The Dinosaur Feather
by S.J. Gazan
Translated by Charlotte Barslund;
Review by Steve Sawicki
Quercus Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781623650667
Date: 05 November 2013 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
A disagreement between scientists over whether not not birds are descendants of dinosaurs seems to have ended in murder.
An eminent scientist, Dr. Lars Helland, is found dead in his office. He's bitten through his tongue and he's got a bloody copy of a thesis in his lap. The odd thing is that he died of a parasite that is only found in Asia and he does not travel.
Anna Bella Nor seems to be at the center of everything. She's a biology postgraduate PhD candidate just two weeks from defending her thesis. Now her adviser is found dead, another adviser is hiding in the stacks, and the police are wondering what the connections are. To make matters even more interesting, everyone, in the true tradition of Scandinavian noir genre fiction is pretty seriously flawed.
So, this particular form of genre fiction can be difficult to read since you're getting everyone's personal issues along with the story itself. This can make the story seem secondary or not worthy of the page count since you have to spend so many pages on each characters different issues. This is not to say the characters are not interesting, for all their flaws, they are, but, rather, to point out that the word count related to issues not related to actually moving the plot forward is pretty high. Then again, if you are familiar with the genre then this is what you paid for.
I enjoyed the novel although I was a bit surprised that so many of the blurbs expressed excitement over the dinosaur/bird piece and there seemed so little of it in the novel. Maybe lost in translation? The book is fairly fast paced, short, quick chapters coming one after the other and there are some unusual twists although they tend to happen more on the personal side of the equation. Still, a fun book to read. Enjoyable, interesting and entertaining.