PURLEAR, NC, United States
The later books in the Jim Chee/ Joe Leaphorn Navaho series saga were lacking in comparison with his earlier works. His daughter's work (at least I assume this is his daughter) doesn't greatly reverse this slide. Officer Bernadette Manuelito is too broadly drawn to be a strong main character. the only thing we know about her for sure is that she resents her husband Jim Chee giving her directions; much less orders. This despite the fact that he is her superior officer.
The culprit in the book is obvious before you reach the halfway point. Despite this, both professional police officers and the FBI are don't perceive it until the the last hour of the audiobook. The relationship between 'Bernie' and her family never rises above obvious cliches and her sister is so entirely unsympathetic her problems so obviously self induced it wasn't possible to care much for her troubles.
The biggest problem I had with the audiobook though; was the reader. Perhaps it would not have mattered who replaced George Guidall; it wouldn't have been the same. This reader certainly wasn't up to the task. Perhaps it was Guidall who mispronounced Navaho words for the first fifteen or so works; but I doubt it. Christina Delaine might improve over time but to those who've listened to the series read by George Guidall it won't be the same.
Certain elements of the mystery were well done. The story dovetailed nicely with a previous Hillerman work and the intricate murder plot was nicely done. If you appreciated the last few Tony Hillerman Navaho cop books this one will at least match those; particularly the last two. For those of you who were fans of the earlier books in the series; save your credit.
This time the sister in the spotlight is Libby. Having been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend when his ex-wife returns to Pine River. So she attacks his pickup with a golf club when she finds out that the two of them were schtuping each other while she was watching their kids. Then there is the little matter of the restraining order that Ryan slapped her with after the destruction of all the glass in his truck. An RO that doesn't seem to mean too much to Libby; given that she violates it on a regular basis. Deputy Sam Martin seems to be quite intent on seeing her through this difficult time. The fact that he has a major thing for Libby seems to be apparent to everyone but her. I'll stop with the overall plot right there to avoid spoiling the ending for anyone. Though given that this was a romance novel we already know the ending.
There is one point that I want to jump up on my soapbox about. Libby's attitude towards Ryan's children is understandable on an emotional level but as far as behavior goes I found it to be self serving and irresponsible. I understand the pull that she's feeling I've been there and felt the pain that comes from giving up someone that you love and who loves you. There are times that you actually do feel as though someone ripped out a couple of your vital organs without the benefit of anesthetic. The bottom line is that the feelings of the adult aren't what matters in this situation; it what's best for the child that's important. Her need to hang on to them is merely a way to make the inevitable end of said relationship a longer more difficult one. This factor lowered the enjoyment I took from the book and lowered the rating I gave it as well.
Penny is a young Mennonite girl sent to summer camp for a week by her parents. She's convinced her friend Gina to come along with her and it's a huge surprise for them both. No swimming, not even baths, showers, or water to wash clothes. As they deal with the boredom of a religious camp circa 1980; Gina is faced with raging hormones and Penny with the memories of her last day in Guatemala. This story is a sweet look at the a slice of a young girl's life as she tries to deal with culture shock, her memories, and the pain of becoming an adult.
This is a mediocre work at best. The characters in most cases lack two dimensions; much less three. The narrator doesn't help the effort any with a delivery flatter than Kansas. The lead characters are just as flat and the erstwhile protagonist is a blur. If this selection finds it's way into the sale bin or as a daily deal you might want to take the chance and give it a shot. I found this one a total dud and a work lacking any reason for recommendation.
There is a great deal of good, solid, caring, sweet, intelligent, informative, deeply personal wisdom in this book of lists. Unfortunately I think that the best format for this information is not audio, but print. Perhaps for those who are either young or fortunate enough to have working memories this audiobook might work for you. If you're a girl from 16 to 25; particularly one with sexual identity issues then you should probably get it if just for the reinforcement it provides. Still I am of the opinion that even with a great memory; lists are better absorbed through the written word.
