I have come around to being a fan of the Reacher novels, but began by reading the collaborative series by Lincoln and Child. I decided if I liked those so much, I should like Child by himself. I didn't find Reacher as multidimensional as Pendergast or one of the other collaborative protagonist, but he grew on me. I have come to enjoy them very much as I have come to learn more about Reacher, but I don't think this narrator does him justice. He gives a kind of lifeless reading.
In getting to know Reacher from all the novels, it is made quite apparent that he is at least 6'5"tall, weighs about 225 lbs, and has blonde hair and blue eyes. This is made clear in every book. His history tells how he was always the giant in school. This begs the question of how in the world could the author have allowed Tom Cruise (short, dark and lightweight-- the antithesis of Reacher) to play Reacher in the upcoming film? It will definitely ruin the film for anyone who has followed the novels and has a solid mental picture of him.
Although I find the protagonist in the few of these books I have read quite charming, this particular reading is thronged with beyond tedious courtroom questions, procedures, identifications, etc. I found that when my mind drifted out of boredom, it really made no difference to where I was in the story. The main character is complex, yet very well developed and the reader is given entree to his inner persona. Were the story more interesting, it would have been a great read.
The book's name is a double-entendre, and it is a fascinating evolution of a boy from childhood trauma to young adult. He cannot speak as a result of the horrible trauma, yet eloquently narrates his thoughts as though they were his articulate speech. When you finally learn of the trauma sustained, the irony of what he does and why he doesn't speak is all the more ironic. It is an absolutely fascinating listen that I would not have experienced had it not been a "bargain" book. I now would suggest that you willingly give up a credit for this intriguing personal and "professional" study of this lock artist.
For a non-Greek, the names, nicknames and random and constant references to Greek tragedies, this book is more difficult to follow. Especially the female character whose odd name sounds like another English word, and the two were used in way too many sentences together, putting a listener at a disadvantage. It seemed to be an allegory for a Greek tragedy, and not the Turow I expected. It is not the mystery I thought I would get from this master.
Although I love the litany of Florida trivia and views of the slimy political underside of the state, this was more a ho-hum history lesson without any of the absurd Serge antics I love in Dorsey's novels. It was an unmemorable read, other than some of the factoids that really are wonderful.
I was prepared to consider this book "filler" until I got more credits. I didn't expect to like it. However, I became totally engrossed in part 1 and almost wrote a review at that point stating how really interesting the plot evolution was.
Then came part 2, and the (SPOILER ALERT!) evil flying squid-whales in a false universe (a la Matrix) stretched my interest a bit far. At this point, I was just marking time for it to come to its predictable conclusion. It's not that I don't love Matrix-like plots, but this got a bit ridiculous, especially with all the Scooby Do references.
All in all, though, I think it an acceptable read (I would probably stop at the end of part 1), especially if you don't spend a credit on it. The author can build a plot, and he just needs to restrain the urge to leap into never never land.
It is hard to imagine the team of Nelson DeMille and narrator Scott Brick doing anything but the best. This was really no exception, in spite of the fact that it was really a rehash of a much, much earlier work. The plot was unremarkable, the search for the holy grail, and some of the characters were stereotypical, but the trademark wise-cracking protagonist, as brilliantly portrayed by Brick, made it all worthwhile. The ending was a bit cobbled; but, again, it is DeMille, who is a master. Evidently he required the addition of love scenes for the republication, and these were quirky and not entirely believable. However, it does, in general work, and is a satisfying read, with special insight into the terrible wages of war.
Having read everything "Papa" ever wrote and studied his troubled genius in school, I was unprepared for this "back story" and candid look into his motivations, beginnings, way he ended up in Paris, and meaning behind his final masterpiece "A Movable Feast". Even though fiction, the perspective of these from his first and seemingly only real love tells more about the man than he may ever have even known. A captivating read, strangely full of surprises and insights.
I have come to adore all the Gamache books, but normally think of them as a soothing, lulling, solving of Christie-type small town armchair mysteries. This book was a marked departure, in that it allowed glimpses into Gamache's normally erudite and guarded countenance to show some raw emotion. And, although the mysteries are always quite good and matter of fact, this one ramped up to raging suspense. It was actually gripping! That is something I would never have described as the mood of the previous books. This book also ties up a lot of loose ends that niggled at Penny's loyal readers. I have immensely enjoyed all the Three Pines books, and found them intellectually stimulating, while still relaxing. This, however, was different--more forceful, more action on the part of all characters, but still maintaining the elegant demeanor expected of the Cambridge-educated Gamache.
One of the most startling facts you don't discover until the author's interview with the narrator at the end, is that Cosham, who is the perfect embodiment of Gamache, never reads the book before narrating it! He doesn't know what will happen, and "discovers" the characters and plot with the listeners! This amazed me, and made me appreciate his characterization more than ever.
I hope Penny continues to provide us with the wonderful little Three Pines mysteries.
As a former resident of Tampa, and aware of all the crime, reputation, boundary "wars", and perverse reputation for strip clubs and citizen-funded stadiums, this book had me hooting! At best, Tampa is weird with a history of corrupt politics and bizarre planning. At worst, it was a haven for car-jackings, real estate scams, and home invasions. All this was coupled with the pseudo society perched on Bayshore Blvd., which did, indeed flood at the slightest rain. The car dealers are accurately portrayed, as would be the impossible plight of a transplanted mid-westerner. Perfect!
But fortunately there is the well-versed Serge, with his own strict and twisted code of honor. It is impossible not to learn a lot of Florida's checkered history when reading one of these books--a truly fascinating aspect to the read.
Dorsey is a Tampa resident who has an incredibly deft and humorous way of depicting the city's foibles, and those of its often misguided residents. This is one of the more hilarious of the Serge books, as it seems a bit closer to reality--bizarre as it seems. (The editor does need to make sure the narrator (not my favorite) knows the pronunciations of landmarks. The Don Caesar Hotel is a historical tradition, and not pronounced like "Caesar" in "Julius Caesar", but always pronounced "say-zar", with the emphasis on the "zar".)
Hilarious book for anyone!
I was so excited to find another "Good Thief's Guide", as they are always a delight. As always, the narration was flawless, entertaining, and spot-on. The story was a bit convoluted, but a typical inadvertent misadventure for our honorable thief.
The end made me back up the iPod to see if something was skipped--it wasn't! About all that it accomplishes is letting the reader know that there has to be another book. Just because this sort of non-ending worked for the Sopranos, doesn't make it a satisfying way to end a book.
Nonetheless, I'm a Ewan devotee, and will read anything he writes, as long as Vance narrates. Pure excellence!
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