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Darling Jim: A Novel

Darling Jim: A Novel

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Darling Jim: A Novel

avaliações:
4/5 (29 avaliações)
Comprimento:
355 página
6 horas
Lançado em:
Mar 31, 2009
ISBN:
9781429920216
Formato:
Livro

Descrição

A modern gothic novel of suspense that reveals, through their diaries, the story of sisters who fall in love with a beguiling stranger, and of the town that turns a blind eye to his murderous ways

When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never be known. But then Niall, a young mailman, finds a mysterious diary in the post office's dead-letter bin. From beyond the grave, Fiona Walsh shares the most tragic love story he's ever heard—and her tale has only just begun.

Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding itinerant storyteller Jim, who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his macabre mythic narratives. Captivated by Jim, townspeople across Ireland thought it must be a sad coincidence that horrific murders trailed him wherever he went—and they failed to connect that the young female victims, who were smitten by the newest bad boy in town, bore an all too frightening similarity to the victims in Jim's own fictional plots.

The Walsh sisters, fiercely loyal to one another, were not immune to "darling" Jim's powers of seduction, but found themselves in harm's way when they began to uncover his treacherous past. Niall must now continue his dangerous hunt for the truth—and for the vanished third sister—while there's still time. And in the woods, the wolves from Jim's stories begin to gather.

Lançado em:
Mar 31, 2009
ISBN:
9781429920216
Formato:
Livro

Sobre o autor

Christian Moerk has always told stories. Born into a family of actors, he realized when he was quite young that he’d rather tell the tales himself than interpret other people’s words on stage. But he sucked in the words. From Richard III to Faust. At 21, he left his hometown of Copenhagen, Denmark, and moved to southeastern state of Vermont, deep in the Green Mountains, where he stayed long enough in the mud and the cold to graduate summa cum laude in History and Sociology from Marlboro College, 1991. They gave him the Margaret Mead Prize for the best social sciences thesis, which dealt with the British Empire in India. He didn’t want to be an academic, though. He wanted to write a book. But didn’t feel the time was right yet. Vermont was too cozy. So he next went to New York City, where he spent enough time riding along with the police department and the ambulance services, and scouring the darkest alleyways he could find to attain his master’s degree in 1992 from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He was awarded the Henry N. Taylor Award as the best foreign student in his class for his thesis “Alien Nation,” which dealt with the lives of illegal Irish immigrants in New York. He began formulating ideas for a book. But it still wasn’t ready to tell it. Before he could work on it, he got a job at Variety, the entertainment industry’s trade paper of record, where he first covered independent and European film before moving to Los Angeles. Once there, he was quickly headhunted by Warner Bros. Pictures then-President of production Bruce Berman, who gave him the chance to learn the movie production trade. He was given an office on the Warner lot, and couldn’t believe it. For the next several years, Christian was awash in stories – but they were still other people’s stories. He was involved in the production of small art pictures, such as Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins and The Butcher Boy, and also held a hand in the making of bigger blockbusters like Eraser, The Devil’s Advocate, and Outbreak. Christian moved back to New York City, and began to write stories for The New York Times, interviewing directors like Wes Anderson (Darjeeling Limited) and Bennett Miller (Capote), while preparing to make the leap from journalist to novelist. A story kept tapping him on the shoulder. He rummaged through his old files and found a yellowed newspaper clipping he’d kept from years back. It was an article detailing the strange and mysterious death of three nieces and their aunt, who were found in their suburban house in Ireland after months of living like shut-ins. From there, Christian imagined a different story, in which the tragic end in that house was merely the conclusion of a gothic love story that began in a tiny fishing village on Ireland’s ragged, beautiful western coast. And he finally began to write his own words. Darling Jim swept the Danish critics in September of 2007, selling more than 38,000 copies there to date, with rights sold to thirteen other countries, so far. It reached number four on the local bestseller list. His genre is best described as intelligent suspense with an emotional core.

