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Holly av Stephen King
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Holly (utgåvan 2023)

av Stephen King (Författare)

Serier: Holly Gibney (5)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,2094615,965 (3.85)33
"En lyckosam blandning av deckare och skräck, som cirklar kring det positiva skrivandet, det outhärdliga åldrandet och den ofullkomliga människans strävan." Dagens Nyheter Jorge Castro avbryter sin joggingtur för att hjälpa ett äldre par i nöd, men blir överraskad av ett nålstick i nacken. Castro är bara ett i en rad av offer vars liv fått samma mardrömslika slut. Privatdetektiven Holly Gibney blir kontaktad av mamman till en ung kvinna som försvunnit i samma kvarter, och kommer två människor på spåren, vars gärningar inte kan beskrivas som annat än monstruösa.… (mer)
Medlem:EuniceSwanson
Titel:Holly
Författare:Stephen King (Författare)
Info:Scribner (2023), 464 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Holly av Stephen King

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Holly Gibney, the obsessive-compulsive, shy and reclusive character we first met in Stephen King’s Finders Keepers trilogy has come a long way since those early days, and now she is the protagonist of a novel focused solely on her: she has inherited the investigative agency Finders Keepers from Bill Hodges, who befriended her and started her on her journey of self-reliance, she is moderately successful in her chosen career and has made a few friends who support and understand her quirky personality.

As the novel starts, she is attending her mother’s funeral via Zoom: it’s 2021 and the height of the Covid pandemic, which would be a good reason for the agency to scale down its activities, but when Holly receives the impassioned request of Penny Dahl, whose daughter disappeared after leaving a cryptic message on her bike, she decides to investigate - if nothing else, to avoid dealing with the discovery that her overbearing mother and uncle had concocted a sort of financial fraud to try and keep her under their thumbs and deny her the new-found independence she’s come to appreciate.

As Holly starts her investigation she finds out that Bonnie Dahl is not the only person who disappeared in mysterious circumstances and that there might be a serial killer on the prowl: in this respect, King does not keep his readers in the dark for long because he reveals early on the identity of the killer - or better, killers - focusing rather on Holly’s search for clues and on her slow but constant reach for the truth, which in this case is totally devoid of supernatural elements, but instead sheds light on the horrors that twisted human nature can visit on others. King is not new to this more… mundane approach to horror, and in this case injects it with an added layer of dread thanks to the dichotomy represented by the outward appearance of the two aged professors-turned-killers on one side, and their twisted, appalling motivation for kidnapping and murdering those hapless victims on the other - a bone-chilling folie à deux carried on with gleeful casualness.

From my point of view, Holly turned out to be a story of two halves: on one side the narrative and character exploration half that worked quite well, and on the other what I labeled as the “King’s Manifesto” portion, which did not turn out quite as great. Holly’s journey toward independence and self-assertiveness continues here showing us that she keeps becoming her own person with every passing day: of course the shadow of her mother still peeks from the sidelines now and then, but Holly succumbs less and less to her smothering influence. Of course a big help comes from the discovery that she’s been lied to for a long time about the family’s financial situation, in an attempt to lure her back into the fold: the anger that comes on the heels of this revelation feels like a healthy reaction, and I liked to see how Holly manages to process it all on her own, since this time she is removed from her usual support group, given that both Robinson siblings are very wrapped up in their own affairs and her partner Pete is in isolation because of Covid.

Granted, her insecurities are still there under the surface, and they are expressed in some of her obsessive-compulsive habits, including the chain smoking that made me cringe every time she lighted a cigarette, but it’s encouraging to see her so at ease in her investigative work, so determined to get to the bottom of the mystery that looks even deeper and more gruesome than what she initially thought. Even in her most harrowing, most desperate moments, when it looks that she might become a victim herself, Holly keeps hold of some inner core of strength - and gallows humor - that shows she is not the timid, mouse-like creature that Bill Hodges encountered a few years back, not anymore. And it’s a very encouraging discovery, one that might hopefully lead to more stories about her.

Sadly, the novel’s background did not work for me as well as the personal journeys, mainly because I don’t enjoy any reminders of the Covid times: we all endured those days and that memory is still too fresh for it not to become bothersome - I believe we need some distance, some perspective, before we are able to look at those times with a modicum of equanimity. And then there is what I call the “King’s Manifesto”: we can all agree that the Covid epidemic, like many worldwide occurrences, brought to the fore the best and the worst of humanity, and that it exasperated the polarized stances that have become endemic in our present society. Portraying those opposite attitudes as part of the story’s background did certainly add the necessary depth to the main narrative, but in my opinion it would have worked better if the author had done so with a few, well-placed brush strokes: he decided instead to throw whole bucketfuls of paint to the canvas, so to speak, and did it repeatedly, as if in doubt of his audience’s power of understanding, and that proved quite annoying in the long run, and distracting, while all I wanted was to focus on Holly’s investigation and her search for justice for the victims.

