Reviews

Darling Jim, by Christian Mørk

xcathyx's review

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mysterious
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated

4.0

briegle's review

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3.0

3.5 stars. A gripping opening & an interesting premise, but too much of the story was unbelievable to me.

mycouscous's review

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4.0

Darling Jim sucked me in from the get-go. It starts off with a bang, pulling the reader into the gruesome aftermath at a murder scene. Then the novel grabs hold even more tightly, presenting the diary of one of the murdered women. It's fascinating, suspenseful, and another thriller that didn't pander. (I'm loving that I'm finding these gems in a genre at which I often scoff.) My only qualms are that the voice of the diary entries didn't feel real at times, being too calm and collected to have been written by an imprisoned woman who was confronting death. The brief foray out into the hills at the end also threw me off, but not enough so as to make the whole book lose its impact or momentum. Very enjoyable stuff...if you can call murder enjoyable.

superdydy's review

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5.0

I REALLY liked this book! A good murder mystery that follows through two dairies and a road trip. Very well done.

canadianbookworm's review

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4.0

This is a gripping story, with a very different plot.
The story begins with the grisly discover of bloated and emaciated bodies in a house. It is unclear exactly what happened, but it would appear that the older woman, Moira has killed her two nieces and been killed herself in a struggle with one of them.
When Niall, a young postman discovers the diary of one of the women in the dead letter bin, he feels compelled to follow the story back to its source and find out the truth of what led to this tragedy. His story takes him to a small village near Cork, to fairytale-like stories of wolves and castles, and to three sisters who cared about each very much.
It took me a while to get into this story but once I did, I could hardly put it down. The story just flows and Niall is a young man who believes in stories, and what librarian doesn't like that!

srenee213's review

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2.0

The premise intrigued me: an Irish murder mystery of sorts beginning with 3 women found dead in your average suburban home. The women are Moira and her nieces Fiona and Roisin, and the sisters look to have been kept prisoner in their aunt's house for quite some time. A young postman finds Fiona's diary, in which she claims the whole situation was caused by love for one man who was known as Darling Jim.

However, the writing of the story failed me. The blurb in the back said the author was formerly a movie writer and executive, which does explain things a bit. This is only his first novel and it feels very contrived to me. Maybe once he writes more fiction, he'll get a better feel for it. The details of the story were a little odd and the characters weren't exactly believable, especially Aunt Moira. I get that she had a difficult time with a man in the past, but does that mean, in exchange for a declaration of love, she'll overlook the fact that Jim has already slept with one of her nieces, supposedly raped the other, and was involved with thievery and murder in the past? She couldn't possibly be that desperate! And she didn't seem completely off the wall . . .

Postman Niall's quest was also not very believable to me. I can't imagine he'd be on the run just a day into entering the sisters' hometown. Does everyone really listen to an 11-year-old smart alec's allegations so quickly? The whole thing just felt silly and contrived. His talking to himself didn't help either (and made it feel even more like a very badly written, old school mystery story).

There are more unbelievable plot points (Jim's crazy brother?) but the thing that most annoyed me was the author's characterization. It felt like he wrote down each character's name on a piece of paper and then gave them two personality/appearance details that he repeated whenever he could:

Fiona= pharaohs, schoolteacher
Aoife= hippie, sleeps around
Roisin= goth, radios, lesbian
Jim= wolf, storyteller, handsome

They all felt very flat, boring, and unreal. Few people are so easily described in one or two words and for good reason. There's a lot more to a person than that.

Luckily, the intrigue of the murder mystery made up for a few of these flaws. Even if the plot and characters are very contrived, I couldn't help but be drawn in a bit to the craziness of it- murders, storytelling, prisoners and all. An okay read.

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mom2stitch's review

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2.0

I finished it but didn't really enjoy it. To many stories going on and didn't really care for any of the characters.

wordnerdy's review

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5.0

http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2009/05/2009-book-91.html
http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2010/05/2010-book-129.html
http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2012/12/2012-book-342.html

ibeforem's review

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4.0

This was a haunting story of three sisters who find themselves both directly and indirectly under the spell of “Darling” Jim, a storyteller in the Irish seanchaí tradition. Fiona falls for him first, but soon her sisters Róisín and Aoife are just as affected when he works his magic on their aunt. The mailman Niall is sucked into their tragic story when he finds Fiona’s diary after she, Róisín, and their aunt are found dead. But where is Aoife? And what happened to Jim? Niall’s compulsive search for the truth takes him back to the town where it all started, and to the second part of the story. I thought this was a wonderful read and I was completely sucked in. I loved how Moerk tied in the story Jim tells to the overall book, and still leaves us a touch of mystery at the end.

littlekatlittle's review

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3.0

Interesting and a little bizarre. The way the story is told is interesting and works well.
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