This is the third Kurt Wallander novel by author Henning Mankell I've read, but the first in the prolific series. The first one I read was the White Lioness, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Shortly before this one, I read One Step Behind. Sadly, neither that one, nor Faceless Killers lived up to the standard set in White Lioness.
Wallander is as improbable a hero in modern crime fiction as you are liable to find. Fraught with self-doubt and an almost unerring instinct for self-sabotage, Wallander fumbles through this story before solving the brutal murder of an elderly couple with little more than blind luck. Strangely for a police officer, Wallander is as likely to forget his gun as he is to remember to carry it and is cursed with physical clumsiness that by all reason should get him killed. He is often taken by surprise in situations where he should be on heightened alert.
Estranged from both his daughter and his wife, Wallander spends much of the book indulging in self-pity. He drinks too much, talks too much and shows an uncanny knack for saying and doing the wrong thing. The author spends too much time letting us get to know the book's protagonist creating a distraction from a compelling plot.
Narrator Dick Hill is not one of my favorites, sometimes sounding more like a radio announcer than a storyteller. His portrayal of woman characters often makes them sound weak and wish-washy.
All of that said, the series appears to be very popular and has been made into a BBC TV series and at least one movie. But, I doubt I'll read another one.
I have been a big fan of the Reacher series since the first book. And I have enjoyed some of them more than others. This one, not so much. The plot is formulaic: Somebody wants to do something bad. Reacher is pulled into the dastardly plot. Beats up bad guys. Game over.
In some of the more recent books, we have gotten to know a little more about Reacher, why he is the way he is. We’ve gotten to see him evolve emotionally without losing his badass status. This time Reacher is one dimensional. More machine than man. Nobody home.
That doesn’t bode well for the series. If the lead character doesn’t evolve, doesn’t grow, then our hero is just running in place. My hope is that Lee Child will take that to heart or write one more book to retire the series with dignity. Reacher deserves that.
As for Dick Hill, I’ve complained about his narration before. As another reviewer noted, his portrayal of Reacher is “snarky.” He has a way of making every character sound really ticked off –all the time. And he makes the women sound whiny and weak, even when they are really ticked off. He also has quite possibly the worst French accent I have ever heard. Maybe Scott Brick for the next one?
Overwrought dialogue. Couldn't get through the first hour. The opening was confusing, but not compelling enough to make me want to stick with the story.
I found Dan Brown’s latest conspiracy thriller to about average as these types of novels go. It’s almost as if Dan Brown, like so many other authors is imitating, well, Dan Brown. As other reviewers have noted, it follows the Brown formula, which includes:
• A deadly conspiracy
• A clandestine organization
• A powerful agency
• An intelligent young woman
• Clues buried in art, religion, or in this case the book A Divine Comedy, Dante’s horrifying portrayal of Hell, about which our hero Robert Langdon just happens to be an expert. In Brown’s last novel, The Lost Symbol, Langdon was an expert on the Masons.
• A ticking clock
Brown does a good job of keeping up the suspense, but because of the formula it felt to me like I had already read this book, and I correctly guessed its ending. In general it’s an entertaining read, but don’t expect another Da Vinci code.
. . you got it right?
Would you? Get it right I mean. Most, if not all, of us look back on events in our lives and wish would have done at least one thing differently. With that comes the assumption that we would have made a better choice, even without knowing then what we know now. But, would we? For each decision we make, some in the shadow of a heartbeat, sets into motion a chain of events, and we can never be sure where they will end. Do we really choose our own destiny, or does our destiny choose us?
Author Kate Atkinson’s newest novel asks that very question. For Ursula Todd, dying at birth only to be reborn and instant later, beginning a pattern that would repeat throughout her life, the links of the chain break again and again only to rejoin in a different place with a new truth. In her different incarnations, we don’t know if we pity poor Ursula or find her deserving of the various travails she encounters as much for the choices she doesn’t make as for the ones she does. Equally as compelling is the character of Ursula’s mother, Silvie, whose own evolution is both perplexing and disturbing.
