I really appreciate Charles Todd, both his (their) Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series. I get them as soon as they come out, without question. I am hoping that this book was an anomaly, and not a sign that the mother-son partnership is flagging or that the authors are becoming tired of Ian Rutledge.
First of all, this book was wonderfully complex, with lots of trails to follow, many characters who could be clues to unravelling the mysteries and possible suspects. This is as you are listening to it. I found myself having to concentrate very hard to keep everyone straight. Rutledge is driving from London to Sussex to Kent over and over. And I am thinking that Somerset might have been in there somewhere too.
The problem is that there is no wrap-up to speak of where the author traditionally continues the story to (basically) explain to those of us who haven't been able to figure out how the culprit was the culprit or managed to pull off exactly what they did. This area in the book generally explains all of those tiny details that you (at least this is what happens to ME) have been saying to yourself "But how did they manage to do that?" for some hours.
At the end of this one, however, there is almost no wrapup and the reader is not even told if one of the people who is talked about throughout the book is dead or alive or where he could possibly be! Very confusing and overall disappointing, because as I listened to it I thought the story had promise.
The background story of Rutledge and how the higher-ups at the Yard are faring does move a little bit and it sounds like the new boss may be worse than Old Bowles, if that is possible. Rutledge is finally taking Hamish more in stride. He no longer fears that he is in the back seat of his car and understands that he is in the back of his mind and is likely to stay there. I think that is progress.
I recently listened to the first of this series "Test of Wills" (it was totally out of print when I first started reading this series) and am really glad I did. If you want to read another Rutledge that may be new to you, you might try that one!
I enjoy this series immensely and am working my way through it, book by book. I sorely missed the voice of Susan Boyce over the last several books and am glad to see she is back.
Although an interest in various types of needlework may seem to make these books more enjoyable, it's not really required. Fun, cozy series. Love the characters and the Minnesota settings.
I wasn't really happy with this one. I like the Pitt series most when Charlotte and Thomas are both involved in the story to a more balanced degree.
This one has Pitt trying to protect a woman, Sofia, that I didn't care about because she didn't become a real character. The controversial beliefs of the religious cult that she has founded are never clearly stated, and Sofia as a person is never fleshed out.
It also gives Victor Narraway and Aunt Vespasia much more ink than I care for. I found their romance far-fetched from the beginning; now they are married and help Pitt with his investigation this time around.
Charlotte is almost missing from the book, except as Pitt's loyal wife and the mother of his growing children. The one thing I enjoyed was several scenes where it is apparent that Jemima is becoming a young Charlotte: definitely having her own mind and finding that speaking it is not what is expected in Victorian society.
I love this series and Perry, after putting Pitt in Special Branch, has found ways before to include Charlotte to a greater degree, even though Pitt's investigations there have become very secret. Charlotte is an essential character and should be integral to the story. I think another reader said "Tired of Special Branch." Can we get Thomas back to regular policing? When Charlotte and her sister got involved in the stories and Pitt could use Charlotte at least as a sounding board? I haven't given up yet.
I enjoyed this book and was immediately engaged by the narrator. I felt the voice she used invited sympathy with the main character, Claire. The writing drew me in to the story and I found it an easy listen.
Interesting story about the art world and art forgery. The plot is cleverly built around a real historical figure (Isabella Stuart Gardner) and the unsolved theft in 1990 of a number of paintings from the museum in Boston that bears her name.
I would have given it 5 stars except for the fact that a number of phrases, sayings and other things are repeated in more than one place in the book. It's kind of like the author forgot that this had already been said and no editor picked it up. I'd say this happened about five times, which I found disconcerting.
Otherwise, a great read that grabbed my interest from the start!
As I began to listen, I had forgotten that this is a "prequel" and takes place in 1914, beginning on the day that the assassination in the Balkans takes place, "a fine summer's day" in England.
My first thought was "All those readers who keep saying they want to see the last of Hamish will get their wish, at least temporarily," while also thinking - will I like Ian Rutledge from before the war?
I have to admit that for the first couple of hours I was puzzled and confused because Rutledge has to go from case to case to case (Old Bowles on the rampage), and the cases are all over the country as well as involving different characters and local policemen. Consequently, the setup for this one is, like some of the recent books in the series, quite complex and may try your patience. But hang in there. There is a method to the madness, and once this first bit is out of the way, I thought this entry was superb. I had trouble stopping once it got going and will say no more about the mystery.
It is fun to meet some of the characters that you have previously been introduced to only as a look at the past, and I think it helped flesh out Ian Rutledge as a real person. We meet his Jean and her family and see much more of his relationship with sister Frances and family friend Melinda Crawford.
The narrator, Steven Crossley, is one of my favorites (he reads the Shardlake series), and does a creditable job of distinguishing most of the myriad of characters.
Kept me thoroughly engaged and I loved it!
I was curious when I saw the length of the book and wondered if an author could do justice to a good, complex thriller in that time frame.
