It's rare that an Audible narrator is so poorly matched to its subject, but this one is a corker. Mr. McConnohie is a very good narrator, but not for this book.
The character is narrating in first person, and is an Asian American. Not that the narrator has to sound stereotypical Asian (whatever that is), but he should NOT sound like Walter Cronkite, or a voiceover for a TV commercial for anti-depressants, erectile dysfunction or high cholesterol meds. I keep waiting for him to advise me to "ask your doctor if Tetrahozalapine is right for you." In fact, he kind of sounds like Peter Graves or Robert Young, who were great actors and voiceovers, but ill-suited to many roles. The Ward Cleaver type just doesn't cut it as a lethal assassin.
Thus, I stopped listening after an hour.
Very, very sad when this was finished. One of the best Audible experiences I've ever had in 5 years of consuming 20-plus books per year.
A lot of drivel for content. And the narration? Way over the top. Save your credits.
There's a saying attributed to Chekhov that says that, if there's a rifle hanging on the wall in the first act, it must go off by the third act. Otherwise, it shouldn't be hanging on the wall. There's another curmudgeon's observation about the game of cricket: Two hours of action packed into three days of playing.
Both apply here.
The level of irrelevant detail in this plodding novel is mind crushing. I found myself fast forwarding through a ton of material mumbling to myself "Who cares...What does this have to do with the story? Please get on with it." Always on guard, however, for the concern that I might miss some detail that would prove important later. This turns out not to be a necessary concern. In general, in this novel, if it seems off point, it turns out to be. This story is desperately in need of a ruthless editing, and you could easily lose a third of the narrative without sacrificing any of the story. Detail worthy of Proust minus the flourishes. It all makes the story drag, and makes the reader when the writer is going to just get on with it.
If there's an abridged version, go for that. It is a good story, just too tedious in many parts.
Endless chase story driven by an inane and stupidly improbable story line. Really irritating narration (enough with that outrageously comedic Indian accent already). Flat to no character development. I forget what writer said it, but it has been noted that, when developing character, if you start with a stereotype, you will wind up with nothing. That's what happens here. One after another character has been done, done, done. To death. Putting them all in one story is almost too amazing not to admire on some masochistic level. The narration and accent are done with such amateurish production that instead of enhancing the story, it seals its banality. Come on. The bald Russian villain who always has an Uzi and a bottle of Stoli at his disposal, avenging the death of his family at the hands of Delta Force commandoes and hoping to incinerate Wash. D.C. by particle accelerator toward that end. Too stupid to know who he works for, but smart enough to commandeer and operate a particle accelerator. The fat blond"babushka" FBI agent who carries a flask of moonshine with her on suspect interrogations (huh!?) and, despite her physical limitations, is able to hustle her way up a mountain trail in backwoods Georgia ion hot pursuit of three adults and an uncontrollable autistic teenager. Or Alabama. Or wherever that scene was set. Uncontrolled use of profanity underscores the author's limited language resources. Someone give this guy a thesaurus.
At the moment, I have 27 minutes left to go on this audiobook. The big finale is coming. Ho hum. Please, just make it quick. I'll listen to the end with the same sort of horrified fascination that might hit me as I flip the channels past Dr. Phil trying to help someone undo the trainwreck that they call their life. Had I known that this thing would never improve, I would have backed out at 2 or 3 hours. You have better things to do with your life. Skip this torture.
Nothing more to say. One of the best audiobooks I've ever listed too.
Great book. Kept me glued to my seat. I too got a little tired of Sean Drummond's incessant wise guy sarcasm. It's a bit over the top at times. I was a bit disappointed with the plot solution, as I thought the author backed himself into it by eliminating (most of) the rest of the possibilities. As for the reviewer who's offended by the treatment of the south? Um...Pay attention: No one except his arrogant and judgmental protagonist is spared. Everyone in the book is mostly unhinged with one character defect or another. The seven deadly sins are well represented, with pride, envy and greed showing up in spades. Add plain old sloppy thinking, bureaucratic backstabbing and the results of bad parenting to the mix, and it seems that the author has most of the federal government payroll neatly compartmentalized in one overly simplified psychological stereotype or another. Except, of course, for our hero Sean.
But a very good ride with some really good plot pyrotechnics, compelling and clever police-work writing and tight plot construction. If I could make one adjustment it would be to add more one or two more actually likable characters to the mix.
Loved the reader, was very impressed by the prose. But alas, could not, for the life of me, find any reason at all to keep listening past 4 hours. I kept waiting for something to happen that would make me care about the characters, the plot, the story, tomorrow, today, Wednesday...Anything. It felt to me like one non-sequitur after another, with nothing holding any of it together. I knew I was done with it when, sitting in rush hour traffic, I switched over to the local NPR affiliate, and, finding it in the middle of a fund drive, kept listening to the pleas for donations. They say a book needs to grab its reader in the first page. I don't agree, but I do think that 4 hours ought to be enough.
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