My difficulty was that I simply did not connect with the primary character, Adam Chase, enough to care about his situation. I appreciated how he was grappling with some of his family issues, but I never really found him overall that interesting. Nor did care too much about his predicament. Could be me. Other characters were drawn with fairly bold lines, not much nuance to any of them. I'm sure that was intentional, almost requisite for this plot to work. But again I failed to connect with any of them. So I did not feel much anticipation regarding the overall resolution of many of their conflicts. The plot was somewhat interesting but not gripping or demanding. The strength of the story was Adam's efforts at dealing with issues involving his mother and father and family. The author handles this very well and demonstrates a clear understanding of human nature and family motivations.
The Good: great narration.... Despite the fact that the book cornered characters into a restricted range of behavior- the narrator made the best of it. He was truly impressive and I believe I kept listening due to his prowess.
The Bad: this morality tale hiding behind the guise of a mystery becomes tiresome. If the concepts of forgiveness, the psychology of cutting, or the sticky web of family had ever been truly scratched I would have been satisfied; however, to speak the name and think that you have given the subject due diligence is just a shame.
The Ugly: how many times can a girlfriend lose her cool, slap her boyfriend, say "I'm sorry, but you left me" before you begin to yawn or at least reach for fast forward OR How many times can the angry young man act like THE ANGRY YOUNG MAN before you as the reader begin to say "okay leave" or "okay kill him" or "okay, but please go see a shrink?" Listening to this book was like wading to your ankles in the shallow end.
This book was disappointing. THe story is a soap opera w/ one dimensional characters who are emotionally and developmentally stunted. While the plot has some twists, the characters are absolutely predictable: of course they refuse to go to therapy, of course they resist legitimate pain medication, of course they drink too much (the men, of course), of course the males are emotionally bankrupt and of course the females are long-suffering and damaged. Some moments of lyrical writing - descriptions of place - have substance but the rest of the book is disappointing. Hope this author gets better.
I actually don't know what a soap opera is like, but I understand they are twisting, implausible fantasies that are designed to convince the housebound to purchase certain brands of laundry detergent. Vignette after vignette of startling betrayal, revelations of incest or bigamy or any number of other types of exaggerated nonsense is not my idea of "raising the genre of mystery to fine literature" as one hyperbolic reviewer was misguided enough to say.
This book's choice as an Edgar winner has ruined the honor's credibility and certainly has Mr. Poe spinning in his grave.
CLassic B movie kind of story. Plotting is relatively predictable, characters stock, and language is painful: "He pressed his lips against her and she said, I hate you I hate you."
Yet this won best novel of 08 at the Edgars awards. So clearly some people liked it.
I liked the story and the performance. The stilted dialogue really took me out of the environment. Obviously, John Hart is well received. Maybe I'm in the minority, but in my view, the guy just cannot write naturalistic dialogue.
Characters making decisions and taking actions that are unbelievable and without logic or motive. This technique seems to be in play just to keep the reader in suspense. It didn't work for me.
Engaging, clean, emotional... even when spouting stilted dialogue.
I enjoyed the story, but the voice of the narrator was awful. Bad accent, terrible cadence, sounded like a 65 year old smoker with a Texas accent. Not a 28 year old North Carolina man.
So clich'e. Man returns home, gets beat up by town bully. Left girl and returned. Father in trouble, but had no idea... Blah, blah, blah. Boring, stopped in the middle of chapter 2.