I definitely got caught up in the hype on this book and actually purchased Superbia and Superbia 2 at the same time. Based on everything I read in the reviews, I was positive I was going to like these books. I read the first one and thought “blah” and the second one has remained unread.
Superbia is the story of Officer Frank O’Ryan recently back on the force after months of recuperation from being shot in the knee by a young kid who had shot and killed Frank’s partner in the same incident. Frank, as he fell, got off a shot that also killed the kid and he hasn’t quite come to terms with what he did that day. Now on his return to the office he is partnered with Vic Ajax, he has developed an addiction to pain pills he has been taking like candy for his knee and he reports to a boss that no one could possibly enjoy working for. There’s a lot going on but I just found it difficult to become interested in the cases they were involved in. I will readily admit to being in the minority in my opinion of this book. Most of the reviews are five stars with folks comparing the author, Bernard Schaffer to Joseph Wambaugh and Ed McBain. Sorry, I don’t get it. I wanted to because it appears the fictitious suburban police department depicted in this novel is located right near where I am employed in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.
The best I can do with this is say that I finished it and give it **1/2 stars. Superbia 2 appears destined to remain on my phone book collection, unread, until far into the future.
This book has over 1,300 four and five-star reviews on Amazon. There is a good reason for all this praise. It’s a terrific book! Most people seem almost apologetic that they enjoyed this book as much as they did. That’s probably because the plot sounds like something you have seen or read many times.
The Callahan family, from Chicago, are headed for a relaxing summer vacation in the Maldives, a chain of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean. Their 16-year-old son, AJ has had a tough year battling cancer but now appears fully recovered. He has missed a great deal of school with his illness and his parents have hired Anna Emerson, a 30-year-old woman at a crossroads in her life when her boyfriend of 8 years is displaying a major commitment phobia. Anna accepts the tutoring position thinking perhaps a summer away will do her a world of good. AJ has asked and been granted permission to take a flight on the following day as he had a end of year high school party to attend on the date his parents depart. On the flight to the Maldives, Anna and AJ’s small plane crashes somewhere in the Indian Ocean and they are washed ashore on some unknown island. Thus begins their long saga.
So, do the 16-year-old boy and the 30-year-old woman become lovers? I’m not going to tell you that. I will tell you that Tracey Garvis-Greaves creates two characters that you will come to care about very much. You will share their pain and frustrations, their joys and sorrows through weeks and months and years in the solitude of this island. Does it all end happily? I can’t tell you that, either. I can tell you that you won’t regret reading On The Island. I enjoyed it immensely. I gave this book ****1/2 stars.
The story is told from the point of view of John Hughes, a once prolific Irish writer who has not published in many years and is living off the royalties along with his wife, Laura and their teenage daughter, Rachael, in a nice home in Wicklow, about 30 miles outside of Dublin. Theirs is a fairly stress-free existence albeit a tad boring for John with visits to the local pub serving as the highlight of any given day. The area has been declared a tax-free zone for writers from abroad and attracts a new resident from England. Author William Cromer, along with his German lover, Ingrid, arrives in the neighborhood and suddenly John’s day to day existence is thrown askew. At a welcoming dinner party, John is smitten with Ingrid and becomes obsessed with her. The two of them begin a tryst that sees them jumping into bed together on a regular basis. John has fallen hard for Ingrid and is willing to risk his marriage to be with her. The entire affair seems simply a pleasant divergent to Ingrid.
Meanwhile, Irish Nationalists, disturbed that an English author is enjoying tax breaks in their country, are demanding extortion payments from William Cromer. There is a lot going on in this little novel which proves to be disturbing to the once bucolic life in the Wicklow countryside. Kevin Casey is an excellent writer and creates believable characters that will draw you in to their lives and keep you reading to see what happens.I am giving A State of Mind a solid ***1/2 stars.