So much of it seemed contrived. WARNING: some may consider this next part a spoiler. Thor's heroes and villains are all described as meticulous top operatives, yet they screw up so often and ultimately so predictably that it becomes difficult to take any of the "thrilling" parts seriously. In one "thrilling" battle scene Thor needs both guys for a later scene so after a furious and lengthy gun fight in the dark where they both lay ingenious traps for each other and fill the air with flying lead, neither one is killed and the villain escapes through a trap door. Or in another scene where a bad guy is two feet in front of a tied-up good guy and pointing his pistol right at him when a bunch more good guys run through the door for the rescue...a lengthy gun battle follows but the bad guy gets away (through a hidden door) and then we discover that the bad guy shot the tied-up good guy...but didn't kill him. Because we still need him later in the story. And tis is the SECOND time that bad guy shot someone at close range and didn't kill him. He needs some shooting lessons. But no, Thor has given us this guy's history and he is a "meticulous top operative" so he is very competent as a killer, unless Thor needs the guy to be killed in a later scene. Or another scene where an agent very cleverly gets the drop on a bad guy coming for her but then fails to notice that he has a knife, and then gets distracted by a cup of tea, and then alternately knows how to fight and doesn't know how to fight, I guess to prolong the "thrilling" knife fight. I have just arrived at the place in the book where we discover how it is that a bad guy (who one of the good guys distinctly remembers that he killed) is still alive. I am not surprised at all. I expect to hear about a thrilling battle followed by a narrow escape, if I can stand to listen to it. Don't get me wrong...I like thrilling battle scenes followed by narrow escapes, but there have already been six or seven of them and it is wearing me down. Worse, it seems contrived. Like every time we need a narrow escape, lo and behold, a trap door. I suspect that "Brad Thor" is just his writer's name. His real name is "Trap Door"
No. Vince Flynn is over the top but I can listen to his stuff and not feel completely jerked around. At least Flynn's top operatives know how to shoot. And so far, no trap doors.
George Guidall is always good. One of the consistently good narrators.
I am not sure I can finish it. Maybe there will be some redeeming qualities later. So far...
Maybe the abridged version leaves out some of the narrow escapes through trap doors.
Haven't read print edition but can't imagine it would be much better then the audio edition.
The knowledge Brad Thor has of how special opts. works and how he made the story believable.
yes, I'm on my second listening and can't wait to listen to full black and black list again. I have many hours of listening ahead of me and with the amount of driving I do it's nice to have these on my mp3 player.
I think I've said it all; great audio book's.
State of the Union is in the middle of the pack when it comes to audiobooks that I have listened to. The narration is excellent but the overall story is a little too fantastic to believe. Part of what draws me into these types of stories is the realism. Despite Brad Thor's fairly exhaustive explanations regarding the science behind the storyline, I was never fully engaged by the story. I think George Guidall's narration is primarily what helped me stayed glued to the storyline.
I would weakly recommend State of the Union to other readers. I like the Scott Horvath character and continue to want to understand what makes him tick. As I mentioned earlier, George Guidall's narration is excellent.
George's narrative voice, use of inflection and tone, masterfully brings the listener into the story. I really get lost just listening.
I think this was Brad Thor's venture into a little bit of Sci-Fi combined with his normal writing genre. I prefer for him to stay in the geo-political terrorism sphere.
The story, action and characters are all exactly what I expect from a Brad Thor novel. Thoroughly entertaining and exciting. Sadly, the narrator has a terrible vocal delivery. Especially as compared to the narration of the first two books. Me. Guidall has a very lazy voice, horrible enunciation and dismal accents. I almost stopped listening after 5 minutes but decided to see if I could grow accustomed to his voice. By the time I determined that wasn't going to happen, I was too into the story to stop. Now I have another 7+ hours of difficult to listen to but thoroughly entertaining story.
I was going to tough out and live through this book and George's lack of differentiation between character voices in hopes that the next one would go back to the previous artist. Unfortunately I will need to read these the old fashioned way as George narrates the next 5 in the series.
