I am a huge fan of the character Jack Reacher, but the books can be a hit or miss. Lee Child tends to walk a tightrope of "plausible" vs. "everyone but Jack is a drooling idiot." He didn't do so well in the first book, did very well in the second two and then tipped off the later edge into abject crap in this one. Seriously, the FBI are a bunch of lying, rights-violating, vicious morons. Jack is kind of being an ass himself and the story is painfully lackluster. I had to force myself to finish it, because I paid for it, but I am going to be very selective about reading all reviews and not reading the JR series in order anymore - rather reading the books where people aren't suffering from the same "this is so stupid" eye rolling headaches I did during this book.
I struggled with writing a review for this one. There are many things I liked. The lead female character was sarcastic, witty, entertaining, and a stronger female. The lead male had some surprising moments of depth and clarity. The support characters were affable and the banter was enjoyable. I spent most of the time listening with a smile on my face and periodic spurts of laughter, and the narrator was fantastic!
The story was so so. Cliche and predictable, taking hours to accomplish little, but still moved at a pace that you enjoyed and had you invested enough to listen to see what happened next.
The sex scenes were where the author lost me. Please note, I am an avid GLBT affirming ally, and I am a big fan of sexual expression and freedom, but - for me- this book went too far. It had very crude language "c*ck, cum, f*ck" all the time, anal sex, gay sex, voyeurism (watching others having hetero sex, gay sex and orgies), menage a trois... You name it from the penthouse secrets style books, its in there. I got sensory overload in a bad way and started forwarding through the scenes. This is not to say its true for everyone, but it was too much for me. To the point where I won't be downloading the second book in the series, even though I liked the characters.
This book is unique. It has a classic literary etiquette reminiscent of Austen and Bronte, yet it is a story steeped in realism. A gothic story, macabre and revealing of the human spirit - yet remarkably redemptive in a strange way, of the normalcy of grief and living with it. The performance was the best of any I have listened to through Audible. It is worth listening to this book, and yet I will buy a paper copy as well. Somehow I need to read it again. For "Silence is not a natural environment for stories. They need words. Without them they grow pale, sicken and die. And then they haunt you." (From the book).
I really enjoyed this audiobook. It was a fantastic mix of mystery, macabre and the constant suggestion of supernatural vs natural forces on the human mind. I thought the author did a beautiful job with character development, and I remained engaged with most of the characters, enjoying the occasional moral ambiguity or questioning of my loyalties. The end however was an epic disappointment. I almost wish I could go back and not listen to the last 30 minutes and make up my own. I can't downgrade a whole book based on a small portion, but really the ending...was remarkably unfulfilling.
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