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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Richtel, Matt: Hooked

  Amazon  

4 stars

The opening scene of Matt Richtel's Hooked is downright gripping: journalist Nathaniel Idle, reading Mystic River in an internet cafe, is handed a note by a mysterious blonde. He follows her outside, loses her, and only then unfolds the paper. It's a warning to leave the cafe. Behind him, the building explodes. The explosion of course triggers a police investigation, and Nat's departure from the building immediately before it blew up makes him an obvious suspect. But that's just the beginning of Nat's problems. He's driven to investigate the explosion himself to find out why he was spared, and to find the person who spared him: he recognized the writing on the note, but the writer can't be who he thinks it is. Nat's investigation leads him to re-examine an old relationship--a year-long affair that ended with his girlfriend's death. In the process, he finds that his connection to the cafe explosion is far deeper and more complex than he could have supposed.

Richtel's debut novel is cutting edge in that he's exploring the darker side of the digital revolution--modern concerns about internet addiction and invasive advertising and the melding of virtual and "meat space" realities are here blown up into a paranoid fantasy. (It's topical, yes, but some of the same issues were explored at least as early as the 1970's, in a memorable Columbo episode. The topic has just been updated to the digital age.)

The book's mystery is compelling, but when Nat begins unravelling the truth things get confusing and hard to follow. Indeed, the more I think about the book's plot, the more questions about its credibility come to mind, starting with the logistics of that initial explosion and the warning passed to Nat. (Nat's presence at the cafe cannot have been predicted. And the trigger mechanism of the bomb was far from reliable. So when exactly was that note prepared?) I'm left unable to explain as completely as I'd like what led up to the cafe explosion, and why it had to happen. But the fault may be mine. Give the book a read and see for yourself.

Comments

1.

That was pretty much my reaction. The first 2/3 was pretty good and then it revealed that everything was all complicated and it didn't really hang together as well anymore.

2.

Yeah, I was reading some reviews over at Amazon after writing this, and found a lot of people had similar thoughts. The beginning of the book was to my mind extremely good: it made me very sympathetic for the book, thinking the best of it for as long as I could.

3.

This isn't the type of book I usually enjoy reading, but your review made me want to pick it up. The plot sounds very interesting. I think the reason I write off this type of story is that any of them I have picked up were cliche or at least very predictable. It's a bummer that the story becomes confusing at the end. I will likely still check it out... and continue reading your blog!

4.

Thanks, Diana. If you do read it I'll be curious to read your thoughts!

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