Despite the reviews, I hesitated downloading "Defending Jacob" because of the subject matter (kid/parent angst, bullies, person-trapped-in-the-legal-system, etc.). It seemed like it would be a predictable plot. I couldn't have been more wrong!
This is one of the best court room drama?family drama? suspense novel? I have read/listened to. The characters were incredibly well developed -- the parents' relationship with their son was almost painful just because it was so believable ("this could have happened to anyone!"). The plot is incredibly intense. I literally sat in a parking lot with my mouth open as the final minutes were read. And the PERFORMANCE!!! A tour de force. The reader did such an unbelievable job that I am actually afraid to recommend the novel to people who might just 'read' it because I felt he added so much (was the novel THIS good in print?). Could not praise this audiobook enough.
(I read Mr. Landay's two previous novels recently -- I saw the great reviews of "Defending Jacob" but, like I said, I was avoiding it because of the plot, so I chose to read his earlier books first. Obviously, the author is mastering his craft. I can't wait for his next novel!)
The other reviews already mention the bizarre cast of characters. The darkest of the dark. We follow them along their twisted and on-and-off converging paths. Horrified, mesmerized...and, one has to admit, very much entertained at the hands of an expert storyteller and an excellent narrator. Bravo!
The "stalker" theme seems to be all around us lately and is, quite frankly, not my favorite. Would probably not have even considered this had it not been for a post on Facebook by a friend whose tastes on books I usually share (the fact that this is how I came upon this book is actually ironic). So glad I followed her advice! And so glad I listened to "You" rather than read it on paper. Mr. Fontana is PERFECT as the first person narrator--the stalker who becomes increasingly obsessed with his prey. And Ms. Kepnes keeps your interest throughout, with the lies and deceptions becoming more and more involved, preposterous...and believable. It will make you want to reset all your social media privacy settings. It will make you cringe. And it will make you laugh! Yes, there's a lot of humor here. (Considering the theme, it is actually a pretty light--if riveting--read). Well done! I can't wait for her next one.
The book started out great, with what seemed like an original premise...then it derailed. Read only if you don't mind that police officers and government officials are portrayed as absolute imbeciles (there is no other explanation for how the main character is allowed to continue on his merry way, investigating a situation on his own with disastrous consequences for all). The main character is an imbecile too--so many of his actions are simply preposterous (two of the female characters mention his "boyish" nature...and he does indeed behave like a fifteen-year-old several times...perhaps his actions might have seemed more believable if he was indeed a teenager). The dialogue between him and the women of his life is painfully stilted and hard to listen to. The female characters are mostly stereotypes (the author uses the word "vulnerable" as a compliment when describing two of the female characters, need I say more?) Towards the end I was tempted to stop listening several times.
Alex Marwood might just be my new favorite author. I liked "Wicked Girls." "The Killer Next Door" is even better. A brilliant portrayal of urban life--with all its forgotten, discarded lives--coupled with a serial murderer that, as the title states, lives next door to the novel's 'inhabitants.' Brilliantly plotted. Brilliant character development. Brilliant narrator. I was riveted...and so incredibly disappointed when it came to an end. Highly recommend.
SO incredibly disappointing. At first I was OK with listening to the ridiculously trivialized view of history, but then it got simply BORING. To be honest, I have a mere 45 minutes left to listen to and I had to go off and read a 'real' book. ZERO character development: The thing that made Follett's previous pseudo-historical pieces fun was that the characters seemed to come to life. NONE of that here. The characters are cartoon stereotypes who are obviously 'acting' with the benefit of historical hindsight. ZERO subtlety, Mr. Follett. Did you have interns write this or did you simply phone it it? (And ZERO plot: A fast-forward through the last century's main events with the characters--every single one of them--having inane discussions or thoughts about the other characters' butts or nipples or the possibility of sleeping with them...even as cataclysmic events are supposedly taking place.) #ACartoon
This was such an unexpected treat. Touching. Funny. Real. And ultimately uplifting.
The narration is also perfect. In fact, I went in search of more books read by this author and found, to my extreme surprise, that there was a sequel. Of course I downloaded it, knowing that it could never match "600 Hours," but I was simply glad not to have to let go of Edward just yet.
I listened to this book over a weekend, which is roughly the timeframe of the story...so I felt that I had spent those days with the characters. Laugh-out-loud funny and tragic at the same time, with the most preposterous things happening but told in a way that makes them make total sense. "OF COURSE, he takes the dead dog along!" Highly enjoyable. Very human. Very well done.
Vampires, kidnapped babies, scientific mysteries, international intrigue, romance, Dan Simmons....How could it have turned into such a tedious listen???? I am convinced that Mr. Simmons needed a way to make his trip to Hungary tax-deductible. He clearly did not give the plot of this novel much thought. As the reviewers have said, the narrator was not great (and some of the characters did end up sounding ridiculous), but the author was much more to blame for this audible failure.
First time with this author. I was lured by the exceptional reviews and the promise of a Twilight Zone/paranormal mystery series. Who knows what the story behind the Pines really is...I could not finish it! I kept waiting for the characters to become real, for the plot to go beyond the main character getting away from his captors and being captured again getting away from his captors and being captured again getting......The writing is 'almost' good, but I finally realized that I had listened to HALF the book and was still waiting for it to start. Gave up. No, I cannot recommend it (unless you have endless patience).
If you have never read a John Verdon novel, you're in for a treat...BUT not with this one. Read one of his earlier novels instead (the first two are my favorite). Here, the character slips from likable to ludicrously irresponsible--for no apparent reason...and what''s even worse--since, after all, this is fiction--without the character's usual charm. (You'll wonder why Madeline doesn't hit him over the head with a shovel already.) The mystery itself is not great either. And the protagonist's usual sleuthing skills seem to falter. In fact, you'll probably figure out what happened way before he does. In former Verdon novels, the puzzles are impossible runic cubes that he magically assembles (making you see the reality from a totally different angle than you were expecting). Here it's more of a "hangman's knot." It was still 'entertaining' and perhaps I would not have felt so disappointed if I were not such a fan of this author. Hope the next one is better. I will definitely give him another chance. (The reader is the same reader as in the third in the series. He's good -- a million times better than Scott Brick, who read the second novel and was a horrible choice -- but not as good as the reader of the first novel, who was superb.
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