The story was interesting, shifting from present day to 15th century and back many times. The shifts are well marked (important). Takes place in Germany (German author - good translation ). I found there's a nagging sense of the supernatural in the tone, and I was hoping the author could resolve it without going there.
So I listened to it. And as it's wrapping up, the one puzzler as to whether the supernatural or time travel was involved has not been answered.
And I swear, practically in the middle of a sentence that is beginning a next chapter, the narrator says: "to be continued..."
In my opinion, if the author had left it where Anna is wondering if she has imagined her encounters with Bastian, that would have been satisfactory. Kind of leave it to the reader to decide. That makes this book something that could stand alone, and I would have given it a better rating.
I don't know whether, all in all, I liked the story enough that I would want to continue with the series. I think a series based on a modern-day writer researching crimes of the past might be interesting, and I don't know whether that's where this author is going.
This was a cute, if very predictable, prequel short story for the Royal Spyness series. I know; it was free.
I must object to Kathryn Kellgren's narration of late. She continues to treat everything that happens (with her voice inflections) as if some momentous or horrible event is about to occur - when it definitely isn't. The last full book (Queen of Hearts) was full of these outbursts and got very tiresome. Previous to Queen of Hearts, I have greatly enjoyed all the books of this series, and laughed all through Georgie's adventures, cherishing Kathryn Kellgren's narration.
I hope Rhys Bowen and Kathryn Kellgren are both able to recover their earlier form in Georgie's next adventure!
Reading this book made me feel like coming home. Louise Penny's writing is so exquisite and her characters are so memorable, it is a real gift to be able to have a new one to read or listen to. And I love to listen to these books. I have listened to several of them over again, which I can't say of many other authors. Ralph Cosham's voice is just perfect for these stories and I love the way it slides over the French names and exclamations. His mastery of the many voices of French Canada is wonderful. The pacing and cadence of his voice is unmatched.
In The Long Way Home, Gamache has begun a new life in Three Pines, but of course we knew he wasn't finished detecting. The bonus is that all of our favorite characters become involved in this one to some degree. I don't need to say more than that, just get this one and enjoy.
If you are not already familiar with the Armand Gamache series, just go back and listen to the first one (Still Life) and proceed from there. You won't be disappointed.
Let me preface this by saying that this was my first Alafair Burke novel. I didn't know what to expect.
I was disappointed with Audible (or the publisher) that the "book details" gave away so much of the story. It seemed that I must have listened to over an hour of the book before I heard anything new!
My first impression as I listened was that it was set up the way Mary Higgins Clark frequently sets up her novels: several different threads begin and eventually come together as the story is woven into cloth. I didn't know at the time that Alafair Burke has written a series with Ms. Clark. I also didn't know that she is the daughter of James Lee Burke (whose beautifully-written series I found depressing, so I gave up after the first one).
That being said, I enjoyed this story, and liked the twists and turns. I empathized with Alice's bewilderment, and appreciated the use of a Facebook account as a plot device.
I find that the "separate threads" method is difficult when I am listening to a book, and means that I end up going back a lot and listening again when I realize the narrator is no longer talking about the same person or place. But I did get used to it and realized I had to pay closer attention.
Worth an attentive listen!
I'm so annoyed at myself for giving Faye Kellerman another chance. I have liked a number of her books in the past. I think that her point of view of a family living an Orthodox Jewish life (always in the background and often coming to the foreground) is an interesting and different addition to these character-based police procedurals. There is almost always a strong family story that is a component of Kellerman's books, which frequently lend a reality as well as contrast to the sometimes gruesome crimes that our hero, Lieutenant Peter Decker, investigates for the LAPD.
But this one, which had two basic story lines which fractured further into additional subplots, had an unsatisfactory ending that to me made no sense. I can't go into it further because it will spoil any other reader's journey through the story.
I felt this was an example of a really interesting book which was quite enjoyable as I was reading it, but was ruined for me by a lame ending.
I have to say that the first time I listened to this first book in the Phryne Fisher series, I wasn't crazy about Miss Fisher (an earlier review of mine states that emphatically). But I liked the setting of Australia in the 1920's enough to give Phryne another try, proceeding to listen to about 10 more of her stories so far over the past couple of years.
Through those books I've become very fond of Phryne and her quirks, her thoroughly modern point of view, and her escapades. I recently discovered that there was a television series made about her and watched the first episode. I was happy to have pictures of the period (the cars and the clothes, particularly), but I remembered nothing about the book from watching the first episode (also called Cocaine Blues).
So I decided to give the book another listen. I think that I enjoyed it so much more because it reminded me of where Phryne met and befriended Dot, Bert and Cec, and gave a little background on Dr. MacMillan. Since I'm now I'm aware of Phryne's quirks and attitudes, as well as her generous spirit, I was able to be more sympathetic to her and see her as a person.
I guess my point is: (1) If you are a Phryne Fisher fan but also recall the first book as unsympathetic, give it another try.
(2) If you are NOT a Phryne Fisher fan and decided not to proceed with the other books after reading this one, please give her other books a try and come back to this one after that!
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