Lancaster, PA, United States | Member Since 2010
First off, there are no better performers in this genre than Lou Diamond Phillips. He is a genius. Okay... now for what he performed...
Since listening to Back To Blood, I have read the reviews. Apparently the NYT, Boston Globe, New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, and on and on... Seemed bent on dismissing this book. The kind of catty poseurs who Wolfe undresses in his books seemed to have struck a consensus.... "Well," they smear. "We've read this book before. Every since Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe has played the same old note revealing what he seems to think is the dysfunctional culture of the cultural elite." And of course each of these reviewers and publications represent the 'cultural elite.' Yet instead of criticizing Wolf'e arguments, they dismiss him as 'old news'. Hmmmm... I wonder if, by this reasoning any of those publications should ever run with another rape story - since after the first - all are old news. Or should they publish/broadcast/post another corruption story, or for that matter, another brittle praise for a naked new artist clothed only in the superlatives that their 'critics' layer over this month's darling?
Yep, Wolfe goes farther and deeper in Back To Blood in his riposte and ridicule of the asininities of the cognoscenti, the PC crowd, and the literary, art, political, and publishing elite. Worse ye,t for these reviewers, Wolfe is entertaining... his work, unlike most which they endorse, has the power to communicate its message to a broad swath of the public. Wolfe' worse sin is his power to resonate.
And Back To Blood resonates with the same sort of gong as the great social critics of the 20s, 30s, and 40s rang as the revealed the emptiness of the pretentious elites of their moment (does the name Gatsby resonate here?). This is today's great American Novel and should be read as part of an ongoing and deepening exposé along with Bonfire Of The Vanities, A Man In Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. John Updike once dismissed Wolfe as "an entertainer" and not a creator of literature. And there is a very real danger that Updike's trifling cocktail favorite but so... so... tame works will be remembered because of their cultural safety, while Wolfe will be kept off of the required reading lists with which we train and grow our literati.
Back To Blood is a great novel. It demands a spot on the same shelf as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Upton Sinclair,Sinclair Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Arthur Koestler, John Steinbeck, and Joseph Heller, John O'Hara, and Robert Penn Warren. Actually this entire series of Wolfe's books should be thought of as one work... each deepening the reader's understanding of a time and place in America's history and stagnation.
European elitists have often dismissed America as a place that passed from barbarism to decadence without ever experiencing civilization. To the degree that they are correct, Wolfe's revealing the pathway and the facilitators ... the enablers. What's particularly interesting though is that the ensemble of actors in Wolfe's epic, multi-novel drama. may be much too familiar to the very European cognoscenti who so easily condescend their American cousins.
“If y’wanna send ‘em a message, call Western Union.” That’s the way legendary movie producer Samual Goldwyn slapped down writers who tried to wrap sermons inside of movie scripts. Here’s the filling that’s inside Daniel Suarez tech-dazzling screenplay… Daemon/Freedom… “Capitalism is a dung encrusted delivery system for the kleptocracy’s herding of the masses.” I’ll tell ya’, Suarez delivers that message a lot more accessibly than Marx, Mao, or the lecture-blather that wafts from say, MSNBC.
And he does it with the bat-across-the-cranium bonking of his manic techno-literacy. This guy rocks! Subtle? Well that depends. Is Mylie Cyrus subtle? You think? But what’s it matter? Jeff Gurner plops the reader down inches away from an iMax screen, cranks up the color and mega-track volume to THROB! And then kicks into holographic hyper drive 3D. Warning: Your ears and eyes may bleed from the testosterone pressure.
Of course you’ll have to suspend disbelief. The is sci/fi…. Science FICTION… FICTION. And yeah, just like the first part of this book in Daemon, there are no multi-layered sensitive characters who’ll leave you clutching for your Kleenex. This is man-stuff. Hell, Suarez can’t come close to creating even an anorexic man/woman romantic moment. But: What’s it matter?
You want Bridges of Madison County? Watch a Meyrl Streep flick. This two-part book (Deamon is the first half) is for guys who crave a jolt of summer blockbuster, hero-saves-earth, CGI reality (not to be confused with any other reality). Okay, so Suarez loathes capitalism but seems insensible to human nature’s fangs and claws. Instead he substitutes kumbaya monks and monkettes living (without any loving… if you know what I mean) on utopian communes where everyone of every generation agrees in, and works joyously and effortlessly for the common good - without pot!!!! Yeah, he assumes away religious zealotry, cultural clashes, ancient ethnic animosities, and special interests who’ll chomp away the gonads of anyone that annoys ‘em.
