The ending came completely out of the blue and, although it was, for lack of a better word, macabre, it lacked any punch whatsoever. It was simply too strange and too tenuously connected to the main body of the story to have the desired, spine-chilling effect. Additionally, either Audible or the publisher made a major editing error, namely, by repeating verbatim the section entitled 1982. I verified this by checking the ebook version. All in all, this is not worth the money and certainly not worth a credit.
Yes. I liked both Black House and the Talisman, Straub's collaborations with Stephen King, and I have read, though not listened to, Floating Dragon, which I also liked. Straub is one of those authors who can tell a very good, rich story, when he wants to, but he also seems to be a bit too enamored with his own talent at times and to pitch his writing more toward the professional literary critic crowd rather than the intelligent reader of good fiction who nevertheless doesn't feel the need to untangle an extremely intricate plot while reading a good book for fun.
He didn't do a particularly great job with Sandrine's voice, and his presentation made both characters come across as relatively pretentious, which, perhaps, was acurate.
I know Straub is capable of doing much better than this, and, of course, there is absolutely no excuse for the massive editing error mentioned above.
Steer clear of this one. Buy the ebook, if you really want to read it.
I generally like Straub's work, although he has been known to lard on the back story far more than necessary. As some of the other reviewers have already pointed out, Straub does this in Koko as well, though I found the back story itself, much of which consists of flashbacks to the experiences of various characters in Vietnam, to be interesting in its own right. I did not find these flashbacks hard to follow, though I could see how some readers might. However, I hit the point about a third or so into the book when I started wondering whether there would ever be anything resembling suspense in it. There is some suspense, especially toward the end of the book, but Straub has done far better both by himself (Floating Dragon, for instance) and in collaboration with Stephen King. The narrator was solid, but he lacked gravitas, and his emphasis in reading certain sentenses simply did not fit the context very well. All in all, I would recommend this book with some reservations to those who can listen at double speed or faster, so that the first seven or so hours take closer to four.
The Shining starts off somewhat more slowly than many of King's other works, but it is more than worth pushing through the initial chapters to get to the meat of the plot, which revolves around the growing sense of dread and ultimately much worse visited upon the Torrance family by certain not very nice spirits inhabiting the Overlook Hotel, an isolated playground for the rich and aimless in the Colorado Rockies, where Jack Torrance, the father, is hired to serve as winter caretaker. Although there are some heart-pounding horror story moments, the reason this book shines, as it were, is the depth of the characters and their attempt to make the best of an increasingly gloomy and ultimately perilous situation. Few writers can do character development in the midst of a story featuring the supernatural as well as King can, and even fewer can make a five-year-old kid one of the heroes of a novel without coming across as overly sentimental and fluffy. Scott does a solid job narrating this book, although some of his regional accents were less than convincing.
Dick Hill is a solid, though not spectacular, narrator, but the story grabs you right away and keeps pulling you along as if you were holding onto a runaway train for dear life. Although Reacher is widely seen as primarily an action hero who beats down every bad guy he finds--and indeed he does a good job of doing this when he needs to--his attractiveness as a character comes from a combination of this tough-guy exterior with a very sharp, analytical mind that can crack difficult cases. He is not simply a muscle-bound avenger, and if Child wanted to, he could easily write several more Reacher books as compelling as the first 18.
The book begins with Reacher taking down a couple thugs supposedly sent to run him off by certain, at this point unknown, figures in the military, and it just gets better from there. I would, however, recommend reading some of the prior Reacher books before this one to get a sense of his character and background, but if you haven't, then this book will stil be a fun thrill ride.
He did all the characters and accents reasonably well, and his pacing matched that of the plot.
Reacher books aren't particularly moving in an emotional sense. They're just fun.
This book is well worth a credit, but to be honest, you may as well buy it in print, if you don't have the credits to spend on it.
Yes, without any reservations. If you like dark, although by no means unrelentingly dark, fiction with vivid, truly lifelike characters, a classic clash between good and evil, albeit with some nuances, a lot of death and destruction, and some, but not a ridiculous amount, of supernatural activity, then you will love this book. The narration was solid without being truly great, but the narrator did not detract from the story and did some, though not all, of the regional accents quite well.
There was a memorable moment in virtually every listening hour of this book. For whatever reason, I found the appearance of a character called the Trashcan Man to be particularly memorable. He was, at once, a destructive, nihilistic figure, but to call him evil would be an oversimplification. He did not so much want to hurt people as simply to watch things burn and explode, and he had a compelling psychological back story.
Gardner did the best job with the New England accents, so probably Fran's father.
Yes, several moments, especially toward the end. I will not discuss them to avoid spoiling the plot, but I will say that this book touches upon a wide range of facets of the human condition, everything from small-minded bigotry and viciousness to the insecurities of unpopular teenagers to the struggle to love and serve an often harsh and inscrutible god.
I am a Stephen King fan, but even if you don't care for the horror genre or all the childish fantasy nonsense on the market these days, this is a truly worthwhile listen.
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