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3.9
29 avaliações / 29 Análises
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Avaliações de leitores

  • (3/5)
    I received "Darling Jim" as a LT Early Reviewer book. As I started the book, I was immediately sucked into the spooky and sinister mystery of the death of a woman and her two nieces inside the aunt's house. The remainder of the novel was equally suspenseful, and I read it quickly (for me) to figure out what had transpired. I think the reviewer who described the book as "labyrinthine" was exactly right -- several times I had to go back to figure out what had happened or remind myself of an obscure reference. All in all a good read -- very atmospheric and very compelling with well-realized characters with only a few too many convenient twists and turns.
  • (4/5)
    Dark. Thrilling. Suspenseful. Win!
  • (4/5)
    A wonderfully written Scottish gothic (hey -- where do you think we Southerners learned this stuff?), that only faltered ever so slightly at the end, when it began to feel rushed. Nonetheless, worth the read, and be sure to read the author's notes at the end to discover his inspiration for this darkly seductive novel.
  • (4/5)
    Jim is a charming storyteller, and he has a way with the ladies. Fiona becomes enamored with him, just as all the other women in town, and before she knows it she and her sisters have been dragged into a web of danger and deceit. Through their diaries, as read by Niall, we begin to learn their story.This was a good story. It wasn't quite what I had expected, and not quite as good as I had hoped, but good nonetheless. I had a difficult time with much of the book for some reason, but I'm not sure whether it was the writing style or just my own ADD causing me trouble through distraction.The story takes place in a small Irish town, and something about it had a touch of a goth feel. It sort of made me think of Hansel and Gretel. Of the two diaries that make up most of the story, I found the diary of Roisin more engaging, and Aoife my favorite character.The ending was pretty satisfying- I wasn't left wanting. The characters pretty well fleshed out. All in all, an enjoyable story.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    First off, let me say I listened to the audio book, and the excellent narration was part of the pleasure of this book for me. I was also pulled in by the story, a mystery/horror hybrid built around a charismatic and murderous shanachie (Irish storyteller). The story opens with the discovery of the murder of two sisters by their demented aunt. Postman and budding cartoonist Niall finds the diaries of the dead sisters and becomes obsessed with their stories of the villainous shanachie, Jim Quick.I am seldom interested in folklore and fairy tales but Jim Quick's central tale of a wolf man was intriguing, and the whole story was dark and sometimes erotic in a twisted way. There is a big, big, suspension of disbelief needed in the matter of the diaries - these women were great writers considering that they were being starved and poisoned by a crazy lady. But that's often how diaries go in novels.
  • (4/5)
    Darling Jim opens with a triple murder—a woman is found beaten in the head downstairs in her house in Dublin, while two younger women are found upstairs, starved to death. There are signs that a third person has been present. Later, a young postal employee finds one of the younger women’s diary in the dead-letter bin; reading it, he begins to piece together the shocking circumstances of the three women’s deaths, starting with an itinerant, seductive storyteller named Jim. The opening of this novel is written kind of like a newspaper article. It gets interesting when Niall finds the notebook, and even more so when Fiona, Aoife, and Riosin’s stories take over. I couldn’t ever figure out why Niall was so determined to discover what happened to the Walsh sisters, other than the discovery of the diary. It was a bit hard for me to really understand why Jim was such a beguiling character; he just wasn’t as well portrayed as the Walshes were, or even Niall. And the sisters were too disparate, too stereotypical, to be believable (one’s the brain, one’s the Goth, one’s the hippy). But other than that, this is a strongly, darkly emotional story, likeable for the most part, and with a twisted, riveting plot that will keep you reading through the end.
  • (5/5)
    Christian Moerk’s Darling Jim is a haunting tale of wolves, magic, evil, a story teller and three not-so-innocent girls that will raise the hair on the back of your neck. It starts one night as an aspiring artist turned postman is drawing in the post office sorting section after clocking out. When Niall tosses the crumpled wolf drawing into the dead letter bin, he discovers a diary written by Fiona Walsh. Recognizing the name from press accounts of her death and those of her aunt and sister, Niall can hardly wait to get home and read what this is about. Once he begins turning the pages of Fiona’s diary, his whole life begins to change as he becomes obsessed with unraveling the secrets of the Walsh girls’ lives.Even though this is a debut novel, Moerk has a full palette of writing skills. His beautiful prose heightens the creepy, suspenseful pace. Grab this one for a great read, but only in the daylight.
  • (4/5)
