I have become a devotee of these lullingly fascinating mysteries which are about as close to Christie as I have been able to get. Serenity and gentility pervade the stories, and you are drawn into the ideal armchair mystery puzzle. This book, in particular, allows unusual slippage of the masks of prominent characters, including Gamache and the inscrutable Ruth. In my unfortunate fashion of reading series backwards, with most recent first, then the previous, I have knowledge of the outcomes of many of the characters. However, in this book, Gamache, Ruth Zardo and even John Guy Bovoire reveal different and deeper aspects of their inner selves not seen in subsequent books. In fact; some of this book's revelations seem at odds with the newest stories. However, it all makes the Camelot of Three Pines and its inhabitants all the more interesting.
Penny observes the rule of honor for mysteries Christie established and respected; that of providing all the clues to the reader, thus allowing them to fairly match wits with the protagonist to solve the crime. Other authors pull the solution out of a hat, not unlike a rabbit; only then revealing "clues" to which the reader was not privy. This is a telling, not an involvement for the reader.
This was, as all are, a thoroughly enjoyable mental exercise and insight into the minds and lives of Gamache, his team, the Surete politics, and the residents--with a few new and enriching glimpses into the people that drive the books. I always think the marvelous narrator's tone so monotonous it will be dull; but that is never the case; it reflects perfectly Gamache's demeanor.
(spoiler alert?) Emily becomes a children's author, and writes books about just what this book is about. It is predictable, allegorical life lessons, as though written for children. Children would be better at suspending belief with a dog angel. The pure of heart triumph, and the impure are shamed.
I don't know if it was just my recording, but it is the only book that I have heard that repeats phrases and sentences occasionally. Bad job of editing?
I can't imagine how TWO narrators, male and female, can both be so misguidedly awful! For some reason, they eggageratedly enunciate as though English was their second--or third--language. And I don't mean when they are characterizing a foreigner--everyone sounds stilted with way too many consonants pronounced in a heavy handed manner. I liked the author from the other novel, but this is a disaster. I would never listen to these narrators again, particularly the male.
Trying hard to show that Nazis are alive and well in the very countries that they brutalized decades ago, the terrible narrator literally speed-reads this. I thought that my iPhone must have accidentally switched to double speed; but no, just awful narration.
The premise is valid, the scare warranted, but the book is not literature. From this sample, I would never consider this author or narrator again, and it was a waste of even the token amount spent on this book. It is not a "story", it is a warning.
A huge fan of the "armchair mystery" genre of Agatha Christie (intelligent plots and puzzles requiring thought sans gratuitous violence), I thoroughly enjoyed Jury's crime solving methodology. While not as much of a fan of the narrator's scope of characterization (why did the sergeant's voice have to be created with the narrator seemingly holding his nose closed?), the clues were all there (fair play a la Christie), and it was just a race to see whether the reader could put the puzzle together before Jury. Jury was a little biased in favor of his personal emotional instincts (Poirot would never do that), but nonetheless, it was a good puzzle and very satisfying mystery. I look forward to reading more of Grimes, and hope there are just as many interwoven literary references, as it makes it all the more enjoyable!
This was a pretty good attempt at a sympathetic, fumbling, self-effacing character, but just missed the mark. The distractions of the constant "no way!" "Way!", "no way!", "way!", and the interjections of "I said", "she said", "he said" were distracting. The book tried to create a Sophie Kinsella type of character, but didn't quite have the same result. Waverly was not as likable or sympathetic. A fun read, but a predictable ending, and annoying rinkydink dialogue.
I didn't expect much from this, with the time travel element added to the fantasy, but it wasn't bad. Kind of a combination of Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and The Wizard of Oz--even down to the ruby red shoes. It gets into a bit of trouble with the ending resolution (do babies en vitro time travel too?), but somewhat entertaining if you get it inexpensively.
The narrator, aside from being out of character with a rough southern accent for a society boy from Philadelphia's Main Line, managed to mispronounce most of the difficult words. It was very distracting, as there was little or no character development, either. The rambling plot just rambled and it was a tedious listen. By the end, I didn't care what happened.
I truly expected the worst from this book, after all, "Secret Desire" would have to be a provocative "bodice ripper", wouldn't it? It turns out to be not unlike Nora Roberts, only set in the Shakespearian era. The absolute delight of this book is partly due to the excellent narrator, whose voice has the ability to quaver at just the right time, and she does justice to male narrative, as well.
Although the premise is somewhat cliche (a la Nora Roberts) and certainly predictable, the entertaining journey of a young woman bucking the chauvinistic male-dominated theater and writers of that time, as well as antiquated marriage contracts and self-support, is worth the listen. It is cleverly written and truly evokes the era.
It is just plain fun, with just enough "bodice ripping" to be entertaining, without centering around that aspect. Even though I got it at a reduced price, I would recommend it for the regular price or a credit.
Most Baldacci books are worth reading, and those with Will Robie and Jessica Real have been interesting in the past. On the whole, I'm not sorry I got this book. However, it is really chopped up into seemingly short plots, each with their own ending. Not really one big assignment for the pair, or even two; but several short bouts of action each being completed before the final and very predictable outcome.
It can be persuasively argued that each of the sub-plots somehow link to the finale, but some are tenuous links, at best.
It was as though Baldacci wrote down plot ideas at different times, then quickly ties them together in this book. Not the best Baldacci--too bad.
I don't buy "romance" novels, and after reading all the Sophie Katz books by this author, had no reason to suspect this would be a dramatic change from the humorous, self-effacing, witty and clever Sophie Katz mysteries.
Boy, was I wrong! This is total eroticism VERY thinly disguised as a woman's search for independence and a sense of self. When it began with a woman on the brink of marriage reluctantly trying to have a good time in Las Vegas in provocative and revealing clothing, I still thought it might be a humorous example of how badly that could turn out.
However, the book is a continual venture into all eroticism, all the time. The message seems to say that to find yourself, you first have to act out all of your sexual fantasies (generally in front of others). Only after doing this again, and again, and again....can you stand on your own two feet (or generally lie down).
There is no humor, no wit, and certainly no mystery. Sophie Katz is much too smart to be caught dead in this book! What was this author thinking??
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