Wow, there's no middle ground in the reviews for this one, so put me with the pros. A genuinely computer-literate thriller with the tiniest wedge of politics - like the onion in an ice-cold Gibson. I assume this is a first novel, because I enjoyed it so much that I immediately looked for additional work from Suarez and couldn't find any. Get on it Daniel, I want more!
The first thing you need to know is that this isn't a novel, it's the second half of a novel, of which "Pandora's Star" is the first half. If you haven't read or listened to "Pandora's Star", go do that first.
If you are an avid sci-fi reader, e.g., you could stand "Dune", you'll probably like this. If not, you won't even start it, because you couldn't get through "Pandora's Star". You did go read that first, right? It has more characters than "War and Peace", more twists and turns than a speed freak's line drawings, more sub-plots than a soap opera, and more false endings than a Spielberg movie.
As to the narration: in general, I find John Lee OK, I've listened to a number of books read by him, but he's not the best choice for this book because he really makes very little effort to distinguish different characters using different voice shadings. Unfortunately, someone made the weird production choice to provide no hint of a scene shift. The pauses between scenes are no longer than the pauses between sentences, so I frequently found myself saying "Wait, where did that come from?" and needing to replay a few minutes - even then the scene and character shifts weren't so easy to discern.
I give it two stars because I did manage to make it to the end of the combined book, but no more Peter F. Hamilton for me.
One of the other reviewers says "This is a wonderful adaptation from a great film." There's an excellent reason for that, even though the film was made eleven years after the novel was published: If you've seen the movie, it will play in your head as you listen. The actors and director must have read the book to the point of memorization. For example, all of Bogie's gestures and facial expressions are described almost cinematically in the novel. The same can be said of Lorre, Greenstreet and Astor. It is, of course, THE landmark in the genre. Every detective novel in the past eighty years has been influenced by this book. It is well worth a listen.
If you can buy a character who's an ex mob hit man, witness protection program member, Hospital Physician whose grandparents were murdered for reasons that go back to Nazi Germany (and Bazell makes that a surprisingly easy buy) this book is wildly entertaining. The characters, plotting, details, language and descriptions are masterful.
I found this flat compared to "The Lincoln Lawyer", Micky Haller seemed really fresh and believable in that novel, but the back story here of him recovering from an addiction is a real drag on the character's charm. The relationships with his ex-wives also lack the wit and sparkle I expected. It is well plotted but has a "phoned in" quality.
The book is good though not wholly believable, but what a narrator! I'd listen to this guy read the Joy of Cooking.
A charming lollipop of a mystery novel with a really bitter seed of nastiness at its center.
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