    There's the old saying about fiction having only two stories: A stranger comes to town, or someone goes on a trip. This Darling Jim has both stories.This is the kind of book that has the potential to be either really, really good or really kind of Oprah-esque, judging from the publisher's description. Fortunately, it went towards the good and absorbing rather than the Costco-buy Oprahtic (although a soupcon of incest is thrown in for good measure, just in case).The interplay of story elements--diaries with current action--made this story a better read than the same one told straight out. (If you want the story particulars, you can read the other reviews.) It's an engrossing read, if somewhat hysterical at times in its particulars.
  • (4/5)
    Three sisters - Fiona, Róisín and Aoife – and their aunt all fall under the spell of “Darling” Jim, a storyteller in the Irish seanchaí tradition who speaks of wolves and predatory men. The result of this enchantment is that at the start of the novel, most of the main characters are dead and the rest are missing. It is up to mailman Niall, who finds Fiona’s diary in his dead letter bin, to find out what really happened.The foreboding but fascinating fairy tale Jim tells over successive nights (which we read about in Fiona’s diary) permeates this mystery story. Is there something paranormal afoot or is Jim simply a really nasty human specimen? Especially impressive is the very authentic Irish atmosphere – amazing, really, when you consider Author Moerk is Danish and lives in Brooklyn, New York.As far as the characters, we get a good sense of Fiona and Róisín by reading their diaries, but Aoife, the aunt and even Jim remain slippery, their motivations somewhat understandable but still quite puzzling. Unfortunately, the mailmain, Niall, seems more like a device to hold the narrative together than a fully formed, relatable character.Things may wrap up a bit too neatly for such a haunting premise, but the story sticks with you. I’d recommend to readers of “darker” novels such as John Connelly’s THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS or Michel Faber’s UNDER THE SKIN.
  • (4/5)
    First up, Darling Jim by Christian Moerk, which as I said is an arc from Library Thing. I purposely didn't read any of the reviews posted at LT. I'll go check them out after I get my thoughts down here. I'm always afraid I'll be influenced, even subconsciously, by reading reviews so close to finishing a book. I really enjoyed this one. For me, it started with a great cover, which looks like a torn piece of paper containing one of the diary entries of Fiona Walsh, one of the three Walsh sisters who live in modern day Dublin. They're all grown and lead relatively normal, happy lives even though they've had their fair share of past tragedy. Their parents died in an explosion, which left the sisters to the care of their aunt, Moira Hegarty. Moira is unstable but seemingly harmless, at least in the beginning. The sisters tolerate her quirks and continue to visit her weekly mostly out of a sense of obligation.It's funny how one seemingly small event can drastically change the course of one's life. This is exactly what happens for the Walsh sisters and their aunt when a young, charismatic, itinerant storyteller finds his way to their village. Jim seems to be able to seduce virtually any woman of any age by telling them what they want to hear. He is a professional storyteller after all.I enjoyed the mood and the atmosphere the author creates in this book. I also really liked the sections in which Jim tells his stories. I knew there was some type of connection between the story he was telling and his life, but I didn't figure it out right away. There were a couple of times in the book that I questioned the actions of one or more of the sisters. I just didn't believe anyone would react that way to the circumstances. I won't go into detail because it will spoil the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.
  • (5/5)
    It didn't take long to tell Darling Jim by Christian Moerk was one of those rare books that is instantaneously mesmerizing, engrossing, and hard-to-put-down. Within paragraphs I was transported to Malahide, and walking alongside Desmond, and then Niall, as the story of the Walsh sisters began to unfold. Within pages, I was so engrossed and invested in the story of Fiona, Aiofa, and Rosisin, I found any distraction, (work, family, friends...), intensely unwelcome and exasperating. The story was so engrossing, that even thought Author Moerk reveals early on the tragic outcome, I found myself hoping for, and believing in, a more desirable conclusion. Christian Moerk weaved and spun the story so skillfully; I literally forgot the outcome had been revealed. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, thinking about how it was all going to end, and how the Walsh girls would fare through their horrific ordeals; the disclosed outcome, sitting forgotten and denied, in the back of my mind. This was such a satisfying and gratifying read. I was equally invested in the Walsh girl’s story, as I was in the story of Eeuan and Ned, Niall, Aunt Moira and of course, undeniably...the story of Darling Jim. This book is one of those beloved favorites, which will be re-read, discussed and contemplated again and again. I look forward to opening it again soon, and getting lost in the haunting and gripping story, page after page. I am so appreciative to have had the opportunity to discover this novel early on. I hope many, many others have the good fortune to open the pages of Darling Jim.
