Benacquista can write! This is a well written story that introduces us to the "Blake" family living in Normandy, France. The Blakes are ordinary in every sense but one - they are in the witness protection program because Fred Blake was a Mafioso king pin who ratted out his peers and now must hide because the entire Cosa Nostra is looking for him.
The book seems like it is in three parts. Part one introduces us to each of the four Blakes and the FBI agents who must watch them. This section is interesting and funny as we get to know the characters and learn what life is like in France for a bunch of Newark, NJ, transplants. The Blake children, in particular, are well developed, quirky, and interesting. Part two is a closer look at life in the Cosa Nostra and the life that Fred lived before he testified. This part might be interesting to you if you like stories about the Mafia. The third part looks at the disintegration of the Blake family and how the past catches up with them. Considering how well developed and plausible everything had been before this section, it is very disappointing to have an ending that is not as carefully developed and that never has a credible ring.
Ballerini is an outstanding narrator. This is the second book I have listened to that he narrated (cf: The Beautiful Ruins). He is one of the best and reason alone to listen to this book.
I have been a fan of Moore for years. In the past, I have thoroughly enjoyed his strange and wacky humor. More recently, he has been turning out more serious literature with good plot and character development while still retaining his sense of humor. Sacre Blue is in this mold. If you are an art history fan, this will be a great book to listen to as Moore playfully and inventively includes a host of French impressionists in this who dunnit that puts forth the theory that Van Gogh didn't kill himself but was killed by the "color man." Fun, easy to listen to, interesting.
The narration was outstanding. Morton does a good job setting the overall tone - but his voices are also very engaging - both male and female.
I just finished this book and it is one of the most insightful contemporary novels I've read recently.
That said, I sympathize with the readers who stopped listening after a couple of hours and gave it 1-2 stars as I would have. The beginning does seem like a simple retelling of adolescent banter and escapades that got irritating and old very quickly. I thought I'd misunderstood the description.
But I kept listening and found the book incredible. Murray's story presents the odd and at times unexplainable elements of human nature in a post-modern age. Who "wins" and who "gets ahead." And how many of us never really see what's truly going on -- even though we're 'good' people.
So, if you like cultural insights - and can accept the obnoxious, humorous, and tragic antics of both adolescents -- and adults. Then you may enjoy this book.