I have enjoyed C.J. Box over the years, and this is an excellent example of the storytelling. The character is flawed but entirely moral. Some of his decisions get him embroiled in trouble, but he is so real. His relationships with coworkers, wife, daughter, and friends, move the plot along and keep the reader engrossed. His frustrations with those in power and their inability to act logically are mirrored in all our lives.
He adds the Western locale and the politics of the lone man that I don't usually agree with or think about, but in this context the politics are powerful and moving. It's man against nature, and it's about men trying to do right when all around them men are following rules that don't make sense and abusing power without thought for how their actions affect others or worse, abusing power with deliberate malice.
A good story is in the details. This one seems like a plot outline that got turned over to an aide who didn't know how to flesh it out. The characters are one dimensional. One main character is supposed to be an enigma, but we don't get enough info to form an opinion, so by the time we figure out that she's good/bad, we no longer care because we've formed erroneous opinions based on incomplete and weak info. Characters are often defined by a pithy phrase: he had a photographic memory. That works for a character who only shows up every 50 pgs, so the reader can identify him; but to use the phrase over and over for a main character is annoying, especially since a good writer would show rather than tell.
Plot is okay, but has major flaws: the main character needs a clue, so he enters another character's office, sees a photo, and infers a clue. A couple chapters later he needs another clue, and sees a photo on another character's mantle, and luckily infers a clue. This photo/clue thing occurs at least 3 times. Weak.
The writer tells rather than demonstrating: he is a really good shot, she is an olympic shot, etc. It's particularly annoying when one of them gets shot, because she's not such a good shot.
It's strength is in the plot, but not wonderful.
I've enjoyed David Baldacci very much in the past, so much so, that I wonder what occurred here.
This is much like other assassin books. The first half has a series of assassinations, all very exciting, but they require the reader to trust that they will make sense later on. I'm willing to wait, not for nearly half the book. The second half explains and continues the incredible level of killing. There is some morality to the killing: no children or civilian women. An entire crew of Israeli assassins are killed when it would seem talk and discussion could solve the problem. It really perpetuates the concept that misguided persons in govt. and intelligence should just be shot instead of trying to negotiate. It's so much like what's wrong with the world. The logic behind the action is not good enough, nor deeply thought out.
But if you are looking for a shoot them up, it's well done.
I enjoyed the main character, but the basic premise is not believable. Characters do not do what they should, which is setting up for a twist ending, but the ending makes no sense in the real world. Characters walk down dark alleys where similar characters were murdered the night before, return to homes where they have been previously attacked, etc. If I were to take on a disguise in a city and world in search of terrorists, and I was blond and blue eyed, I wouldn't disguise myself as an Arab or Pakistani. Details like these make it hard to keep going. The final premise that we, as Americans get to do very bad things to the Arab world because we get financial gain, and besides they are the faceless enemy, just promotes a world concept that is black and white and will never know peace.
After 2 1/2 hrs of listening, I gave up. There was a a murder in the opening scene. Then characters were described, new ones introduced, setting established, etc. But nothing happpened, and the main character was annoyingly insensive to others and obssessed with politics. It was taking too long to get to the story and the mystery.
Great writing. Great job of presenting setting and comments on humanity, characters and motivation. Nice job of presenting the nuances of alcohol addiction. There were clues presented early, like a character swallowing a wedding ring, that weren't followed up. It left me wondering why such a great detective let clues slip. He knew the DNA of a murder victim but didn't use the info to connect to the murderer and continued to act surprised that the victim wasn't related to other suspects. Despite what were probably editing/proofreading flaws, the writing is so good, that other things can be forgiven.
What ever happened to the days of editors who actually read the book and sent it back to the author?
I couldn't stop listening, and I was engaged trying to figure out just where this was going. I have to admit that with this novel and The Accident, I had a hard time getting into the first hour, but once I'd stepped into the story, I was trapped in Barclay's world. The main character does not do the expected, and the second main character Thomas is totally different from any other character I've seen. Thomas hears voices and is unreliable; at the same time he is emotionally childlike and pure, so he relates plot events that are totally reliable. The main character tries hard not to get frustrated with Thomas, and as a result pursues situations and bad guys that no sane person would. Of course he doesn't realize the troubles that will ensue. The action is riveting. The bad guys are maybe a little extreme, but the contrast between good and evil here makes for great fun. The use of 2 readers makes listening easier, and the narration is wonderful.
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