Summary and book reviews of The Dinosaur Feather by S Gazan

The Dinosaur Feather

By S J. Gazan

The Dinosaur Feather

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Winner of the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade, S.J. Gazan's debut novel The Dinosaur Feather is a classic of Scandinavian noir, from its richly imagined and deeply flawed characters to its scintillating exploration of one of the most fascinating aspects of contemporary dinosaur and avian research.

Biology postgraduate and hopeful PhD Anna Bella Nor is just two weeks away from defending her thesis on the origin of birds when her supervisor, the arrogant and widely despised Dr. Lars Helland, is found dead in his office chair at the University of Copenhagen. In the dead man's bloody lap is a copy of Anna's thesis.

When the autopsy suggests that Helland may have been murdered in a fiendishly ingenious way, the brilliant but tormented young Police Superindendent Søren Marhauge begins the daunting task of unraveling the knotted skeins of interpersonal and intellectual intrigue among the scientists at the university. Unfortunately for him, everyone involved - from embittered single mom Anna Bella Nor to Marhauge's own ex-wife, who is pregnant with her current husband's child - has something to hide, presenting the detective with the greatest professional and personal challenge of his entire career.

Chapter 1
Solnhofen, Southern
Germany, 5 April 1877

Anna Bella Nor was dreaming she had unearthed Archaeopteryx, the earliest and most primitive bird known. The excavation was in its sixth week, a fine layer of soil had long since embedded itself into everyone's faces and the mood had hit rock bottom. Friedemann von Molsen, the leader of the excavation, was the only one still in high spirits. Every morning when Anna staggered out of her tent, sleepy and shivering in the cold, von Molsen would be sitting by the fire, drinking coffee; the congealed oatmeal in the pot proving he had cooked and eaten his breakfast long ago. Anna was fed up with oatmeal, fed up with dirt, fed up with kneeling on the ground that only revealed bones that were, of course, interesting in their own right, but were too young to be the reason she studied biology, and most definitely not the reason she was spending six weeks of her precious summer vacation living in such miserable conditions. The year was 1877...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

It’s a perfect book to get you in the mood for a dark winter. And – a warning for some, a promise for others – it’s filled with revolting descriptions of creatures from biology’s underbelly. Parasitic tapeworms that munch their way through nerves and tissue and lay eggs inside peoples’ intestines, spiders the size of dinner plates, scorpions crawling under bedspreads… it’s all in there.   (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).

Full Review Members Only (1077 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Gazans brainy thriller ... Gazan orchestrates the suspenseful action and overlapping lives of her complex characters with deceptive ease ... [A] moving exploration of such broader themes as parenthood, love, and the potentially poisonous results of living with lies.

Anette Dina Sørensen, Politiken

Gazan's novel has by far outdone, not to say outshone, all other crime novels published this year.

The Times (UK)

Intelligently plotted and psychologically believable.

Financial Times

The asides—the dissemination of DNA, the structure of dinosaur skulls—prove as intriguing as the central mystery. A top-flight thriller that’s poisonous, smart and outrageously entertaining.

Library Journal

Those who enjoy crime writers such as Alex Brett, Stephen Legault (Blackwater series), or Kerstin Ekman will enjoy this thriller, which was named the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade. This title may also appeal to readers with an interest in science.

Kirkus Reviews

The results are uneven, and the ending is inevitably anticlimactic, but the journey there is a revelation.

Reader Reviews
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Archaeopteryx: The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds

ArchaeopteryxIn S. J. Gazan's The Dinosaur Feather, when Professor Lars Helland, a cantankerous PhD advisor at the Institute of Biology in Copenhagen, is found dead in his office, the police soon discover a copy of PhD student Anna Bella Nor's thesis on his lap…covered in blood. Her controversial paper puts to rest a major scientific debate between Helland and his long-time rival, the hotheaded Dr. Clive Freeman. She dares to prove, once and for all, that birds are, in fact, present-day dinosaurs.

Many Paleo-ornithologists today believe that birds descended from dinosaurs, but deciphering the family tree is (and has been) a very difficult matter. According to award-winning environmental journalist Gareth Huw Davies, "Numerous finds in recent ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Dinosaur Feather, try these:

  • Arctic Chill jacket

    Arctic Chill

    by Arnaldur Indridason

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society.

  • Before The Frost jacket

    Before The Frost

    by Henning Mankell

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In this latest atmospheric thriller, Kurt Wallander and his daughter Linda, just graduated from the police academy, join forces to search for a religious fanatic on a murder spree and soon find themselves forced to confront a group of extremists bent on punishing the world's sinners.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...
  • Book Jacket: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    I feel like Gabrielle Zevin wrote this wonderful book, about a lonely New England bookstore owner ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.