At the risk of sounding like a Philistine or a cultural lightweight, I must tell you that I could not get into this book. It is probably a great book, but it did not suit my mood. It was so dark and disturbing that I just did not want to live in that world for 12+ hours of audio. I had to abandon the book about 1.5 hours into the program. I thought this book would be a Grisham-type southern lawyer mystery with just a bit more depth. But this book was very different. The author probes the depths of disturbed souls, more like Dostoyevsky. It was not what I wanted for light summer reading.
Now I must say that it was very well written. The language of each sentence was exceptional. The author has a way of turning phrases with piercing originality-- the kind of phrases that say so much in so few words-- something like Joseph Conrad does. It is almost worth listening to this book just to hear some of the stunningly poigniant sentences that the author has written.
However, it is a dark world that he writes about and the characters are deeply troubled people. The heaviness of this was exacerbated by the reader's voice and inflection which to me seemed to over-dramatize every sentence. He reads every sentence as if it is the profound last sentence of an epic novel, and this I found to be exhausting.
With all that being said, I will definitely try this author again on his next book which I hope is just a bit lighter and less troubling.
The plot's fine, but the writing is so staggeringly melodramatic--with long, cliched descriptions and forced language--and made worse by the overly dramatic reading! Wanted to scream several times. Stuck with it just to find out whether my own prediction of "whodunnit" turned out correct.
I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written and suspenseful. The end was a complete surprise and the epilogue pulled together everything I wanted to know about the characters.
I hope this author writes another book soon. I'll be first in line to purchase it!
Oh, and the reader was excellent, too.
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.
I listened to this puzzle-murder-legal-procedural-mystery about four years ago. And forgot that I had!!! Found it in my library and about two hours in, I recalled whodunit. And yet everything is so intricate and only dimly recalled so Hart had me again. It's a good listen. David Chandler's merely VERY good. Which means his greatness doesn't intrude. Chandler's presence becomes invisible, which is a MAJOR compliment to an actor.
My how the lead character changes as this yarn unfolds. It's all about introspection and personal revelation, sometimes in such detail that I wonder if Hart wasn't padding the page count a little. Also, I wish the editor had done a global search for the word "sorry,: deleted half of his findings and used a thesaurus to morph another 50% of the remainder.
But… Knowing the ending, which I recall came as a surprise the first time through, the layers of plot complexities were even more intriguing. Uh-huh…it's a good listen… Enjoy it, huh?
I just thought the main character was depressing. Not sure what you could have done on this one.
The main character was just sad. I am not sure if it was the writing or the narrator most likely both but 5hrs in I was just depressed and sick of his sad pathetic life. The murder mystery was way to drawn out. This was a book about the main character not a mystery at least as I like a mystery. 7hrs into it I had had enough and was unable to even finish it.
Find a faster paced narrator for a slower paced story.
Alex was annoying and I really just wanted to punch her in the mouth the whole time and couldn't wait for her parts to move on
This is my opinion only. I realize others may love this I just couldn't get into it try as I might. Glad to pick it up on the Editors favorites specials so just a few bucks. Onto the next book!
I love audio and ebooks but only give them a 5 if they hold my attention. An avereage story gets a 3 . Thrillers & Crime are my favorites.
I bought this book at the time most of the reviews were positive but wish I had waited until more reviews were written. The basic plot is good and I kept listening to find out who was guilty but much of the story line was dragged out to the point I just wanted to groan on several occasions. At almost every point where a couple of characters were having an important conversation, one character had to drag the answers out of the other to the point I just wanted to scream "just answer it already!"
The main character, "Work" is accused of killing his father; he thinks his sister did it and does a lot of really stupid things that get him in deeper trouble. Near the end of the book he finally just asks her.....dah!
Without giving it away, once he knows the answer it changes things. I did like the ending and the performance was not bad. I would not want to listen a second time so my basic rating is just a three.
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Mildly interesting plot, unconvincing characters, overwrought language. Extravagantly positive reviews here are misleading. Full review in progress.
Johh Hart is a very good writer who makes you feel the pain of his very-definitely-flawed protagonist. The story catches you from the first chapter, even though it hurts and you hang on til the end. First book of his that I've listened to/read, but I will definitely try another.
This is my second John Hart. I read "Down River", got all excited, and rushed to download this work. It's good, but pretty far short of the other. Since this was Hart's first book I suppose it stands to reason that he would have improved, started hitting his stride in "Down River".
The premise of the mystery is pretty clever, and Hart gives us a couple of likely suspects to focus on throughout the story. The action marches right along, not many digressions from the unraveling of the mystery. It seemed to me that the book was written as a series of scenes, like in a play. When one encounter of the characters gave up all the information they had, curtain down, curtain up, new scene, more information.
Some of the dialog is a bit dramatic sounding, not like people talk at all. As if it were typed in Aerial Font, for soaring rhetoric. From time-to-time I pictured some old Shakespearean actors called out of retirement to act out these scenes, with flourishes and grand sounding words.
Most of the characters were believable and well painted. I was a little curious as to the function of the old Viet Nam vet who'd suffered five years in a POW cage. He was far more interesting than his minor role in this book would indicate. He offers a little advice, then turns out to have witnessed something important, but he doesn't offer anything that a stock bartender character from central casting couldn't have.
I was sort of disappointed in the choice of narrator. David Chandler has absolutely no southern accent, in fact, not much of any accent at all. This is supposed to be North Carolina, after all. Even the Publisher's Summary mentions something about a southern drawl. But, as a lot of the action takes place in courtrooms and lawyers' offices, there's nothing about the book that requires it do be identified with North Carolina, aside from references to Charlotte. Nothing down on the farm or out on the plantation, not much small-town stuff. So maybe Scott Sower would have been an overkill.
Anyway, it's a pretty solid mystery, just not Hart's best.
Badly written, replete with phrases that a schoolboy would be ashamed of, cliches galore, no noun goes without 1 or 2 adjectives. It goes nowhere and ever so slowly; I heard it in 35 minute spells (my journey to work) and it was insufferable - Elmore Leonard would have covered the same territory in 3 minutes. It was unbearable waiting for it to get moving. I can't believe this won an Edgar award for best first novel, it's terrible and needs a team of editors to reduce it to about 3 hours, not 12. Over-written, insubstantial, dull, the hero is not a hero, he's a whiner. Booklist said "Hart is a fine stylist, turning phrases with a panache that recalls Raymond Chandler." Rubbish, Chandler would have had Philip Marlowe kill the hero and the writer for murdering the English language!