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Crime & Beyond met last Monday to discuss Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard. It was an interesting meeting because the book got mixed reviews, almost right down the middle with half of the group liking it a lot and the other half not really liking it at all. The high scores were mostly in the 8 and 9 range, and the lows were anywhere from 3/4 to 5/6. Of course now I can’t remember what everyone thought of The Snowman, the first Jo Nesbo book we read, in order to determine if it was the book or the author. I guess the fact that we voted him in again probably means that people just didn’t like this specific book.

Some of the comments from people who weren’t thrilled with the book related to the gore, the jumping around all over the place (Africa and back) and the generally convoluted plot. A couple of people didn’t like that the characters weren’t very distinctly drawn, we never really learn a lot about them in the book other than the surface stuff.

LeopoldsOreos

Leopold's Oreos

Of the people who liked the book (I was one of them, so I can speak to that) the plot was twisty and turny enough to keep us guessing. I, for one, got the scent of every single red herring and followed like a faithful hound. I would find myself completely taken in, jaw hanging once I found out I was duped. Some of us thought it had just enough gore, ok, maybe we could have had a little more. Judy brought Oreos for our snack and even covered the bowl in tin foil with a wire and a “pull” sign. An appropriately sadistic treat, Judy, and we commend you on your creativity. Jeff took a photo, so it’ll be up on the Wiki site with these notes.

Janice led the discussion and gave us background on the author (and does a killer pronunciation of his name, pun intended). I like when we read an author for a second time and still manage to hear things about him or her that we didn’t know (or forgot in my case). For one, the fact that Jo was in a Norwegian band before becoming a bestselling author. If you want to hear him sing, here is a youtube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gjTeZKfsQA

He’s actually pretty darn cute in the video too, there’s something about a guy dressed all in black. You’re all going to watch the video now, aren’t you (or at least the women)? But I digress.

We also found out that Jo completely made up the Leopold’s Apple. Yep, talk about sadistic. Sadistic, creative, pot-ay-to, po-tat-o. Here is an excerpt from an article explaining where the idea came from:

"One day my brother challenged me. He said: 'OK, let's see if you can put this apple in your mouth' — and it was a big apple — 'without picking it,' and so I did. I was able to get it into my mouth but I wasn't able to get it out again," he recalled. "So I was lying there on the branch and then I started thinking: 'What will happen if I stay here for, like, a week, two weeks? Because this apple is still growing, will my head eventually explode? What is going to happen?' After that I had nightmares about that apple and I think that was the idea for the Leopold's Apple."

There was a three way tie for the slap vote. So many people to slap, so little time. Some of us wanted to slap Belleman, others chose Kaja. And still others chose Jo Nesbo (I think it’s a pretty safe bet that these were the people who didn’t like the book).

It will be interesting to see if Jo gets voted onto the book list again. I know I will continue to read his books myself.

In April we will be reading Michael Connelly’s The Fifth Witness (#4 in the Mickey Haller series). Sharon will lead and Lorraine will bring snacks.

We will also be choosing books at the April meeting. I know I told everyone May, but I realized that that won’t give Terri a lot of time to start collecting them. I will send out a separate email asking for book and author ideas, but I’ll tell you here too. Please send me an email with “C&B book ideas” or something like that in the title. Give me titles and/or authors. Since we’ve decided not to pick books with very few copies available, don’t be offended if your suggestion doesn’t make the list. It’s all about the numbers.

Hope everyone is enjoying our awesome weather, and that Jeff is over his cold (thanks for still coming to the meeting).

See you in a few weeks,

Kerry

P.S. Coltan does exist and it is mined in the Congo and used in electronics.

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