I can't review the whole book - I couldn't get hooked. Dry as a bone.
Entertaining and held my attention. A solid, female-centered sequel to the Sherlock Holmes body of work, and respectful to the original. Reader does a good job.
This was my first Gabrielle Allon novel (#13 in the series), but Silva does a good job on-boarding a new reader. I read the book while Vladimir Putin was asserting Russian dominance through the imagery at the Sochi Olympics and the annexation of the Crimea, so the motivations in the book made some eerie sense. I am also a fan of Corsica, and found those settings and characteristics quite realistic.
The story is interesting and twists and turns at just the right times.
I found the portrayal of Israel as the epicenter of virtue and competence a little much - especially when the British government was portrayed as weak and corrupt. I also thought the female characters were stereotypical and largely background;even when Allon's wife is clearly a competent agent, she spends her limited time in the novel cooking for a bunch of men and hoping to get pregnant. There is an old Corsican fortune teller who's an interesting female character, but even her power is undermined by Allon's seeming ability to be the exception to her clear visions.
Another anti-hero from Tana French - this one quite sympathetic for the first half, and after a quite predictable plot twist, an idiot (but realistically in character.) I didn't connect with the protagonist quite as well as with the protagonist in Faithful Place, but he was interesting. French's villain is modern with a modern motivation; the novel does not tidily clean up all the loose plot ends, which is also modern.
The female detective, Cassie, is sharply drawn, strong and fantastic.French does a great job with female characters.
The production quality and narrator for this book were so good that they kept me going even when the book itself drove me nuts.
Apparently, this book has been controversial because of the author's use of dialect imagined to be of the day. I found this to be one of the stronger, more inventive aspects of the book - the language is vivid and colorful, and did not find it racist as it applied to all characters, black and white.
The book uses realism to defend its use of dialect in the narrative; however, the shallow, feckless treatment of slavery and prostitution is so white-washed that it becomes offensive. The book also stretches credulity many times: e.g., a drunk, 13-year old slave girl living in a whorehouse is never subjected to rough treatment by the white, frontiersmen customers (there are many situations like this - including a ridiculous encounter with Frederick Douglas.) The only way the teenaged narrator's perspective on is believable is if we were white readers in 1936 and we Prissy from Gone with the Wind had written a book.
The book is also tiresomely repetitive in several spots - plot lines being repeated and repeated to make sure the reader gets it, some of the same expressions over-used until they become hackneyed; the book needed a tougher editor.
The pity of it for me is that John Brown and the raid on Harper's Ferry and its place in the civil war is a subject of personal interest, but this book does little to illuminate potential aspects of Brown's character and trivializes the impact of his followers, including the African-Americans who followed him.
The end of the book (after the raid), has some dignity denied throughout the rest of the book, and does try to do something redeemable with the central analogy around the now-extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, but it's too little, too late.
Most of the book is like watching Al Jolson, in blackface, sing "Mammy." An offensive and very outdated stereotype.
This book is a useful and interesting dive into what makes the 4% of humans with no conscience tick. Martha Stout is refreshingly gimlet-eyed over sociopaths, not sympathetic towards them, and focuses the book on how normal people of conscience can protect themselves from these people. She also includes some interesting perspectives about what in American culture might empower sociopaths where they could be muted in some non-Western cultures. Interesting and not overly long. Competent narrator.
A well-plotted novel rich with the vernacular of the Irish working class. Part nostalgic coming-of-age memoir, part class commentary, part detective novel, and part examination of what it means to be a modern man wrestling with your inner demons. What works for Dennis Lahaine, Frank McCourt, and good mystery writers all works here - interesting characters who are well-articulated enough to make you care what happens to them, shades of light and dark, an appealing anti-hero,and rich layers of the language of Dublin's working class.
The narrator (Tim Gerard Reynolds) is SPECTACULAR and adds significantly to the enjoyment of the book. His rich capabilities with accent and the Dublin dialogue really makes the characters come alive. I would listen to other books just because they're narrated by this guy. He's as perfect a match to the book as Patrick Tull is to the Aubrey-Maturin books or Will Patton is to James Lee Burke.
This is my first Tana French book; the others are already on my Audible wish list. Highly recommended.
What a completely charming book, pretty and witty even as it wrestles with some serious themes around race, class, urbanization, and getting old. Major Pettigrew, Mrs. Ali, and many of the supporting characters are thoroughly likable, and their supporting cast is interesting and engaging.
The book is also quite funny in places.I was completely engaged throughout and felt like I had new friends at the end. Narrator does a great job.
This book is completely beautiful. Rhodes paints the driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin with a delicate hand that captures its beauty and its metaphysical power. Every character, whether it's a mysterious cougar, a cross old farmer, a fighting dog, or a brilliant woman in a wheelchair, is perfectly drawn and someone you'd like to know. The plot is at once pastoral and also suspenseful and driving forward - compelling, but with the volume turned down to a whisper, asking you to lean in.
Rhodes' personal story is equally compelling and an interesting harmony with this book.
I'm a Robicheaux/Purcell fan, so don't look to me for the most objective of reviews.
Dave seems to have left his maudlin, end-of-life worldview behind since the last couple of books, and Clete is as sparkling and ridiculous as ever. The plot contains its usual bunch of miscreants and mean rich people doing unspeakable things.
The real star of this book was Montana's Bitterroot Valley, which Burke captures in such evocative detail that it almost drives you out the door to head west. The guy is a landscape poet.
Gretchen, Alafair and Molly all have roles in this book, although I don't enjoy them. Alafair is such a hard character - but she never fought in Vietnam, she never worked for NOPD - she's just a stubborn and lippy pain in the butt. Gretchen, who's had a crappy life, is a much more sympathetic character and softer, even though she kills a few folks.
Will Patton nails the narrative - a perfect fit for Burke.
A very well performed reading of an interesting plot about young love between a rather privileged, clever girl and a bright boy plagued by schizophrenia, and a much more interesting supporting character. The plot and Eugenides' excellent writing keeps you moving through the book, despite either protagonists' ability to generate a great deal of sympathy. In the end, it's Mitchell, the anti-hero and supporting (almost lead) character that holds the interest the most.
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