  • (5/5)
    In this story within a story, postman Niall finds the diary of a young woman at the center of a murder mystery, and begins to reconstruct the torrid tale behind the murder house and a series of missing women in the west of Ireland. As we learn more about the three Walsh sisters, their Aunt Moira, and the diabolical itinerant storyteller Darling Jim, a brooding sense of foreboding develops that sets the tone for the entire novel. Between the story within a story within a story format, the mystical elements, and the country appropriate language, I feared this novel might crumble beneath the weight, but instead it transported me to a place of suspended disbelief where everything made its own strange sort of sense. I was most impressed that the author managed to draw out the anxiety to a fever pitch and then maintain that level of intensity until the very last pages of the novel. The writing is crisp, the language spot-on, and the story itself a truly unusual addition to my library. I started reading and simply couldn't put this book down, no matter how much I wanted to at times as the story grew darker and darker. I highly recommend this magnificent book and look forward reading more by this talented writer.
  • (3/5)
    I thought this book had a lot of potential and I was mesmerized at the beginning...I am a huge fan of well-crafted mysteries that include atmospheric descriptions of physical surroundings, and this one seemed to be exactly my type of story. And I did enjoy most of it - I only thought that the storytelling chapters (with the wolves etc) were a bit long and I caught myself wishing they were over so I could return to the "real" plot. I mean, I can definitely appreciate the seanchai tradition, but maybe it was altogether too ambition. All in all, a fun read and I would definitely recommend it to friends.
  • (4/5)
    Three women are found dead in a home in a Dublin suburb. They are identified as Moira Hegarty and her two nieces, Fiona and Róisín Walsh. It is soon discovered that Fiona and Róisín were held as captives by their aunt, apparently for many months. There is evidence of a third person but the body is never recovered. Moira was killed by her nieces during an escape attempt; one niece is found brutally murdered in an upstairs bedroom and the other is found in secluded room, both bodies indicate signs of starvation. It isn’t until two diaries are discovered by a postal clerk that we learn the motive behind the murders, and the reason for the captivity.Darling Jim is a story told through journals. Fiona Walsh herself describes a man named Jim, a handsome stranger who arrives in this small Irish town via a red motorcycle. He travels through Ireland, telling a story of a young man is transformed into a wolf. Women swoon in Jim’s presence, and it’s not long before Fiona falls for him. They have one lustfull night together. Afterward, Fiona can’t help but be jealous when she sees Jim going off with another woman. She follows him and soon learns of his purpose in town. While he’s off sleeping with the town’s women, his partner robs the women of their possessions. Women who discover his ploy are murdered. It becomes evident to the Ward sisters that the magical fairy tale that Jim weaves is really a transcript of his own life.Darling Jim is definitely not a book for the faint of heart. Within the first thirty pages, Moerk describes three very gruesome murders. There are also scenes of other violent acts throughout the book. While this is a very odd and creepy book, I do believe it is one that still deserves to be read. I thoroughly enjoyed Moerk’s gothic style of writing, and his way of weaving fairy tales into the plot. The descriptive writing grabbed my attention immediately and I was instantly absorbed in the story. The characters are developed through journal entries, telling their stories from the grave. While there are several subplots weaved throughout, I think Moerk did a very good job of tying them together and wrapping them up neatly at the end.While I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone due to the gruesome imagery, I would recommend it to fans of gothic fiction and horror.
  • (4/5)
    Darling Jim is, as the cover says, a story of "three sisters, three tales, and a secret, dark as night." Two sisters, Fiona and Roisin Walsh, and their Aunt Moira are found dead in the aunt's home, while another sister has simply vanished. A short time later Niall, a wayward postal worker, discovers Fiona's diary in the dead letter bin. He is immediately entranced by her story and sets out in search of the truth behind the brutal deaths.Reading Fiona's diary reveals that the sisters' lives were forever changed by the appearance of Jim, an itinerant storyteller, who they rapidly realized harbored darks secrets beneath his charming facade. Niall finds himself risking his own life in order to unravel the mystery surrounding the sisters and "Darling Jim." As he follows where the story leads, learning the fate of the third sister, Aiofe, becomes the ultimate prize.I first started reading Darling Jim a year or more ago and couldn't get beyond the prologue where the horrible state in which the bodies are found is described. I'm glad I finally made a second attempt. The book flawlessly flows between the narrative of Niall's journey and the diaries of Fiona and Roisin. All three have distinct voices which give their characters personality and depth.The resolution is all you could hope for in this tragic story. When Niall's journey finally came to an end, all I could say was "wow." Darling Jim haunted my dreams when I set it down at night, and I've been thinking about the story ever since finishing it last night. If you haven't read Darling Jim, I highly recommend you run out and find it now. Christian Moerk, whose previous works are in Danish, is a gifted storyteller, and I'm glad he's brought his gift to America.
