This books deserves to rank among the top modern war novels, but listeners looking for a war adventure or listeners looking for a triumph of spirit will be disappointed. But this well narrated book drills down to capture the alienation of thoughtful soldiers and veterans. I was emotionally and intellectually transported back to my Vietnam days. The plot is in fact a modest mystery that unfolds ingeniously as the narration moves back and forth between the war and the narrator's return to the states. Descriptions are often poetic, dialogue simple and raw. Holter Graham does a great job for me of capturing the young voices (they were all young) of the troops in Afghanistan and the accents of the narrators and his ill fated "charge," Murphy.
By the end of this book, I had a better understanding of the themes that shaped tech innovation -- collaboration, interest in humanities, importance of consumer need over technical skill. By the end of the book I think I came to understand why innovators such as Steve Jobs were so successful, and countless others fell by the wayside. The description of characters and their stories are often fascinating, but the sheer volume of characters became overwhelming for me to consistently keep straight. As others have said, there are better histories of the tech revolution, but few that show why some individuals were successful and other weren't. Dennis Boutsikaris' narration was terrific.
This is an over-he-top spoof with tragic overtones, and Dion Graham's often tongue-in-cheek reading really shines. The action moves quickly and doesn't give you too much time to notice some lapses in logic and realism. But the underlying truths are spot on all the way to the reversal at the end.
I had really mixed fillings. The action is really well written and kept me listening, but there were flaws that at best made me feel that this might have worked better as a comic book. It was hard to believe the young villain could be so functional yet pathologically detached, for one thing. Sure he was angry about the circumstances leading to his first murder, but would a young teen be able to hit the road running like that? Also the efforts at omniscient narration describing the detective's thoughts -- would a sex ad really remind him, a man with no stated art experience, of a pre-raphaelite painting?. The dialogue among the detectives was wooden as the author used that dialogue to provide background about plot pointsthe cops wouldn't have needed to talk about among themselves. Nevertheless, some elements were really creative. The "chick book" style intro was a great tease.
There is no way so many insights and so much knowledge could be gained so pleasurably, but there is no getting around that this very long book requires attention. For anyone who remembers Lincoln as a string of cliches from elementary and high school, this book is a revelation. Lincoln is still a hero, but he's personalized and flawed, grappling with political realities in a challenging time. I listened to this book prior to seeing the new movie, and I'm glad I did, because the two complemented each other nicely. LIncoln is human and the cliches are no longer cliches but intriguing lessons that aren't that different from the intrigues in the daily news today.
Despite some strong criticisms, I really like Michael McConnohie's narration. Harry Bosch sounds as if he's from LA, not some indefinable eastern city. Harry's kickbutt style is definitely back, and even his politically incorrect dealings with his daughter are a welcome return. People who enjoy the series will find some fresh stuff to enjoy here.
I wish I had a bright high school kid teetering on the edge of a scientific career to give this book to. Dedication, courage and integrity from scientists, law enforcement and even quality journalism triumph over the evils forces of self-serving public relations, law enforcement and museum management. The book's introduction of forensic DNA was undoubtedly quite fresh at the time Relic was written, but now reads a bit like an historical novel. Still clever and interesting, but most of us have been there, read that. Yet, the doings in the catacombs of the museum, although reminiscent of the approximately contemporaneous Poseidon Adventure, are well paced. David Colacci's great reading, with just a touch of irony during the most melodramatic passages, makes this a fun, if not memorable, listen.
I was pleasantly surprised how accessible this 150-year-old novel was, and despite the enormous cultural gaps, I was hooked by both the story and the fate of most of the characters. Nadia May differentiated characters and I think, despite some criticisms by others, provided pitch perfect dramatization. We do have to make some adjustments when we read period novels. The pacing is noticeably slower, which personally I find therapeutic in a high paced world. the world view as espoused primarily by Levin is especially poignant when espoused after we understand the context of his life. For those of us who are going back to classic literature after years or decades of doing other things, this novel would serve well as a beginning -- or a relaxing break from some of the denser, more esoteric novels of the 19th century. As others have pointed out, there are technical glitches involving the recording, including some background sound as if the recording had been made over a tape or file that hadn't been completely erased. Audible in a few minutes could go back and remove the "change the disc" messages, a residue of the pre-MP3 recording I listened to. There were at least two of these distracting messages, not fatal in a recording of this length, but unnecessary.
For sure you don't have to be from Texas border country to identify with the characters from this book. In fact it may help if you're from a city with a multiplicity of diverse and flawed characters. Hackberry Holland has a law degree, epiphanies and suffers the angst of a college professor's son. Every elderly reader's dream is this nearly octogenerian's involvement with his chief deputy who has only a few premature gray hairs. Russian criminals, country club degenerates, an Asian former CIA affiliate and more abound in this superbly paced novel which is magnificently read by Will Paton. There are some nice descriptions of the border environment, including Burke's apparent fondness for rain, but did I think I was reading about 2012 Texas-Mexico border reality? Not so much.The iconography of a mystic underground are certainly present, as is the violence without the grit of a hardscrabble part of the country.
Rachel Maddow supplies scads of evidence about how we have lost the American people have lost the moral and practical buy-in to make tough choices, notably going to war. As scholars have pointed out, some of the evidence may be missing, and hence, the issue is far more complex than this compelling and tightly written book. But this is about the best place for an overview on the implication of how and why we have gone to war and lost our way in foreign policy.
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