Atkinson’s prose and gift for imagery is exceptional. If you haven’t read any of her other books (and you certainly should!), this book brings to mind the novels of Kate Morton, weaving together the past – in this case many pasts -and present to a surprising conclusion. It does require focus to keep track of the many threads weaving together at one end and unraveling at the other, but it’s more than worth it.
Abby Cooper is a psychic with a knack for accidently stumbling into criminal investigations with the local police department. This is the second book in the series and second one I've read.
It's been a while since I read the first book and I decided to give this one try. Now I remember why I didn't immediately reach for the second one in the series after finishing the first. Here it is: I don't like Abby Cooper. If I had known her in real life, I would have run like a deer from her. She's selfish, whiny and not terribly bright. For someone who refers to herself as an "intuitive" she uses astonishingly bad judgment in her own affairs. It's too bad too, because the plots are interesting and the author does a good job of ratcheting up the suspense. But, as Abby runs headlong into danger without looking both ways, I find myself wishing that someone would kill her. At a minimum, I amazed that no one has.
While the narrator does an adequate job, her voice doesn't match the young, immature Abby Cooper. In any case, the is the last book in the series I will read.
Dulcie O'Neil is an idiot. For some reason this particular genre has a common type: stubborn, impulsive, overly emotional, with very poor judgment, and Dulcie just may be its poster child. She acts first and thinks later, ignoring both very good advice and flashing neon signs reading "Don't go in there!" The question isn't so much "how is she ever going to get out of this one," it's "how did she ever get herself into this one." And, that's just her professional side. She comes with as much emotional baggage as dysfunctional family of four. But, she is also highly principled and fiercely loyal to those she cares about. When she puts her own life on the line, it's to help and protect others.
The plots and other characters are interesting and, when Dulcie isn’t getting in her own way, there’s enough suspense to keep the reader engaged. By the third book, Great Hexpectations, it appears our little girl may be growing up. The narrator, Therese Plummer is very good and does a great job of bring all the characters to life.
All and all, I do recommend the series if you don’t mind periodically rolling your eyes and thinking, “For God’s sake, Dulcie, grow up!”
This is fun book from the "Paranormal Cozies" category. Olivia is a newly discovered "Magical," a person with some magical powers. But, it turns that she is much more powerful than most, and some malevolent force wants her power at any cost.
Like many heroines of this genre, Olivia is impulsive, none to bright, and stubbornly convinced that she "can take care of myself!" despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. She also is maddeningly blind to clues dancing in front of her like small children begging for attention. The reader will likely arrive at the "Ah Ha" moment long before Olivia does. Still this promises to be fun series, especially if the books continue to be narrated by the wonderful Amanda Ronconi. That woman could read from the phone book and make it sound interesting. I look forward to the next book.
Full disclosure: I didn't finish it. I listened to this on a long road trip. After seven hours, I just gave up.
The plot sounded so intriguing. Bringing together all those historical characters to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper seemed like a "can't fail" idea. But long, tortuous passages whereupon the protagonist, an upper class British gentleman, carries on and on about his obsession with a common street prostitute, nearly put me to sleep at the wheel waiting for something to happen. Occasionally, something interesting does happen, but just when you think the plot may be thickening, the pitiful angst resumes. Sadly, the writing is very good and the narrator does and excellent job, but the pace of the story is like watching paint dry. I have no idea how it all turned out, but I just couldn't bring myself to care.
This is a fun Victorian mystery, or what was called in the day a "sensation" novel. But what really makes the book is the narration by Juliet Stevenson. She has so many voices, you would swear there is a whole cast of actors narrating the book! I hope she does many more.
Juliet Stevenson's narration of Jane Austen is pitch-perfect! She captures the spirit of prose and voices of the character's flawlessly. The only one of Austen's books not available with her narration is Pride and Prejudice. They need to fix that.
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