every time you think there's going to be a solution, something else happens to make things worse. Yet I also spent a lot of time thinking: can people really be that deluded? At the risk of being a little spoilery, there are at least three characters who don't act like normal, rational people. Well, the terrorist, for one, because obviously there's something wrong with him to commit such a heinous crime and for no obvious reason, other than "God told me to". The second is his assistant, who just follows along and accepts everything blindly. It feels as if there must be something wrong with them; maybe they're defective? Mentally ill? A little slow? And the third one, unexpectedly, is a person so blinded by ambition and fear that he would turn to murder to save his own skin? It feels a little unbelievable... but then again it's fiction so... idk.
Overall, I enjoyed it, though there are little niggling things (as mentioned above) and also the fact that the people in Cruor Christi who knew, or had at least some forewarning, of the things to come were absolutely useless and brainless. Maybe I'm a little too rational for a story where almost every character is acting irrationally.
The Intrusions by Stav Sherez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Intrusions takes you into the realm of cybercrime. It kind of reminds me of that TV series my mum watches, Law and Order I think? Being book 3 of the series (I did get books 1 and 2 because the series sounded interesting, but I started with this first because it's on the reading list), Sherez alludes to things that presumably happened in the earlier books. Nothing that very jarring, just some odd moments of confusion going, "uh, what was that then?"
The thing about The Intrusions is that, at times, it feels like the murder itself is only part of the story, instead of being the main focus of this detective novel. A lot of the complications in the investigation seems to arise from the personal problems of the DI, Carrigan rather than any active intervention on the part of the killer; in a way, this echoes Rebus in Rankin's famous series. Actually, I think I had quite a lot of throwbacks to Rebus when reading this, although there wasn't any random song titles thrown in and Carrigan isn't quite as depressed and drunk or repressedly traumatised.
One thing that really threw me off quite a bit was having a female character named Singh because in Malaysia, Singh = male, Kaur = female; or, at least, that's what I've been told. Maybe that doesn't work in the UK because of the insistence on surnames?
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