I was glued to this book for all 27 hours -- and the funny thing is, having read the book at least three times since it came out in 1973, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Clearly, it wasn't the element of suspense that got me -- even though there was still plenty of that. In a book this long, lots of things happen that I'd forgotten, or glossed over, before. Then too, listening to a book as compared to reading it, there are always things that seem new, that I hadn't considered before. But the big delight in listening, again, was just watching it all unfold -- seeing Edward X. Delaney plot, plan and scheme to take down the evil Daniel Blank for whom, ultimately, it's hard not to feel some level of compassion. The staid but quirky Delaney is on a par with the world's most memorable detectives -- Holmes, Piorot, Whimsey, and even Columbo, of whom he reminds me in some vague fashion (probably his absolute doggedness, in refusing to ever consider giving up or even backing down.) Bottom line, I loved this book -- absolutely loved it. Now I'm looking forward to all the rest of the "sins", wishing, for the first time in my life, that there were more than seven.
One of my favorite series of all times, these books by Susan Hill featuring the enigmatic Simon Serrailler, the non-doctor, third-of-a-set-of-triplets, contemplative sort of police detective who outdoes Adam Dagleish every time. "The Various Haunts of Men" is the first in the series, and while not exactly required to read or listen to them in order, it helps.
This book has everything -- story, fascinating and complex chatacters, family issues, a baffling crime (ie series of crimes), plenty of tension and maybe most importantly, a whole string of people you come to care about, many of whom continue into subsequent books.
Susan Hill is remarkable. No one creates characters like she does, and no one spins original stories with more veracity. These are people you know, with all their strengths and faults, their hidden sins and unexpected virtues.
Steven Pacey's narration is perfect -- just the right pace and tone.
The only real problem with these books is pacing yourself -- there aren't that many, and you can only read them for the first time once.
'Chiefs' completely blew me away -- who knew? I've read several of Stuart Woods other books, the Stone Barrington and Ed Eagle series in particular, and they were fine, nothing to really write home about. So I wasn't too excited when I saw this one on Audible. But? It was on sale, and it was long -- a prime requirement for me -- so what the heck? Why not?
Boy, was I wrong. "Chiefs" grabs you from the very first minutes and doesn't let go -- I literally cancelled two appointments this afternoon -- no way was I going to stop listening until I finished it. This was Katherine Stockett's "The Help" meets Robert Penn Warren's classic "All the King's Men", although arguably better than either. As a novel of southern culture, spanning three generations, as viewed through three very different men who served as chief of police in a small southern town, it's hard to imagine anything better than this one.
Few books draw you so completely into the character's lives as does "Chiefs". This is consummate storytelling. As each of the three segments finished, I was sad to see it end, figuring the next segment surely wouldn't be as good as the one I'd just finished. But I was never disappointed. Each was compelling in its own way.
It's really too bad it's being advertised as a "serial killer" book. Yes, that's an element, but that's sort of like saying that chocolate cake is about the sugar. Yes, that's an element, but that misses the point. This is a novel, not really detective fiction, as such. It's a story of courage and cowardice, of home and running away, of race, black and white, good men and evil scattered throughout. True, it's the 'killer' angle that ties the three administrations together, but that's really not the focus of the story.
I couldn't help comparing the whole situation to that of John Grisham. This was Stuart Woods first book -- written long before he published any of the more traditional detective fiction books he's more famous for. Yet "Chiefs" is so far above and beyond anything that Woods has written since, it's sometimes hard to believe it's the same author.
Same with Grisham. The first book he wrote -- "A Time To Kill" -- wasn't published until he'd already written and sold several other more traditional legal thrillers. Similarly, "A Time to Kill" is by far Grisham's finest work, although I'd admit "A Painted House" comes close in terms of literary merit. And also similarly, 'A Time to Kill" isn't really about rape and punishment, it's about the life and times of the people involved, the society in which these things happened. So it is with "Chiefs".
I know I will listen to this book again and again. If you haven't read or listened to it yet, you've got a real treat ahead of you. Don't miss this one. It's a classic.
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
The protagonist, Cormoran Strike, is an ex-military policeman who lost a leg during service and is now trying to make ends meet as a PI in London. His "girl Friday", a temporary secretary named Robin whom he can't afford (but can't seem to turn away) arrives on a day his life's ebb hits a low point. I loved the rapport between these 2 characters.
I can't overstate how much I enjoyed this novel. One would never know by the lyrical writing, the twisty plot line and well-developed characters that this is a debut for Robert Galbraith.
My only disappoint is that the book ended and I didn't have anything else by Galbraith to read! I anxiously await his next book, which I hope continues Strikes' story.
Robert Glenister's narration is perfect!