If you crave a message to fire your anger, go read Marx, Mao, MSNBC or watch O’Reilly’s Spin Factor…. Instead, do this book for the way it snaps your head back when Suarez and Gurner stomp the techno accelerator.
Yes I've given Daemon 5 stars BUT… After a 16 hour listen…. This thing doesn't have an ending!!! It just ends mid-story with every plot-throbbing thread untied! Apparently it should stop with that Audible Voice Saying, "Audible hopes you've enjoyed THIS PART OF this book."!
Well, I did enjoy this part. It s whirlwind of action adventure (if frenzied in its movie herky- jerkies, especially toward the beginning of the 15th hours). If you like hot-season blockbusters well this is a man-flick pimped out in surround-sound, HD, 3D, and iMax frenzy. It razzels, it dazzles, it leaves you stinking of GSR, testosterone sweat, and a little deaf from the crack of explosions.
Oh… that's a good thing. Another good thing is the legitimacy which Suarez establishes in his comfort with video gaming. Games, which like the CGI of those summer tent-pole flicks, feed young (and not so young) men who are hot wired to crave a fix of this stuff.BTW, the cast of this book are not the stars, nope, it's driven by effects not characters. Expect comic-thin characters and roller-coaster techno rides with a sic-fi whirl of enigma-puzzles.
Okay, I'm off to download Part II of Daemon, a book by Suarez entitled Freedom that's also narrated by the way-competent Jeff Gurner. BUT THIS THING BETTER END THERE! Or Audible will have to add a truth in labeling comment… "BEWARE, THIS IS ONLY ONE PART IN A MULTI PART EPIC… YOU WILL NOT BE SATISFIED."
Frankly, I think they should have bundled these two together into one long listen. Instead they've got me paying twice for what is really one book (at least I hope so).
I wish this was an average mystery novel. That would make the level of books a lot higher. But among the books I enjoyed, this was average. Deputy sheriff is faced with a puzzle that may mean the world's in his hands? Sounds like a summer movie, eh?
It's a reeeely unlikely story, but then again, most of these stories are. Stephenson and George pull it off well enough to keep me listening right through. A lot of the credit goes to Marc Vietor's read.
Looking for an average GOOD LISTEN? Here it is.
You like a murder/legal/psychological thriller with bodies littering the set and gun smoke thicker than gallons of blood spew? This AIN"T your novel. Actually it's two novels for the price of one.
1. A legal/psychological puzzle that' maximum improbable but William Deverell will make you suspend disbelief… At least he did me.
2. A romance puzzle… Boy gets girl/loses girl/gets girl…like that. But the boys and girls are not at all stereotypical.
If I'd known just those two things before listening… I'd have passed on "Trial Of Passion"… but I'm glad I didn't… If only because of John Morgan's tour-de-force presentation of the way Deverell does a quirky exposition.
The author chooses to unravel the novel in three minds… Three POVs… Each in the first person and present tense. Whew! That's unusual and a total challenge for the reader. Morgan pulls it off BIG TIME!
Of course he's able to follow the intricately idiosyncratic speech (thought) patterns of each of the characters… patterns that reveal almost as much about them as their actions… No more about them.
This book ia a masterpiece of craft, and it kept my attention like trap springing on a hungry mouse. But.. but… Not being a romance fan, I gave it four stars… You might want to pile up a lot more… Or not…
Michael Connelly's Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller is perfectly crafted to fit my tastes. What it's not? Well, great literature. What it is? Well, great fun! Connelly writes this stuff for a living. He's like a successful architect who makes a bazillion bucks by satisfying clients.
Haller satisfies me this time by working his way through a decently challenging puzzle together with a cast that fills in all the holes… both entertainment and plot holes. From the opening grabber to the no-loose-ends wrap up… I want to know how this accused digital pimp'll get out from under the ton of evidence Connelly pours over his plight.
And Peter Giles directs this cast that he creates for us in perfect synch with Connelly's craftsmanship.
To paraphrase Dante: conscience judges the sins of the the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted through different lenses. In 'Pursuit', Thomas Perry allows complex characters to explain themselves, then he smashes one against the other.
