I had high hopes for this book, as I am generally fond of satire. However, this novel was by turns boring, depressing, and only occasionally funny. It is risky to have a main character who is unremittingly despicable, and for me this was the real deal breaker. A tight plot might have saved the story, but it wandered a lot, and many of the humorous incidents seemed to be forced into the plot, rather than being a natural part of it. I almost quit halfway through, but I kept going, hoping to get to the part that prompted the glowing reviews. In the end, I was left unsure as to the author's purpose and what he wanted to convey. Was I supposed to scorn scientists, or just recognize that egomaniacal jerks exist in all walks of life...
Parts of the story were too slow and not that compelling, but other parts were quite funny and riveting. The story starts out with a rather intelectual high-brow tone (and dull at times), and becomes progressively more and more slapstick (ridiculous) in its humor. There are a number of laugh out loud moments.
It ended well, but a bit abruptly.
It was perfectly good, I have no complaints.
Yes, this would actually be better as a movie I think.
This guy is a fabulous writer - The book is filled with beautiful descriptive sentences and is refreshingly free of the over-used adverbs and adjectives that permeate so many novels. I enjoyed the glimpse of life in Russia during that time period. The downside for me was the slow pace of the plot, and the fact that even though I felt sympathy for the main character, I wasn't really drawn in to the point where I really cared passionately about what happened to him. The reader was fine, but not outstanding.
This novel was a "page turner" for me. The plot moved quickly and the main characters were people I could care about, which made it hard to stop listening. For the most part, I was able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. It was a five star book until the ending, which was just too unbelievable, even though I could see it coming. But still, it was a fun listen overall.
This is a non-stop action novel, where the father & son protagonists constantly escape the frying pan only to end up in the fire. Charlie, is something of a ne'er-do-well, suffering in the midst of the mess he has made of his life. On top of his own troubles, Charlie discovers that his aging father, Drummond, was once a spy, and is now marked for death. Drummond has alzheimer's disease, which could cause him to reveal high-level secrets that he carries in his head. The two manage to escape hopeless situation after hopeless situation throughout the story. Along the way Charlie gains respect for his father and confidence in his own talents. This is what I would call a "guy" story, and for me the constant action/escape sequences got repetitive. But the characters were so likable, that overall it was quite enjoyable.
I didn't realize this was a romance novel, or I wouldn't have bought it, but I'm so glad I did. I haven't read romance novels since I was a teenager, but this one is at the top of the genre. It still has the requisite elements of the romance novel, however, the heroine is clever, witty, and anything but weak and helpless. There is lots of humor, lots of action and suspense, and less predictability than the usual romance. The narration is fabulous as well. Pure entertainment!
It is amazing that this was written pre-9/11. The character of the terrorist is well drawn and provides good insight into his culture and life experience. I enjoyed the story overall, but I had several issues that made it somewhat less enjoyable. It didn't keep me guessing much, and it had too much detail that wasn't necessary to advance the plot. While the main character made me laugh a lot, I didn't actually like him all that much. Finally, it is difficult to believe that an FBI agent who is flawlessly beautiful and 14 years his junior has the hots for him - sounds like every man's fantasy!
On the plus side the plot escalates quickly and dramatically. But... the writing is subpar (for instance, the word "suddenly" is used ad nauseum and there are lots of really bad metaphors). Also, the main character does so many stupid things, and by the end the plot was no longer even plausible.
I like a slow moving story if it is filled with memorable characters and events. This one, while interesting at times, was too frequently tedious and repetitive. I did manage to finish, but I was just anxious for it to be over. The narration is excellent, however, and done by the author himself. I haven't ever read anything by McLarty, so I don't know how it compares with his other works.
A romantic comedy with interesting characters and a fun but implausible plot. I found myself anxious to listen to more every time I had to turn it off. I liked the main characters and cared about what happened to them. The narration is excellent!
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