I'm not really a big fan of mysteries, but there are a few authors I'll read: Kate Wilhelm for the characters, Ellis Peters for the backgrounds, Tony Hillerman for the textures of Navajo life. Now I can add Benjamin Black to the list. Unsurprisingly (in his other identity of John Banville, he is a Booker Prize-winning literary novelist), Black writes fine novels that happen also to be mysteries.
Some level of mystery is an element of most literary novels. How will the protagonist resolve this problem? But Quirk, Black's hero in this series, is a pathologist, the man who does the post-mortem on patients and on his own sins, as he sees it. He is, in fact, no more a sinner than the rest of us, but being an Irish Catholic in the 1950's, he feels it more strongly. And it is his character that keeps us enthralled from book to book.
The mystery here is more than sufficiently complex, but it is used as a vehicle for a portrait of a world, of the power elite of a place and time that was no more or less corrupt than any other. Even the villains are human, and get to speak for themselves.
Actually, Timothy Dalton speaks for them, and there are few readers who are better than he. Don't think of him as James Bond, but as, say, the young king of France in The Lion in Winter, and you'll get an idea of just how fine an edge he brings to these books.
I mostly listen to books while exercising, which pretty much explains all of the action/thrillers on my list.
I like reading mystery novels set in different countries and different times so I thought this one would be fun. I was disappointed. The story is not very original, although some of the characters are. Don't know what more to say. I won't read more.
Sorry to see so many readers blame the narration for the tedium of listening to this book. To my mind it was the fault of the author. It's just so unrelentingly monotously wordy. "Atmosphere" etc. is fine, and an essential part of storytelling, but it's better ladled on with a spoon than dumped in by the bucketful.
I greatly enjoyd the book and the myriad of characters. I bought it thinking it was a murder mystery but it ends up being more of a character development story with some elements of the mystery thrown in at the right time to keep you engaged. Quirke is an untypical hero and the narator does an excellent job of bringing over the characters. Looking forward to the follow up The Silver Swan.
timothy dalton was a sensation as a brooding, handsome heathcliff when he was younger. now, his rich, richer, richest vocal tones serve up an intriguing mystery as tantalizingly as the creamy aroma of freshly brewed coffee with your favorite dessert liquor .....delicious combination.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Four hours of heavy tedium have caused any interest I've got in listening to this... this... thing reveal what it's about to dissipate like a parking lot puddle in searing heat. Nope, bad metaphor. This book and the word "heat" should never appear in the same sentence. It is cold and not even interesting enough to be called boring.
Perhaps this is a "literary" author's attempt to become more commercial by having his book marketed as a "mystery" or a "thriller"? The mystery here is what went through the publishers' minds when they green lighted this thing. Maybe they acted on a pitch instead of actually reviewing a manuscript and once granting an advance found themselves stuck?
Dunno. But I do know that Benjamin Black is on my, er, blacklist. I'll return this book, but no way that Audio can give me back four hours of my life. Pity.
Oh, and Timothy Dalton? His read was as uninspiring as the text. They made a good match.
Although the author crafts some neat descriptions and the narrator is very talented, this is a pretentious downer of a book. My most unpleasant audiobook experience ever.
I tried multiple times, but this book never caught me up into the story. Very slow. If there is a payoff at the end, I will never get it, because it is too painful to get to that point.
I'm a 36 yr. old master of no paticular trade, but currently working in the oil patch. I'm not very critical and love to consume audiobooks
I absolutely was taken in by this book. I struggled at first with the place and culture, but very quickly I was drawn in and transported. I'm not very critical and generally enjoy what I consume, but this book went so very quickly. I enjoyed the characters, the dilemmas, and the conflict faced by these truly magnificent characters. Don’t pass it up.
Dalton is an excellent reader who imbues this book with a texture of nuance, atmosphere and moral imperatives. Worth a thoughtful listener's time and involvement.