  • (4/5)
    Spoilerific.Not everyone is a fan of the technique used in this novel, but I am. I don't know the proper terminology for it, but it's when the ultimate outcome (or at least a major outcome) is known at the outset and the story deals with how this outcome came to pass and what (if any) repercussions are still to come. I don't mind knowing a big development up front if the author is adept at making me really want to know why this event happened. This has to be done with care and skill. Moerk has both and introduces Niall, a character who, like us, needs to find out what happened to the Walsh sisters. We know only what he knows and go along with him as he discovers more. Overall it's very well done. The fixation with wolves in the novel was a bit heavy handed; from Niall's inability to draw them to Jim's never-ending tale, it was just a bit too much. Like, yeah, we get it; he's a wolf like in fairy tales. The story Jim told went on too long sometimes, too, taking me out of the story and diminishing the tension too much.Niall is sort of a timid loser of a man, trapped in a dead-end job fantasizing about becoming a comic-book illustrator. He spends a lot of his time lost in a dream-like state, drawing scene after scene. Trouble is, he's not that good and he has no story to tell. When he discovers a diary in the dead letter office late at night, he's captivated by it at once. Even before he reads it, he knows it will be earth shattering because it's the diary of Fiona Walsh, one of the women killed recently in what appears to be a bizarre family feud. Diaries and letters are another of my favorite techniques and Moerk does a reasonable job with presenting us with two diaries.After Niall is sacked he takes off in search of answers eventually ending up in the town where it all started. Three sisters missing, two found dead along with their aunt whose head was bashed in. The bodies of the remaining sisters, Fiona and Roisin, show signs of slow poisoning, starvation and physical cruelty. It's clear that Aunt Moira had been keeping them prisoner for some time. But why? The locals are no help and are downright jerks most of the time. I don't know if rural Irish are this ignorant, arrogant, narrow and stupid or if Moerk has an axe to grind, but jeez the lot of them were really just assholes. Bigoted and narrow-minded, determined to rewrite history to make themselves look good and decent, with neighbors like that I'd rather be a hermit. Niall was his own worst enemy at times, but these people were impossible, judgmental assholes. If the Irish legal system is anything like it's portrayed in this book, I cringe just thinking about it.Anyway, aside from the Irish people character assassination, the book was well done. Paced to set tension and release it in good proportion. Just when one thing gets discovered or put into place another springs up. Some of it was predictable though if you read enough of this genre. Aoife's pregnancy for example was really obvious. Ditto for Jim having a brother. Neither came as a surprise and that was a tiny bit of a let-down. After a reasonably original beginning I hoped for something a bit more off track. Although I will say that Jim's brother was even less attractive than Jim himself. A couple of hideous sociopaths the pair of them. And what gives with the armed response? And people say Americans are militia crazy. Again…are the rural Irish really like this or is it just exaggeration? It seemed really weird.The sisters were well-drawn and quirky, but individually quirky, they aren't the same. I understand a bit how two came to be entranced by Jim having known a sociopath or two in my lifetime. I also know what it's like to be attracted to the dark stranger in the crowd. And having a couple of motorcycles myself, I know they are a irresistible lure to many people. The whole town being seduced is another story and it was sort of unreal that the sisters' friends and neighbors could turn on them so quickly. Again, it made me wonder if Moerk had an axe to grind here.The ending…well, it was a bit tame in light of what came before. Niall meekly (and chivalrously, don't forget the chivalry) allows Aoife to slink back to her hidden life. He also lets Ned go back to his psychotic vigil on his property, waiting for those whom he can torment. All so he can crawl back to his former boss, beg for his job back and begin writing and illustrating this story, complete with castles and correctly rendered wolves (which he magically can draw now). I'm sorry, but Jim's demise wasn't enough for me here with the second (and somewhat more loathsome) villain on the loose. No, Ned's cryptic messages on Roisin's wireless don't vindicate him. And Aoife's anonymity is baffling. For such "modern" women, all three sisters seem to have a wide subservient streak that just seemed weird.But all in all it was an enjoyable read that was effective in drawing me along and keeping me interested.
