It failed my test for novels, especially murder mysteries, namely that it keep me curious and the characters have to seem real enough that I care what happens to them. Also the reviews kept talking about atmosphere--well the author kept talking about atmosphere too but Rebecca this is not.
There was never much question about the story-- you knew who did it and why and the big political behind-the-scenes stuff was right out in full view and the only real mystery was why the main character was so excited about her child's father's wedding to someone else. Maybe it was explained and I missed it. My mind wandered a lot.
The most annoying thing was the reader. Not always, but often she made this little gasp just before starting a sentence. You'd think the sound engineer could have caught it. It's the kind of thing that really grates on the nerves after about the 40th pre-sentence gasp.
This was pretty expensive. I was disappointed.
The trouble with an audiobook is you can't look in the back and see what the documentation was on, say, the ugly nun who was spirited away from a convent by mistake. It sounds like some rowdy bar story to me. He clearly lived a larger life than most of us but I lost my confidence in Byron's perspective, especially after the blithe remark at the start of the book about women not having the mental capacity to be explorers.
Listening to this audiobook felt way too much like work. Maybe, as was suggested in another review, it was better as an actual book where your eyes could skim over all the lists and cc addressees. Although the plot was kind of a tedious after awhile, the writing itself was snappy and smart--I may have another run at it later.
Somerset Maugham is by far my favorite story teller. His stories are masterpieces of constuction--it's no wonder so many were successfully made and remade as plays and movies. He traveled the world at the height of the British Empire, when it was still mysterious and each country had a distinct atmosphere not yet overrun with tourists and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. His longer books tend to get bogged down in philosophy but the short stories I can read again and again.
My only complaint is the narrator. He was fine with male voices but when he is speaking for women he sounds like a schoolyard bully mimicking the new girl -- the same exagerated nasally whine for all the women characters, from glamourous femme fatales to cackling old crones. But if you can tune that out I recommend it highly.
The wrong narrator could really sink this one - Cynthia Nixon makes her lovable and not whiny or scary. Like any comedic piece, especially one originally written in installments, it should be listened to as it was meant: one episode at a time. Otherwise it gets pretty wearing and predictable. Taken in small doses, the inevitable format is part of the fun.
Now you have broken my heart. First the gutting of The House on The Strand and now turning The Go-Between,one of my all-time favorite books, into a radio play. Why would you do this? These are beautifully written books! I've been waiting for The Go-Between to come out in audio form for as long as I've known about audio rentals. I loved the movie, got curious about the book--loved the book. I was so excited when I finally found it on Audible. I even had one credit left to use which was good becauseThe Go-Between was expensive. Like The House on The Strand, the plot is good but it's the atmosphere created by the writing that makes it so memorable. When I think of all the crappy books there are available in all their spendor with every word intact and sometimes even an interview with the writer at the end and here are these two great books just hacked to bits... I love Audible, I am always impressed with the wide and up-to-date selection. This is my first scolding letter but as I say, I was so excited about having these books on audio--it was really a blow when they turned out not to be what they were supposed to be.
Rebecca is Daphne Du Maurier's masterpiece but this is one of those little gems you dig in an author's back catologue hoping to find. You would expect a book from the '60's about acid trips and time travel to be goofy and dated but D. Du M brings to it the atmosphere and sense of longing all her books have. Instead of Manderley, it is 14th century Cornwall the main character is helplessly drawn to, and the reader gets pulled in as well. Reading at it's best can be a form of time-travel itself if you think about it. However-- whoever decided to abridge this audiobook should be drawn and quartered. It took all the magic out so it was just flat and confusing. Based on this version, I would never have picked this title as one of my favorite books. I agree with the first reviewer: "Wait for the unabridged version!"
I got about mid-way through the book and I, a mild-mannered former high-school introvert, wanted to give this guy a swirly. What a drip!
Karin Slaughter's stories always draw me in. She's like a mean friend, always luring you into adventures and even though you get tired and the endings are downright nasty, you stay to the end and look forward, guardedly, to the next.
This one is a classic example. The surprises are part of the fun so I won't reveal the story. Had it been longer or more expensive I might not give as favorable a review but as it is-- I enjoyed it.
Charles Paris is my absolute favorite mystery series character. I love all the theatre lore and those wonderfully painful "reviews" inserted whenever one of his performances is mentioned. The characters are recognizable and funny without being characatures or even unsympathetic. There is lots of sly humor but also pathos.
I wish Audible had more of the Charles Paris series. I understand Simon Brett narrated one himself. I enjoy Geoffrey Howard’s narration-- he sounds like Charles Paris-- a seasoned performer who knows his way around all the various accents and personalities.
But why, oh why did they unleash Frederick Davidson on so many of his audiobooks? Am I the only person that thinks he turns every character from Lord Peter Whimsey to Bertie Wooster and God knows who else into a smoke-gasping drag queen? Nothing against drag queens but his manner of speaking is so severe and affected it overwhelms any characterization this side of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and adds a dimension to these beloved old friends I just can't get used to.
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