There are two types of mystery writers: the slam-bang starters who twist and turn through a story, and the slow methodical writers who weave a web of relationships and deceptions as they craft a story. Charles Todd is the latter. The Red Door is a wonderful example of his technique, and a great story of family secrets and lies, to boot. The relationship between Inspector Ian Rutledge and Hamish (the man he shot in WWI for failing to follow orders) continues, with Rutledge making room for Hamish (in the back seat of his car, as in other places), so we hear his voice throughout the investigation of murder.
What is compelling to me about this series is that as a reader, I really want Rutledge to let go of Hamish -- to move on to a normal existence after his experiences in WWI. If that were to happen, some of the personal angst Rutledge experiences would resolve, and I know that would make these mysteries less appealing to many readers. But Todd has created a character in Ian Rutledge that we would really like to see heal from his experiences, much as we would like to see all soldiers overcome their battlefield experiences.
It is a long book requiring attention, not one to be listened to in a casual way.
Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) wrote an interesting first novel, The Cuckoo's Calling. Based on enjoying that and having familiarity with Rowling's story telling, I pre-ordered this book. What a mistake! This book is a slog. There is no plot, unless you are able to follow convoluted literary references and a group of ding-bat writers, publishers and agents who just can't seem to get it together. Sadly Galbraith/Rowlings couldn't either. Robert Glenister seems as confused by the plot as I was...his voices are harsh, unrelenting, and not at all a pleasure for the ear.
As Holocaust survivors age and die, we need records of experiences to remind us how hatred can transform societies. Lodz, Poland will never be the same nor will countless other European communities where Jews and other hated people were transported to death or made to work as subhumans. This book is the story of one of only 12 children who survived the ghetto in Lodz as well as a story of her family members, who were part of the 800 people (out of a quarter of a million) who also survived.
For those of you who say you are "tired" of these books, I say: we need to remember so we can avoid the complacency that led to our country not believing what was happening to fellow human beings during World War II. Coping with systematic atrocities created heroes among those in the ghettos and camps. Yellow Star is an example of a family's strengths as well as luck in surviving. It is a well told, important story.
Imagine irradiated bedbugs morphing into man-eating monsters. Then imagine that a motel hosts a pornographic on-line service. Then think about women who are on work-release from prison cleaning rooms in said motel. That's all folks. This is the worst book I have ever listened to.
The narration of this classic made the entire experience PAINFUL. Although capable of reading, the narrator was not capable of dialogue -- something experienced Audible listeners have come to rely upon. So what happens is this: is it a man? is it a woman? which character is it, pray tell? Only those who have read the book in the past and are familiar with the plot line are able to tell.
I hope Audible will avoid these disasters -- I am wondering how it was selected.
My prayers have been answered. One of the best legal thriller writers has found his groove! Grisham spent 10 years drifting around the writing landscape and now has a great legal GPS. The story revisits one of his stellar characters and legal teams, telling a tale of holographic wills (didn't know what the term was, but they are handwritten wills -- legal in some states), greedy relatives (we all have those), personal secrets, and bad acts of predecessors. The quirky characters are back and legal tensions are writ through the entire tale. Bravo!
Many of us are likely to have read Jane Eyre when we were too young to understand the characters in the context of their era and mores. It was wonderful to listen to Charlotte Bronte's story again, part autobiography and part invention. Having recently read other books by the Bronte sisters and knowing their personal stories, Jane Eyre was especially worthwhile. Of course, the ending is unbelievably sappy for our times, but I imagine how it impacted readers of Bronte's time (1847). Some of the messages are difficult, for instance, the treatment of mentally ill people by confinement, or the impact that strict religious beliefs had on the "humane" treatment of orphans, or the emphasis on class distinctions to the exclusion of true character.
Almost 22 hours makes this a long listen, but well worth the effort. Emma Messenger was a fine narrator.
I am a fan of Elizabeth George, but the telling of this particular mystery is convoluted and self-conscious. It makes me want to ask the author to reread some of her earlier mysteries. I suspect there will be a follow-up to this involving spiriting her Pakistani friends out of danger in some foreign land, but I hope not. That boat has sailed, and did so a few books ago. I found myself saying aloud: "How can Barbara Havers and Thomas Lynley be so stupid and still have 'jobs'?" At least Lynley is getting over the death of his wife (a few books ago), but a roller-derby veterinarian? Really?
Davina Porter is a wonderful reader. She saves this book.
Disjointed, dull, and just plain awful. Don't waste a credit or time with this dog.
This book is well read, but not well written. It was predictable from the early chapters, without subtleties in characters or plot. I was tempted not to finish this, except I had predicted who was "good" and who was ultimately "bad," and wanted to confirm my assumptions. A frustrating listen at times, focused on pubic hairs left on bedding, an incompetent jurist, and a missing baseball bat!
One sometimes wonders how a protagonist can be so dumb, when the reader is screaming:
"It's your girlfriend, idiot!"
I am a fan of Kate Morton. This book is a story of a mother, with a secret to hold, that impacts generations of her family. I would like to reveal the secret, but that wouldn't be fair, and would ruin a major twist in the plot. However, I will say there is a murder, WWII bombing, class-warfare, childhood beliefs about causing deaths, and those things that we would just as soon not know but discover inadvertently. It is also a story of letting go of a parent -- first through the loss of intellectual faculties and then through actual death.
As expected from Morton, the descriptions of characters, places, and experiences is wonderful.
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