  • (4/5)
    Spooky, fairy-tale like story of two sisters and their aunt found dead in a house in Dublin. The sisters had been chained, and dies of malnutrition. How and why did this happen?The story, told through the findings of diaries, explains the love of the sisters and the rivalry of their aunt, for the handsome "storyteller" Jim Quick, who roams about Ireland and a wake of murders soon follow.I really enjoyed the distinct voices of the three sisters the author is capable enough to distinguish. It was a little too gothic and violent for my taste, but I found the author to be an excellent writer with this debut.
  • (5/5)
    I was mesmerized by this book from the first chapter. The story is told mostly by the sisters diaries so you get a feel for the big picture but you can’t really tell what’s going on until the very end.Moerk writes beautifully and weaves a story that flows from page to page. Interwoven with the diaries is the story told by Jim as he’s enthralling the town. I found myself sucked in to both the diaries and the story surrounding the death of the sisters and aunt. I didn’t want to put the book down and stayed thinking about it long after the last page was read. The book comes to an amazing end that was not at all surprising but still satisfying. I highly recommend this to all suspense lovers.
  • (4/5)
    This book is mystifying and creepy...in fact, creepy doesn't do the experience of reading this book justice. Dark, entrancing, confusing....elements of Tana French pop up in descriptions of the landscape and communities (not only because both authors set their stories in Ireland). The characters of the sisters, Fiona, Róisín and Aoife, are entrancing, and I became attached quickly, needing to know how the story would end. At the same time as freaking me out, the writing impressed me more than many "suspense" novels.
  • (4/5)
    Christian Moerk's Darling Jim is a strange sort of creature: a murder mystery wrapped in a suspense thriller wrapped in a dark fairy tale. After police discover a gruesome scene in a suburban Irish home, Niall, a young postal worker and aspiring graphic novelist, stumbles upon one victim's diary in the dead letter bin. The strange past events leading to the police's dark discovery pushes Niall to seek out the whole truth and complete the fairy tale playing out in his mind's eye.
  • (2/5)
    This story within a story within a story moves really slowly. Perhaps all those layers get in the way. A woman and her two nieces are found dead in her home. The nieces had apparently been held hostage, revolted, and killed the aunt. A young postal worker retrieves a package from the dead letter bin containing a diary written by one of the girls, telling her story. Later another diary turns up, written by her sister. This means that the bulk of the tale is told by people who have already died! Slightly distancing. Niall, the postal worker, is compelled to visit the village where the girls lived to interview the natives and see for himself the place it all happened. As he pieces it together a sense of foreboding develops. There is both too much and too little detail to make it seem realistic.
  • (4/5)
    Darling Jim, the intense new thriller from Christian Moerk, opens with a mystery: On his daily rounds, a mailman discovers the body of a woman, dead in her home. When the police arrive, they discover much more: There are 2 more dead bodies hidden in rooms behind locked doors. The bodies come to be identified as those of Moira Hegarty and her two young nieces, Fiona and Roisin Walsh. As the story behind these brutal murders deepens, Fiona's diary is discovered by cartoonist and postal sorter Niall. Niall, entranced with the diary of the dead woman, embarks on a journey to the Walsh's sisters hometown in Ireland to discover the answers to the cryptic clues Fiona left behind. And what he discovers is the family's link to Jim, an itinerant storyteller traveling throughout the area telling his stories at local pubs each night. As Niall follows the clues, he learns of the complicated and cruel fate that Jim spins among the women and of his legion of female fans that follow him all over the country. But there is more to Darling Jim, as he comes to be known. Jim spins an elaborate fable that not only draws his listeners in, but also houses the keys to his dark soul and wicked intentions. Niall's search becomes a race against time after discovering the existence a third missing sister, who may have escaped the fate of her family but who still may be in danger. Niall's journey becomes a long and difficult odyssey as he comes face to face with peril and jeopardy with every step he takes in order to save the surviving sister's honor, and possibly even her life.This was an extraordinarily clever book, and it was a pleasure to relish each and every twist and turn in the story. Written with verve and acuity, the author seemed to have a great handle on timing, believability and dialogue. The characters were quirky and atypical, and each held their own distinctive personality and style throughout the story. The sisters' voices, coming from beyond the grave, expertly captured both their outrage at their situation and their determination for escape.I admit, I didn't think this book was going to be as fun as it ended up being. I mean, with a triple murder haunting the opening pages, one does not expect fun. But the narrative had