How could one man inspire such hatred?
Professor Lars Helland is found at his desk with his tongue lying in his lap. A violent fit has caused him to bite through it in his death throes. A sad but simple end. Until the autopsy results come through.
The true cause of his death – the slow, systematic and terrible destruction of a man – leaves the police at a loss. And when a second member of Helland’s department disappears, their attention turns to a postgraduate student named Anna. She’s a single mother, angry with the world, desperate to finish her degree. Would she really jeopardise everything by killing her supervisor?
As the police investigate the most brutal and calculated case they’ve ever known, Anna must fight her own demons, prove her innocence and avoid becoming the killer’s next victim.
So The Dinosaur Feather is the oldest book I own and haven’t read. I bought it in October 2012 and it has languished on my Kindle ever since. Inspired by reading the book that was previously the oldest unread book I owned (The Dead Room by Chris Mooney) and how I wish I hadn’t waited as long, I set myself a personal challenge this year of reading the books at the bottom of the reading pile. This one was next on my list and, unfortunately, the results weren’t as good as I might have hoped.
The Dinosaur Feather sounds like it should be right up my street but I just couldn’t get into it. There is a slow start, where Anna (the main character) is caught up in a dream before it moves onto pages and pages of explanation of who she is and why she was having the dream – she is due to finish her doctorate on whether birds are descendent from dinosaurs. The pace never picks up. I didn’t check the page count but it has to be 100 or so pages before we get to the murder Anna has to solve to prove her innocence.
Which brings me to my next problem with the book – the blurb saying Anna must “prove her innocence and avoid becoming the killer’s next victim”. Neither of these things are true, unless I missed a bit of the book (it’s possible it was on a page I skimmed in order to keep going). The detective (Soren) in charge of the investigation doesn’t think she did it and Anna’s life is never under threat. I felt slightly cheated as a result, and even less inclined to try to like the book.
The third thing that caused me issues was Anna herself…she is really unlikeable, even her friends as good as say it. It’s passed off as a fiery personality but it wasn’t. She was selfish to the core, leaving her daughter at the drop of a hat and treating her friends and family like they were there to serve. I have to say I kind of hoped she was guilty so they would arrest her – serving her right for being a pain.
Add to this a series of sub-plots around Anna’s childhood and Soren’s past and it was all very confusing and very long. The book is over 500 pages and I felt every one. I hate being scathing about books because I know the authors have put a lot of work into them, but here I am really struggling to find something positive to say.
The writing was o.k., though it was too wordy for me (I don’t know how much of that was down to the translation?), and I think in there was a good story if the “extras” could have been cut out – the sub-plots but also the pages and pages of the science behind bird feathers. It didn’t add to the book and it made me want to skip ahead, never a good sign.
So, all in all, I am sorry to say, this wasn’t a book for me and not one I can recommend.