In his third offering of the Scot Harvath saga, Brad Thor finally gets around to placing Harvath in his element: counter-terrorism. In the first offering, "The Lions of Lucerne," the former Navy Seal is featured in his role of Secret Service agent. In "Path of the Assassin," he ties up loose ends from book one and transitions away from Secret Service work and into the field he was so obviously made for. Harvath has to be one of the most highly trained individuals in history, and in "State of the Union," he will need every bit to make it out alive and save millions of innocent lives.
The story really starts in the early 1980's when the Cold War was at its peak. Both the Soviets and Americans had placed sleeper agents with suitcase nukes in position to detonate them in major cities. However, mutually assured destruction (MAD) was keeping both countries at bay. Fast forward 20 years to the present (this book was published in 2004) and we meet General Sergei Stavropol. The General has waited patiently for his plan to come together, and with the completion of the Soviet missile defense system, the concept of mutually assured destruction no longer applies. The first thing Stavropol does is try to eliminate the US sleeper agents with their suitcase nukes. Almost all are killed and Gary Lawlor, formerly of the FBI and currently Scot's boss at the Office of International Investigative Assistance (OIIA), the counter-terrorism branch of the government, has gone missing.
Stavropol, operating from a position of dominance, holds the US president hostage. His ultimatum: either the US retreats from the world stage both financially and militarily and the President announces this during his state of the union address, or his sleeper agents will set off the nearly two dozen suitcase nukes spread around the country in strategic cities. Even one of the nukes could kill millions, and leaving the world stage would be devastating for the US economy. Things look bleak for President Jack Rutledge and Stavropol seems to be holding all of the cards, but Rutledge has an ace in the hole - Scot Harvath. With only one week to work miracles, Harvath sets out to do the improbable. With help from some of the CIA operatives from the previous book, as well as beautiful but deadly Soviet agent Alexandra Ivanova, who's loyalty is in question, Harvath must disable the missile defense system and find the suitcase nukes before it's too late.If one reads enough of these books, the outcome is not in question. The interesting thing is to see how Harvath goes about accomplishing his task. With equal part skill and luck, Harvath doesn't have a moment to spare when we finally reach the climax.
George Guidall is one of my favorite narrators. His tone and inflection reflect upon the plot and gives a sense of being in the mix. His voices are distinct and leaves no doubt which character is speaking. With a good story to tell, Guidall elevates the narrative to a higher level.
This book is full of action and the scenario is definitely plausible. Just like the James Bond books, Scot Harvath has a tendency to get into tight spots, and also an uncanny ability to get out of them. I enjoyed this book more than the previous two, as counter-terrorism is Harvath's niche. I liked his involvement with Meg Cassidy from the last book, but she barely makes an appearance in this one. I guess Scot's career doesn't leave much room for a personal life. Nevertheless, I rate this 5-stars as the action kept the pages turning for me. I am looking forward to book 4 in the series.
Will be reading all of Thor's novels which include his hero, Secret Service Agent Scott Harvath.
One thing I specifically enjoy about Thor's novels is that the first action packed crisis our characters survive is only the pre-cursor to the main event ...
I was very disappointed with Guidall's performance. While he attempted to change tones for the variois characters, I found his voice almost monotone and quite boring. It makes it very difficult to enjoy some of the witty rremarks the characters make.
If you could tolerate Guidall's reading.
I really enjoyed Armand Schultz' reading of Lions of Lucerne. While I certainly can't speak to other audible listener preferences, when I listen to a book, I need the narrator to be the characters. I need the characters to have different voices. I need the story to come to life. For me, that is one of the pleasures of an audio book. As fellow readers know, a bad narrator can totally ruin a book and even turn you off for the remainder of a series. Unfortunately, the narrator of State of the Union was pretty close. If not for Thor's edge of the seat story, I could have been turned off all future Thor novels.