definite humor mixed with its pathos in a way I didn't expect. I found myself laughing at the oddness and eccentricities within the pages, especially the colorful colloquialisms in the sisters' wordplay. I really liked Niall, who began the story as a lonely loser but soon came to be an adventuresome and unlikely hero. Niall's commitment to the sisters he had never met was touching, and I felt it impossible not to root for this lovable and bumbling character. Jim, too, was interesting, a deliberate and dastardly foe, and his presence resonated through the pages, even when he wasn't the focus of the narrative. He had a dark charisma that made even the most stalwart of women smitten with him.One of the winning things about this story were the sections of the book devoted to the ominous fairy tale that Jim created. This technique was particularly inventive, essentially hiding a story within a story. In fact, this book actually contained three stories: the main narrative, Jim's story, and the back story related by Fiona's dairy. Each of these stories was captivating in different ways, but all worked together and blended well and kept the level of suspense tight and controlled throughout the book. Another thing that I liked was the author's command of the elements and language of his story. He was aptly descriptive without being verbose, and the action and grist of the plot never veered off into unbelievability or precociousness. Though I did guess at one of the aspects of the conclusion of the novel, I wasn't at all disappointed because I thoroughly enjoyed the ride that took me there and appreciated the thought and creativity that the author put into this book.This was not a common story, it had a lot of spunk and vivacity, and kept me turning the pages in anticipation. This is the first novel from Moerk, and based on this book, I will be on the lookout for his next work. I would recommend this book to those who like quick witted mysteries/thrillers with a generous helping of humor. A really fun read.
  • (4/5)
    Darling Jim was a perfect read just before St. Patrick’s Day, just by happy circumstance.This is an engaging, romantic tale with healthy dollops of gothic fun and Irish superstition on top. Most of the action is credible, although I had to will myself stubbornly to continue my suspension of disbelief in several parts. Most difficult to believe were the bits about how instantly “darling Jim” put our main characters under his spell. The text veered dangerously into what I’d call “the Twilight zone” (and I do mean the teenybop vampire tale, not the tv show) but then recovered nicely.Once past this slightly awkward stumble, the story was on its feet and running nimbly full speed ahead through ancient forests, twisted pysches, and sisterly bonds to my great delight.I agree with earlier reviewers that I often wondered as I read,“Why in the world aren’t they going to the police?!” or “Seriously, wouldn’t the police have looked into that further?” But if you can overlook these nagging doubts, there is much enjoyable reading to be had here.
  • (2/5)
    This debut novel has an intriguing premise: A psychotic, but charismatic, travelling storyteller, Jim, enchants the Irish countryside with his tale of a bewitched man/wolf, including three sisters and their aunt, who end up captivated in ways that come to no good. When an artistic postman happens upon the diary of one of the sisters he becomes involved in unraveling the mystery of their involvement with Darling Jim. The story is creative enough that we want to find out who survives and how, but ultimately, the story has too many improbable moments and rushes to an awkward and simplified ending.
  • (4/5)
    Beginning with the death of three of the main characters this book grabs you from the get go. The reader travels down a winding path with Niall - dusgruntled postal worker, frustrated comic book artist and somewhat unwilling amateur slueth - to discover why these deaths occurred. Jim is a "travelling story teller" and a "travelling ladies man" who weaves a wonderful legend into the plot of the book. Good read !!!
  • (5/5)
    Very clever and original. Perfect for lovers of gothic literature
  • (3/5)
    A dark tale told successfully from a feminine point of view by a male author. It is a story within a story within a story. The perspective does change, but the author makes transitions easy to follow and does it seamlessly without creating any disjointed jolt in time. It held my interest all the way through and I thought all the characters were fully developed and engaging. Although this was a story within a story within a story, I would have liked the main tale to remain the forward focus. It needed to carry the weight and continue to capture the audience. The supporting stories provided details, but at times became a bit too lengthy. Towards the end, the story began taking on a fantasy form using fairy tale descriptions of wizards and princes, which created a fairy tale like theme and could have worked if the author remained more concrete with his details. I think this approach was done to create a 'mysterious' atmosphere but because it did not remained 'grounded' it took away from the actual horror of the story by making it too unbelievable and I began to lose some of the sympathy I originally felt for the sister characters.
  • (3/5)
    Creepy cool with a great plot, the ending was a little long but I enjoyed this book.