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.
"Down River", the 2008 Edgar Award Winner, is almost flawless. There are no requisite stumbles in the forest to give the killer/stalker/bad-guy time to catch up. I found the entire book, from beginning to end, thoughtful and enlightening. The conversational dialogue felt a bit awkward at first, because it was on-topic and off-topic and then on topic again, but I slowly began to realize that that is actually the way in which we script our speech in everyday conversations.
The story is compelling and keeps you guessing, but though a story may be excellent, for audiobooks, the narration is equally important. It was quite difficult to become accustomed to the deep southern accents, which were LESS "sweet tea and junipers" AND MORE "I am lost deep in the south and I really don't want to stop and ask Jed, the filling station attendant, for directions" AND (as I pass Jed and watch him through my rearview mirror) "Oh, no, Jed, the filling station attendant, is still watching me. Ok, Ok, deep breaths, he is just curious." AND "I just saw Jed wipe his hands on an oil-soaked rag and now, ok, (crossing myself) ok, he's, ok, he's turning, he is turning and he is, yes, Jed is walking, walking...walking back inside! We are outta here!" But I digress.
Listening to the dialect was difficult only because I have only been exposed to audiobooks in which the main narration, if not all of the characters, sounds like what I hear everyday in TV land, which means that the voices are sans any discernible accent except "American". Though the voices of the characters never became easy on my ears, the characters, themselves, were so endearing and expressed such palatable emotions and I became so immersed in the mysteries that I was actually unable to stop listening. Great Job!!
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.
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 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.
I like my books to not feel like a chore. This felt like it more times than not. Seemed a bit predictable and all but the twist at the end were so so.
Surprised, but felt like the author was reaching
I guess so. It was the book not the reader I had issues with
Yes, to not feel compelled to finish a book just because I paid for it when I really don't like it.