I think it was General MacArthur who said, "If you find yourself in a fair fight… You didn't plan your mission properly." 'Pursuit' is about grim planning men, hunting one another. It's a killerchiller of a story driven by clever plotting, cruel plotters, and dark motives.
Varney versus Prescott… A steel cage battle between men with brains wired backwards to each other. Perry creates a stream of exploding crisis. And since Perry rarely returns to a character in his next novel, the reader never knows who is disposable regardless of the depth of their characterization.
Perry's interested in the way our brains construct a sense of self. And then how impossible it is to cause them to change from the paths that result, in this case, in codependent killers. If you like tense mystery, clever puzzles, and truth suspended between perspectives… You'll like "Pursuit" as much as I did.
And Tom Weiner creates, then stages Perry's cast precisely correctly. He's nuance-perfect in unravelling a story that kept me intrigued in this conundrum through the last minute. Yep, five stars in this genre - And this is the SIXTH of the eight Perry novels I've read so far that earned FIVE STARS!!! I'm thinking this guy is a very favorite author of mine. And I just downloaded "Silence"… so I'm anxious to see of there's a seventh perfect Perry read coming up.
I really got off on Adrienne Allen, wife of the murder victim… She's a great character and both White and Hill have fun with her. She's a scene stealer. Otherwise, I listened through the book and generally enjoyed what's become a too easy villain for many writers in the genre. Still, it was a way to make gain through my pain at the gym every morning I listened. Harm's Way distracted me from the discomfort and I think I'll listen to another of Stephen White's books, especially if Dick Hill's the reader. They're a competent team.
Apparently Scott Pratt's got some sort or denominational religious angst going on in his head… It apparently developed since his excellent earlier novel, "An Innocent Client" (which should be read first BTW). And here he swirls it around and around in a mishmash of mystical versus spiritual plot whorls.
I don't like it when an author relies upon ghosts, mystics, or satan/gods to solve his/her story difficulties. Pratt does that here. Maybe you'll enjoy it, since he's a good craftsman and Tim Campbell's a fine reader. Don't know whether I'll try the next in this series… I like my legal thrillers to be more "normal" courtroom matches without a gooey side-order of the "para'.
Listen to Charles Rosenberg's delightful "Death On A High Floor" before this one. That's VERY important. Set five years after that adventure, Jenna James, has lost a lot of her perk. To some degree it's the fault of casting Kate Rudd, only because I was used to Christopher Lee's brilliant creation of Jenna's character in book 1 of this series. Oddly, Lane did that Jenna better than the excellent actress… Rudd.. does in this book.
BTW, for some inexplicable reason I wrote Lane's name as Lee in my review of "High Floor" and wish that we could edit our reviews. I feel awful… grumble….
But maybe this book lets me down just a bit because Jenna James lost her perkiness. Her impetuosity, her sexual, um, spontaneity.Rosenberg's earlier work jumped the shark, but Lane's wonderful read made it work. Here, he only carries half of the water, so maybe that makes it more difficult to accept the improbabilities of this interpretation of academic politics. Dumno.. but while I enjoyed Long Knives… It wasn't "Death On A High Floor".
Still, if a third in this series arrives, I'll listen… especially if Christopher Lane's reading. AUDIBLE: GIVE CHRISTOPHER LANE MORE WORK… K?
From the first lines, Christopher Lane insinuates pompous, grumpy attorney Robert Tarza right into my mind. HE'S ALIVE!! Lee is an audible artist who breathes Charles Rosenberg's characters full-up with dimensions.
And Rosenberg gives them a bunch. Plus he makes the impetuous side-kick, young Jenna James… well, PETUOUS! These guys, Rosenberg & Lee make a kind of ordinary plot-line keep you in the car… in your driveway.. after a long ride home… still hanging on the next twist, wisecrack, and cliff hanger. Did I write "side"-kick? I'm not sure who is kicking who's side here,
it's a very clever ensemble, made even more interesting by quirky criminal lawyer Oscar Quesana… who will need to star in his own Rosenberg novel soon… hint.. hint… Hear me Charles? I totally liked this… and immediately downloaded the next in this series which features the perky, brilliant, and sexy Jenna James… Hope it's as good a listen as this one.
AUDIBLE… come on… give Christopher Lane lots more work… PLEEEEESE!
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