I've read (listened) to most of Grisham's work, and this is my favorite thus far. I really enjoy Grisham's dry sarcasm, and this book is full of it.
The best part of this book was learning more about Asperger's. That being said, much of the son/mother interaction started to feel repetitive and at times slowed down the action.
My frustration with this book was that no character took the time or effort to communicate effectively on a key issue. Of course, if they had, the story would go away. So because someone knocks on the door and interrupts a key conversation, or the phone rings, or whatever, the story is allowed to continue. Just not a strong enough plot for my taste.
While I have downloaded several books by this author, this is the first I've read. I'll listen to the others...but nothing about this book made me want to listen to the others right away.
I guess I'd like to give the book 3.5 stars, but don't have a big problem bumping it to 4. Can you tell I'm somewhat ambivalent about this book?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Bryce Courtenay can tell a good story. Four Fires weaves the story of the Maloney family (of Australia, of course) with historical facts of WWII Japanese prison camps, brush fires, Auschwitz, the Australian garment industry and women's rights...among other things!
I don't gravitate to historical fiction...but I have always enjoyed the combination of Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower and will continue to turn to this pair if I want to be sure I'm getting a book I'll enjoy!
I enjoy the spin that these two put on economics. This book, like Freakonomics and the podcast of the same name, is a compilation of interesting examples used to illustrate a point about some aspect of economics. Think of it as a bunch of podcasts or short stories. There is a heavy focus on social economics, or why/how people make the decisions that they make.
If you liked Freakonomics, you'll like this book, too. I personally enjoy all of them (books and podcast). However, I sometimes got bored with the narration...just a bit monotonous for my taste. Perhaps it should have come with a warning label "may cause drowsiness" or "don't operate heavy machinery."
I bought this book based upon the strong reviews, but it didn't live up to my expectations. The character development of the villain was very weak. First, the author wants us to believe he is this methodical, careful, experienced killer, then we see the guy wailing on people out on the sidewalk. What? Really?
The plot wasn't all that strong, either. I came very close to shutting it down with about 2 hours left, but somehow managed to stick it out.
There are better murder mysteries out there.
This is how I like to read about history. It takes the lives of several North Koreans and uses their stories to explain the country and its living conditions. The story was interesting and certainly timely.
I had no idea how bad conditions were (and probably still are) in North Korea. The country is run like a prison and the family dynasty that continues to rule have set themselves up as deities as much as dictators.
With all of the saber-rattling that is going on now, I suggest you give this book a listen, as it will enlighten you on the indoctrination and suppression of the people of this country.
Other readers have complained about the narrator and her gasping for breath. I agree with them, it was very annoying and hard to ignore, but I made the effort because I wanted to hear this story. But I was very disappointed in the narrator, and in Audible for putting out such a poor production.
I've been a Dortmunder fan for many years. The plots are always a hoot, the sarcasm runs thick, and the irony is always on.
My only beef with this version was the narrator. I listened to all of the Dortmunder books back in the Books on Tape days and that narrator NAILED the characters. This narrator, not so much and he especially falls short compared to the BOT narrator that I grew to enjoy so much.
Aside from the acting, the premise of this book is still well worth the credit.
This is the first Gabriel Allon book that I have listened to. He's an interesting enough character, but not to the extent that I'm anxious to download more of these.
The plot was really multiple plots, so at times I was a bit lost. I didn't help that most of the characters had Italian names, either.
The pace of the story was good. It didn't bog down too much in any one place.
In all, I can't put more than an "average" label on this one. A good use of a credit, but nothing to get too excited about.
There was very little in this book to excite or interest me (except the mystical/spiritual dabbling was enjoyable.)
First, there is very little action in this murder mystery. The sheriff just plods along and describes people and has thoughtful flashbacks so you know what built up to the murders. Even the one chase scene is rather ho-hum.
Second, there is very little deduction/reasoning so that the reader can "play along." One of the reasons I like a good mystery is so I can play along and try to figure out who done it. In this one, you don't get that. In fact, I thought the resolution was pretty weak. The protagonist doesn't really figure it...he just recognizes the shooter. In fact, the protagonist probably would have been shot himself except for his trusty Indian sidekick.
There are better mysteries out there, and I'm going to save my future credits for those authors.
I won't be looking for more of the "women's murder club." This book was ok, but certainly nothing to get excited about. The female detective that has to deal with male chauvinism, the seemingly flakey reporter looking for her big break. In all, the characters were formula, as was the plot.
It seems like the extremely prolific authors (and I put Patterson in that category) fall back on the same formula over and over again. Don't expect anything new here.
I understand authors wanting to get a certain philosophy or political statement across. But it is tough to do in a novel, unless you write countless speeches with some plot or action thrown in to call it "fiction" versus "textbook." This book was in the countless speeches category.
I found some of the author's religious speeches to be interesting and insightful, I just resent that they were in the guise of a novel. As far as plot, action and characters go, this book was lacking.
My guess is the many 5-star reviews are from people who share the author's religious outlook. But whether I agree or disagree with the outlook, I'm going to rate a book based upon plot, pacing, characters and the storyline. This book was underwhelming on all of those.
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