In the latest installment of the Mrs. Murphy series, Rita Mae Brown brings you discussions on abortion, the evils of the Republican Party, the evils of politicians in general, relative merits of the BMW vs Mercedes transmissions, the importance of proper Virginia bloodlines for breeding, how to fit into Virginia society if you are not lucky enough to have the proper pedigree, the merits of heat pumps vs. oil burners, the glory of Ford F-150s (but the shilling is less than earlier books), evils of tv and the internet, the differences between the sexes, panty fetishes, the difficulties of veterinary coding for billing and filling, Jeffersonian architecture and the brilliance of animals. What you won't find, sadly, is a mystery of any real significance.
The series has faded from its former glory and so has the heroine, Harry Haristeen. The mystery is tacked on in most places and only rarely is it the focus of the story. Harry continues her roller coaster ride from very intelligent heroine to a stereotypical dimwit who ties herself down on the tracks in front of the proverbial train. Will her animals save her? (Of course they will). Will the enlightened and liberated modern women still need saving by the stud hero? Tired cliches and increasingly one dimensional characters are sadly taking over what were once truly pleasurable reads. They mystery would have made a good short story in length, but it still would have been mundane.
The writing is fundametally good and the debates are often fair if not balanced, but the mystery is what Rick and Coop (the law) should be listing as missing.
Kate Forbes continues to be an excellent narrator.
Bottom line: Don't feed what has become a cash cow unless the quality comes back.
If you like the various Cussler et al adventure series you will like this one as well. More of the same is good or bad depending on how you like the formula. Even Superman must shake his head at the doings of Cussler's heroes, in this case Isaac Bell, which push the boundaries of superhuman feats. It's still a fun, albeit very formulaic, romp across America where people of all stripes must "jump to it" whenever Bell and the Van Dorn Detective Agency make their demands known. There is some irony in the support for organized labor in a book that features a cast of the super rich who buy whatever or whomever they want on demand. But it is just fiction, right?
Scott Brick continues to do a fantastic job as narrator. The editing could use a bit of tweaking as there is hardly a pause between the end of a sentence and the new chapter announcement. Not a big deal, but a bit jarring.
This isn't a bad book, but it isn't as good as the first of the Fargo adventures. In the series opener, the Fargos were thrust into bad circumstances that made them semi-reluctant heroes. In this book, the fire just never develops. The Fargos find something they want, so they go get it. Evil doers don't want them to have the MacGuffin so they very nastily intervene. No one messes with the Fargos so they fight back, etc etc etc. Very formulaic.
This latest edition in the discworld series is a must read for all fans. While not the best of Pratchett's work, it is certainly an entertaining read. Continuing the Moist von Lipwig characters from Going Postal, the author turns the unique von Lipwig loose on the Royal Bank and the money system. While not as humorous or as original as the post office book - which should be read before this book - the story of the new Bank Master is still a delight. The plot is more predictable as the characters are already fleshed out from Going Postal and a veteran of the series can see where the book is headed quite quickly. Nevertheless, Pratchett's unique sense of humor and social commentary makes you want to get to the end while also dreading the termination of the tale. For those of you seeking to relish every minute of the recording be prepared for the fact that the last two minutes or so of "the book" are really a public service announcement for getting kids to listen to audiobooks. Alas, not one written by Terry Pratchett.
Not the best of Pratchett's books, but it will not disappoint.
My review of Book 5 was critical, but I'm much happier with this next book in the series. The male/female disputes are toned down and the story proceeds apace. Not as action packed as some of the earlier installments, but I, personally, never missed it. A good course correction for the series.
While I have been enjoying the series so far, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers regarding the battle of the sexes. Get over it already, Mr. Jordan. We got the point eons ago. This book has been the most boring so far. Rand bounces between hard taskmasker and childish pawn of the women in his life. Strong women are great characters but both sexes come across as bipolar from time to time. Matt's parts have been pretty good. Moraine's character does grow well in her relatively brief appearance.
A friend of mine got me into the series by praising the character development, but this iteration has failed in that regard. By the end of the book I began rooting for the Chosen. I would have easily given the book 4 stars if the author would have cut the by now incredibly repetitive sexual and gender confusion.
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