I use those words as a headline because I lived in the valley for close to a dozen years and treasure the time and relationships I made there; it's a special place. Therefore whenever there is a book set in the valley, or even just in Arizona, whether fiction or non-fiction I give it a shot. Even if I don't purchase it, I give it consideration.
My opening prelude completed; I approached this book with cautious optimism. It was rewarded with a work of mystery fiction that falls just short of earning five stars. The police officers act like real people; the villains are just human beings who're trying to get by in the world. No Hannibal Lecter's here. The pivotal character in this selection would be easy to blame or dislike; instead she comes across as a vulnerable, caring person who's made a questionable choice in her life.
A couple of reservations. The first is that The killer is revealed pretty early in this mystery; thus removing much of the mystery. The too quick conclusion by the lead character as to the identity of the killer. I mean he could have at least stated his reasoning as "we're desperate here," or "we don't have any better suspects."
In short I'm recommending this audio without reservation.
This is the first of over thirty Sharon McCone mysteries and was a pretty good first novel. The story unfolds quickly and in such a way that doesn't leave you shaking your head and cursing the author for presuming that you're so dim you'll suspend your belief that far from reality. There are some large holes in the narrative and McCone falling for the detective Greg Marcus seems a long shot; there is very little about him that seems at all likable. If it's your goal to have the entire series this is a good place to start. If you want to ascertain if the works of Marcia Muller are for you; the best of the McCone mysteries start further along in the series.
It's somewhere between 2020 and 2030; the first and fourth amendments have been shredded by neo-con supreme justices and Roe vs. Wade overturned. Then a conservative Supreme Court Justice is murdered in what appears to be a botched robbery. The FBI's special agent in charge brings in his old friend Joe Reeder who has already discerned this wasn't a robbery gone wrong; it was an assassination. Then another justice is brought down and suspicion falls on Reeder.
This is a nice little story and if there weren't so many implausibility's it would be a good buy. Unfortunately there is only so much suspension of belief possible before it becomes too jarring and ruins the narrative. If they'd dialed it back just a bit It might've been a four star work. Maybe it's just me but I can't give more than two.
Linda runs cold and that's the way she likes it; so when her boss asks for volunteers to foster a child during the holidays. Telling herself it's to impress her boss she volunteers to take a child. The child turns out to be a girl named Lucy who has survived more trauma and pain than anyone should have to know in a lifetime; much less seven years. As Linda grows closer to the child she grows closer to the feelings she was forced to hide as a child. Traumatized herself at age twelve she was forced to deny those feelings by her mother. The trauma of that night has adversely affected both her and her brother since that night. This is the story of a woman who in helping a girl get past the horror of the abuse she's suffered in her short life may just be able to able to get past her own.
I'd read the reviews when I chose this book and I realized that I was gonna be crying. Of course I've cried when a family got their house repaired on a DIY show. Sure enough I was puddling up thirty minutes into the audiobook. This was a heartbreaking, heart opening story. Though at one point I considered dropping the rating to a four due to the over the top sentimentality that is the epitome of lesbian romance novels. Then the inevitable ending that the book had been building towards since the halfway point and I knew that this was a five in spite of the flaws. The sentimentality was past over the top but I'm told by a reliable source that 18 year old girls can get that way from time to time. When we finished the story and finished crying, we agreed that they're times when a little over the top sentimentality is just what you need. I related to her stories about two movies; Brian's Song and Field of Dreams that always got to me. Sometimes it's important just to share a good cry.
I read the reviews and was encouraged to give this one a try. The mental health hook is always a pull for me and the lead character being schizophrenic piqued my interest in this book. Unfortunately I found the five chapters I was able to get through before I gave up slow and extremely tedious. I realize that I have a short span of attention and when I start a book whether to read or to listen to I have a difficult time staying with it if it begins too slowly. This one did just that and I bailed; if you are more patient listener you may be able to wait for it; I couldn't.
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