I got a kick out of this book. The author has a great sense of humor and the reader read the lead character with bravado and pizazz. The plot is timely and it was nice to get some perspective on European (French) politics and what it's like in Paris.
It's a fast paced book and read at a fast pace, so things move quickly and it's easy to get a little lost in the plot, but it all comes together in the end.
The book is what it is, mind candy, so don't expect any real depth or insight into Al-Qaida, just a fun spy novel with likable unidimensional characters, a romance, and plenty of action.
I really can't emphasize enough how bad this novel is. I had to stop listening after just a few chapters (which seem to be randomly split for no apparent reason) even though I was really trying to find some redeeming reason to continue on. The plot is laughable (out loud laughable), with every bad spy novel cliche included. It’s all, good guys this, and bad guys that. The narration is terrible, replete with bad accents and a kind of 50's style commercial read quality. And then, after all that, the author clearly reveals that he has bought, hook, line and sinker, the right wing Dick Cheney screed that torture is justified and the only way that “real men” can extract information (which has been handily disproved by the recent book by Ali Soufan, The Black Banners. BTW) Don’t get me wrong, I love a good simplistic patriotic thriller that gets you riled up about the greatness of our team, but this was so ridiculous and heavy handed that I started thinking that apparently anyone with a laptop and a vague plot can write a book. Not a good book, just a book.
I was so looking forward to this book based on the ratings and a couple glowing reviews. I enjoy post-apocalyptic scenarios and was hoping this would be a great one. Then... Newt Gingrich gives the foreword trying to compare this author's effort to HG Wells and George Orwell masterpieces. Right. Forstchen, after further research, is a Civil War buff and seems to be stuck on some idyllic notion of what "America" means or should mean, and presents us with a cast of Mayberry types that are absolute comical characterizations of what it means to be a "real man" and "real woman."
The male characters are sexist, simple minded, shallow and hypocritical. They say things like "This is still America" about a hundred times, and apparently are all ex-smokers, ex-military Scotch drinkers, just waiting for an excuse to start up again. The women are sex objects, with nursing skills of course, and would be "insulted" if they didn't catch a man subtly staring at their chest. The kernel of truth that threads the story together, regarding the break down of a civilization after an EMP burst, is barely enough to keep the iPod running. In fact, I was hoping for one so that it would stop. Andy Griffith, I mean "the Colonel", is the protagonist and prototypical reluctant leader, but ready to "do the right thing" and blow away a miscreant at a moment's notice. OK, OK, I'm just going to stop now. I could go on and on about how bad this book is, but won't bore you any further. Just don't buy the hype, unless you fancy yourself a good ol' boy.
OK, I wasn't expecting much from Strieber, so I can't say I was disappointed. He is good at conceptualizing stories, but the writing falls short. Sometimes, laugh out loud short. I really wanted to like this book, being a fan of doomsday scenarios, but the action sequences were often poorly put together and implausible. Anyway, I got through it, and it's interesting enough to anticipate the listen.
I love the Mitch Rapp series and immediately downloaded Extreme Measures when it was released. His book, Consent to Kill, was great and I really liked the character development and story line. However, as much I tried to like EM, it felt rushed, shallow and preachy. Mr. Flynn was obviously trying to convey the necessity of getting tough with suspected terrorists, and his disdain for bureaucratic and political impediments. That’s all good, but his characters were more like caricatures and too one dimensional to be believable.
I got very frustrated with the whining of the central male characters. They were overemotional and so introspective that I stopped believing they were battle hardened pros. Rapp and Nash are made out to be a near super human, calculating, professional killers, but in this book they both acted like rebellious teenagers yelling at their parents. It got old.
Last thing, I got the sense that Flynn cut out a major sub plot at the end regarding a character that had been building up. So, for me, the ending felt a little too unresolved for the book to stand on it’s own.
Burke's powerful descriptive prose matched with Patton's effortless and breezy 'sippi drawl makes this one of the best listens in a long long time. The plot line is solid, and the relationships developed and examined are what make Burke's novels so beautifully rendered. They are like philosophical visual poetry carefully pieced together with scenes of good vs evil, enlightenment, damnation and redemption.
The words and imagery resonate long after the iPod is turned off.
If you are bright, and you don't listen to this book, then you are not too bright. If you are dim and you listen to this book and you like it, then you are probably not that dim. If you are dim and you don't like it, then you are definitely not bright. If you are dim and you don't listen to this book, then you were likely never bright, and you shouldn't listen to this book. In fact, for you, there is no book. This never happened. Go back to sleep.
An absolute joy to listen too! Clever to the Nth degree, and completely relevant today as it ever was.
Note: Not for the dim and/or humorless
Both well written and read, this atypical spy thriller brings us peripherally into the Comanche and Apache Indian religious world. Stone's writing is vivid with descriptive details and well thought out, at times so much so you may feel a little queasy in the graphic sections. Some of the more colorful characters' metaphors will force an out loud laugh. The character of Micah is an antihero, and doesn't fit the usual CIA profile, mysterious enough to keep you guessing, competent enough to give you confidence that he will come out on top.
I look forward to Stone's next ride.
Having listened to a couple real disappointments recently, The Ruins and Echo Park, my faith in the action/thriller genre has been restored. Demille's writing style is crisp and tight, even if a little sparse in description, and utlimately engaging. The humor of the main character, John Corey, with his spot on timing and irreverent style matches my own acerbic wit, so I personally found him hilarious at times. And, like anyone trying to quip in every situation, he realistically doesn’t always hit the mark, which to me just enriches the suspension of disbelief.
All in all, a compelling story line, a little cartoonish in the action sequences but a good ride. Enjoy.
I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews but I felt compelled to give back some of the time lost on this novel to anyone that might be prevented from reading this. When I was listening to this book, the running commentary in my mind was, “Is this all it takes to get a book out there?” I mean, the characters were two dimensional and unimaginative caricatures of themselves, the plot was mind blowingly simple, most of the twists were just dumb and unbelievable, the dialogue stiff and comic book like, and the whole thing felt ‘cookie cutter.’ The reader was just terrible, monotone and lumpy in his cadence, like he was driving from period to period in stop and go traffic.
In one way it was kind of encouraging, that if you can get one or two decent books out on the market, you can coast on your laurels for awhile and make a pretty good living by writing a lame series. People seem to like it, so who am I to say it’s lame. Sorry Michael, but enough is enough already.
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