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.
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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