Factual accuracy. Better narrator.
Interesting time-travel concept, ruined by a terrible narration. Imagine William Shatner overacting, at his most over-the-top extreme. But without the good voice. It's understandable that the narrator would need to do a reasonable JFK impression, but why did he try to mimic Burt Lancaster, Jimmy Stewart, Sidney Greenstreet and others when they were not characters in the story? In the narrator's defense, the producers are also responsible. Not to their credit.
The inaccuracies are far too numerous to list, but they're especially bad in the areas of geography (refinery fumes wafting into Dallas from the Permian Basin, which has no refineries and would be somewhat akin to traffic fumes wafting from New York City to Bangor anyway) and sports (the Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs, not the Dallas Cowboys; the Chicago Bears won the title of the NFL, not the NFC, in 1963.) Both topics actually play major roles in the plot.
Not after this one.
Interesting time-travel concept. Excellent insight into how Mr. King uses foreshadowing.
Heavy-handed political commentary: conservatives are haters, hate is bad, therefor Mr. King hates conservatives. Especially Dallas. Stephen King really hates you, Dallas.
If you enjoyed Da Vinci Code, or any of Dan Brown's books, you owe it to yourself to try The Second Messiah. It's a sweeping novel with global ramifications. And the plot is not nearly as facile as Mr. Brown's books. The characters are more fully developed and their actions actually make sense. And plot points are not nearly so predictable. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read/listen. Be aware, it is an 'inspirational' novel, although that wasn't quite clear to me before I purchased it. It treads very lightly in that area, though, and I doubt that anyone would find that aspect off-putting. Still, you might want to now....
Finally, George Guidall's read is exceptional. I've been listening to audiobooks for 20+ years, and this is one of the best performances I've ever heard.
With its repeated references to the children's show, you eventually realize you are merely listening to an expanded episode of Scooby-Doo: with a lot of salty language and a little sex thrown in to let you know it's for adults.
Basically, this is the story of a hand of young people, and one older guy, exploring a building in current day LA. As such, it's pretty limited in its scope. Sure, the mystery involves the building, itself, but the characters can't really go anywhere. Except up on the roof, or down to the basement. Or into another apartment. That's about the extent of their activity.
Further, the characters aren't very well fleshed out. And it's beyond belief that, when they find mind-boggling danger and potential devastation--not just to them, but to the whole planet--they don't go to the authorities, or at least move out. Even if the rent is cheap.
It's also hard to take the story seriously, even though we seemingly are supposed to, when the characters keep comparing themselves, by name, to the characters in Scooby-Doo.
This tongue-in-cheek ennui extends to other aspects. Such as when the protagonist says something to the effect of, 'Gee don't you just hate it in the movies when they find an old newspaper to give you the date when something happened?' ... as he finds a stack of old newspapers telling him when something occurred more than a hundred years ago.
And the end result of all the Scooby-Doo sherlocking devolves into an unbelievable sci-fi twist at the end. While it is amply foreshadowed, it is so at odds with most of the book that you're thrown out of whatever state of disbelief you were in and asked to accept a completely different state of disbelief. Hard to do. And it's not accomplished.
As to Ray Porter's narration, sometimes the German accent is hard to tell from the (east) Indian accent from ... Well, you get the point. The book requires a young voice, and he does nail the surfer dude. Overall, it's not nearly so bad as Stephen King's 11/22/63, which is probably the worst narration ever, but it's not much better.
I've been listening to audio books for longer than I should admit; Rosamund Pike's read is the BEST narration ever. Story-wise, this is sort of Le Carre meets Alan Furst. There are some quite original elements, but it's the narration that kept me listening.
Be aware that it is told in two story lines, which can be jarring at times. Once you get used to it, though, it is usually compelling.
Can't reveal my favorite scene without a spoiler alert.
The spy who came in FOR the cold ... dish.
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