Doesn't know Detroit
The reader's mispronunciation of several Detroit area names is very distracting if you are familiar with the area: "Gratiot" should be pronounced "GRASH-ut", not "GRATHio". And it's "E-corse", not "e-CORSE", and "maCOMB" county, not "MAYcom". He also often puts emphasis in the wrong places in sentences.
The book itself often diverges into huge amounts of largely irrelevant detail, especially distracting when listening.
How many books has Grisham written about young lawyers leaving their high-pressure jobs with big firms to go find themselves doing something more meaningful? Well, one more with this one. This time she's a woman. I think Grisham ran into a deadline or is setting us up for a sequel, because the ending wasn't very satisfying.
Of the many Stephen King books that I have read or listened to, I think this is the only one that didn't involve some bizarre supernatural something screwing around with the very believable characters. The time machine (or tunnel or whatever) was obviously necessary in "11-22-63", and that's my other favorite King book. But I think that the 20 or so pages of attempts to explain some supernatural cause only make "Under the Dome", "The Stand", "It" and other King books more confusing and less enjoyable (if that's the right word...). In "Mr. Mercedes" there is no supernatural explanation. The bad guy is a very bad guy, and that's it. It's a great story, and very well read.
No. I enjoyed learning more about the Civil War and railroads at the time, but the raid itself wasn't particularly exciting, nor was it in any way successful. It was never really made clear why they chose this particularly obtuse way to try and sabotage a railroad (stealing a train and then destroying the track and bridges behind it as they headed north). And given that they did, the approach they took seemed to maximize the chance for failure. The opportunities to muddle the operation of a single-track railroad seem numerous, especially with 24 men. The chosen method, while daring, seems particularly stupid and unworthy of great attention.
Also: Bonds rather pointlessly follows every person or object vaguely related to the raid through the following century and even beyond--not just the raiders, but the generals (and the General), the southern railway men and jailers, and medals of honor in general. The details of the survivors' squabbles over the details of the raid made me regret my typical compulsion to read/listen to most books to the bitter end.
Fortunately, he didn't really change his voice for various characters (of course, there's little if any dialog in the book anyway). He got a little over emotional for my taste at times, but in general was quite easy to listen to.
In the end, the story just wasn't interesting or exciting enough to justify a book of this length.
Unlike many detective novels, the cases here seem very real. Rather than uncovering huge organized crime syndicates and such, our #1 lady detective deals with a series of interesting yet mostly simple cases, relying on her knowledge of human nature instead of forensics. It is charming and funny, and a great listen while driving.
Bad news--it was too short. Good news--it's the first of a series!
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