Maybe Stephen King badly needed to vent and took the opportunity to do so here, but I hope that he’s done with the preaching (which never works in favor of good stories…) and will revert back to the bone-chilling storytelling he’s better known for. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Feb 29, 2024 |
Stephen did it again. He sucked me into this book from the first page. I resisted but I lost and I throughly enjoyed the read! This is my first introduction to Holly since I haven't read any other books where she was present. It didn't matter, she's a wonderful character and this book is full of other interesting characters.
Thanks Stephen! ( )
  Suem330 | Feb 25, 2024 |
Knocking Myself Out?
Review of the Simon & Schuster / Scribner Kindle eBook edition (September 5, 2023) released simultaneously with the Simon & Schuster / Scribner hardcover & audiobook.

“I think that a lot of people are not going to like it,” he says. “I think that a lot of people — particularly people on the other side of the Covid issue and the Trump issue — are going to give it one-star reviews on Amazon. But all I can say to those people is, ‘Knock yourself out.’” - Author Stephen King interviewed about his book Holly in Rolling Stone Magazine, September 5, 2023.


It is likely not possible to review this book without mentioning the elephant in the room of its being set during the later stages of the COVID pandemic in the summer of 2021 when vaccinations and subsequent booster shots had become available. Releasing it in late 2023 means that it comes at a time when many people would prefer to forget those times and whatever sad or fearful associations it may have had for them. I don’t think disliking the book means that you are necessarily anti-vaccine or pro-Trump. You might just be fed up reading about those things. Speaking for myself, it didn’t bother me that much. It felt appropriate enough for the character of Holly Gibney, a character whom I’ve enjoyed in several previous novels by King.

Those who know my reviews will know that I love to record statistics, so here are some statistics about possible triggering words in Holly:
Statistics
Word counts obtained by Kindle search, which did seem to catch all permutations e.g. “vax” also covers “vaxxed”, “vaxxing”, etc.
COVID = 77, mask = 64, hospital = 37, elbow = 26, sick = 23, Zoom = 23, vaccine = 19, vax = 11, double = 9 (as in double-vaxxed, double dose), Trump = 8, virus = 6, pandemic = 6, Corona = 5, illness = 5, jab = 5, ventilator = 4, Moderna = 3, Pfizer = 2, booster = 2, immune = 1.

If those mentions seem excessive to you, then likely this is not the book for you. Personally I could ignore them and I did mostly enjoy the greater story, even though as a ‘mystery’ it is pretty weak. The villains are known from the very beginning so the suspense of the book is how and when will Holly catch on and catch up to them. The villains’ motives are deluded and creepy as hell (no spoiler here), but there is a pathetic element to them as they are 80-year-old seniors. So they hardly seem “worthy” opponents for someone who faced down characters such as “Mr. Mercedes” & “The Outsider”.

I especially enjoyed the subplot of Gibney’s ally Barbara Robinson (younger sister of Gibney’s cyber assistant Jerome Robinson) who is developing as a young poetess and seeks out a mentoring relationship with a respected elderly poet in the community. Barbara’s subplot is peripheral to the main investigation but she plays a key role in the end. I always enjoy King when he writes about writers and books.

So 3 stars is a compromise rating, parts I enjoyed, parts were only so-so. There is not much kindness from King about his political and health opponents in it, but at least at one point there is a sense that he may understand those who pity others who let paranoia rule their lives:
As she approaches the payment window, she reaches into her left pocket for one of her emoji gloves and only finds the bottle of Germ-X. She grabs a Kleenex out of the center console and uses that to offer her money and take her change. The girl in the window gives her a pitying look.


Trivia and Links
Stephen King Universe tie-in = (Spoilers Obviously) As Holly is #3 in the Holly Gibney series it makes regular references to the Bill Hodges trilogy (2014 - 2016) and to the earlier Holly Gibney books, especially The Outsider (2018 - Holly Gibney #1) and to the main villains in those books. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 13, 2024 |
King serves up a slow burn fiction that feels so real. The atmosphere is rough and jarring already before discovery of….I won’t tell. The elements are hard and thick of Covid and the times current politics which really seat the reader fully in the moment. You’re tense and it’s unfair, which is the point. People are still gonna be crazy, and sick, and….ick.

The characters (if we chose to do the full reading gambit) grow and blossom fully open during this final leg (is it final?) of the Holly hope road. Beautiful things happened. Horrible things happened, and there were even a few wounds that began to heal.

I enjoyed my journey. I enjoyed watching these characters interact and learn. I enjoyed the realism elements during the entire read: periphery character choices, reaction times, domino effect, ect.

I love that King can write horror, fantastical dark fantasy, and jarring fictional realism with great effort and care to those tones.

“A millionaire walks into a bar…..”
( )
  cmpeters | Feb 2, 2024 |
WOW ( )
  Casya | Jan 30, 2024 |
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"En lyckosam blandning av deckare och skräck, som cirklar kring det positiva skrivandet, det outhärdliga åldrandet och den ofullkomliga människans strävan." Dagens Nyheter Jorge Castro avbryter sin joggingtur för att hjälpa ett äldre par i nöd, men blir överraskad av ett nålstick i nacken. Castro är bara ett i en rad av offer vars liv fått samma mardrömslika slut. Privatdetektiven Holly Gibney blir kontaktad av mamman till en ung kvinna som försvunnit i samma kvarter, och kommer två människor på spåren, vars gärningar inte kan beskrivas som annat än monstruösa.

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