I have problems with the narrator. Alan Sklar's voice is as deep and rich as melted dark chocolate sauce, but I can't forgive him for calling Caroline (Kennedy) "Carolyn". I'm sorry, but obvious mistakes distract and annoy me til I lose the story in anticipation of the next blooper. If it's worth telling, writing about, and getting recorded, then it's worth BEING READ CORRECTLY. And mispronouncing the first name of one of the leading characters takes away from the whole story for me.
Sklar needs to listen to some more Kennedy speeches before he attempts the accent again.
Towards the end of the book there's enough emotion for any three Dickens novels. When tough guys get sentimental they can be downright maudlin, so no need for any exaggeration on the part of the narrator.
That being said (or should I say "bemoaned"?), I have to add that this is a highly detailed and believable story of some of America's finest men in impossible situations where they're expected to jog in dress shoes and perform at 110% while being deprived of sleep, food, and family. And then they live in silent torment for not being perfect under impossible conditions.
It's a wonder good people still serve in the Secret Service, because according to another book about the Service, conditions haven't improved overmuch,
Jane Austen takes us into a world almost 200 years gone by - before women's rights, universal suffrage, antibiotics, steam engines, trains, electricity, hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, telephones, typewriters, movies, radio, or TV.
What's there to interest us? - romance, gossip, lies, competition, manipulation, innuendoes, fairness, and honor.
This is a story I can listen to over and over again. I love Anna Massey's peculiarly distinct pronounciation, which may not be for everybody.
I bought this version so I could contribute to the reviews. I grew up on Cape Cod, lived on Martha's Vineyard, and I presently live in New Bedford, so this is a very special story for me. I've listened to Moby Dick a number of times and seen both movies (the first one's better if you can get a copy). I agree with all the good things that have been said about the story, and said better than I could have.
I had wanted to put in a good word for the narration, because in the mid-1800's American accents had not been homogenized by radio and TV and many people must have sounded like the British sound to Americans today. And Duncan Carse started out sounding well enough.
But alas, he should have stayed away from accents altogether. Besides his attempt at early American, which would have been all right with me, his entire repertoire of other accents sound like Scotsmen, and that's enough to distract me from the enchantment of the tale.
A depressing story read like the narrator was one of the newspaper reporters chasing every juicy detail. Read with relish for the lowest common denominator.
Hard to follow - lots of street names and boroughs, many people and some with nicknames or aliases. Not easy without the text.
The story of this terrible murder might have been gripping if the narrator had taken a serious attitude to it, but he seems to enjoy the horror as much as the thrill-happy public of the day.
Not a book I'd listen to again and I hate spending money on one shot deals.
This story is way over and above The Moonstone, and anything by Dickens, Austen, or Trollope, for my money. It's rich with characters to love, admire, despise, pity, respect, and fear; but most of all, to grab your interest and hold it to the very end. These are characters to remember fondly and revisit often.
Along with the usual romantic pair of star-crossed lovers, there's a loyal sister with courage and honor; one of the most disgustingly self-involved uncles ever spawned from an author's imagination; a mysterious woman who wafts in and out of the narration, getting more and more flesh on her as the story evolves; a wicked poser who steals the ... well you'll have to listen to find out what he steals; and one of my all time favorite characters, the hugely obese yet ever soft-treading, evil Count Fosco, who eats vast amounts of pastries, trains his wife, pet mice and birds to obey his voice commands, dances while singing Italian songs and playing the accordian, hammers away at the piano, mixes effective medicinals, reads others' mail, spies on the sisters, deceives, arranges complex and deadly plots, and manages to stay one step ahead of the protagonists. Yet Count Fosco falls in love.
This is a book I've listened to at least 4 times, have burned to discs, and will listen to again and again, especially on stormy nights when the wind blows the rain against my windows.
Some reviewers have criticized the narrator, Gabriel Woolf, for the added sound effects, but I was raised without a TV and was read to as a child, so throat clearing, page turning, gulping water, and taking deep breaths is just part of hearing a story read by another human being. Modern media has trained us expect air-brushed perfection from the world, but that only happens on the screen.
If you're into explicit descriptions of violent death, you'll love this book. I'm not and I didn't. It's not the kind of book I'd listen to again and again.
Although Adrian McKinty is truly an accomplished artist, in my opinion his talent is wasted on so much dreary violence. He writes as though there's nothing else for human beings to be interested in.
He creates a lovable character in a gripping plot, but then surrounds him with horrible murders, at which we are also compelled to look, in all their ghastly details. The story seems to promise a psychological mystery involving a homophobic serial killer who leaves clues containing mythological allusions. But it rapidly becomes just another detective story in which we encounter the typical rookie cop (who is right, of course) getting busted, chewed out, and taken off the case by his superiors. Predictably, he goes about solving the case on his own at the risk of losing his job. A note to authors, editors, and agents: WE KNOW HOW THIS PLOT GOES, ALREADY!
The fact that this author is one of Audible's listeners' most favorites is a sad statement about how much fictional evil we call good these days.
I agree totally with every plaudit the previous listeners have given the narrator, Gerard Doyle. He's got many great voices with appropriate accents, perfect timing, and excellent tone. He reads as though he is the character and we're in the character's mind with him.
Interesting, engrossing, well written, intelligent, very likeable characters ~ no ghastly or gross descriptions of crimes. A refined cop story, if I may call it that. Well read - Peter Forbes is a master at different voices and accents. You know who's talking when he's reading. Well paced and natural.
My problem is I like Joseph Wambaugh's Hollywood series and fell for what the publisher says about this book. It's a lie.
Look not here for the likes of Hollywood Nate, Flotsam, Jetsam, or the Oracle. Unlike most of Wambaugh's other LAPD stories, there is no comic relief, not a hint of honor, and no endearing characters. Most are depressed, played out, addicted, divorced, degraded, case-hardened men (sorry, no women cops) that look forward to nothing so much as their own suicides. I began to wish they'd offed themselves before Wambaugh had sat down to write.
This book is a tiresome reiteration of all the forms of immorality and crime that isolated, desperate, and ungodly people can manifest. Private problems of the most intimate types, including how to off yourself successfully with a gun, are described in minute detail. Continued isolation, booze, and loose women are offered again and again as the hoped for, but ever unsuccessful, redemption.
Borrrrrrring. And depressing, if you can get through it, which I couldn't.
In spite of these drawbacks, the narrator carries it well, No complaints about him.
If there's suspense and horror in this tale, it's been methodically extracted by Jim Killavey, who plods through it without meaning or expression, pauses at inappropriate places, and drops his tone of voice at the end of every monotonous sentence, if not word. This could have been really spooky, but Killavey manages only to annoy and bore.
Yes, I dare. An unrealistic picture of life on the ol' plantation with all the "servants" so very happy to be owned by their white folks. "Rhett Butler's People", "The Wind Done Gone", "A Light to My Path", "Huckleberry Finn", and "The Slaves' War" begin to describe reality for the men, women, and children who were owned, sold, traded, beaten, raped, and killed in the ante-bellum South. This was a terrible time for all the people in our country, except the few unscrupulous rascals who made millions selling shabby clothes, rotten food, defective guns, and sick horses to the armies. Bet you didn't know the South was the first to conscript soldiers. Right. They weren't all rarin' to kill some Yankees. So there's no need for Linda Stephens to over-dramatize her characterizations the way she does. She could read it in a dead pan voice and it would still come through as extremely, dramatically, terrible, because it was.
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