The premise that makes the story possible is a tad silly (I cannot say more without divulging too much). That said, I was hooked from the very beginning and could not wait to see what would happen next. Some of the twists you see coming -- but not too, too far ahead of the moment when they are actually revealed (so it only makes you feel good about your sleuthing). The narrator was phenomenal. And the character of Frieda extremely human.
The second book in the series is already out (last month, I believe), but not on Audible. I hope it's only a matter of (not much) time. I can't wait to read it.
Grisham is not back. While Sycamore Row is slightly better than the author's last novel, the writing is just as lazy. I could not make myself finish it. Quite simply, I was too bored! Plus, the stereotypical portrayal of blacks and "rednecks" is hard to take. Even the 'smart' black woman who manages to crawl out of the family garbage to become the lawyer's secretary is a stereotype -- and perhaps there so that people don't outright protest Mr. Grisham's condescension/racist portrayals. The narrator might be making it worse (making every black and/or poor character sound mildly retarded), but I don't think so.
Then there's the question of the "hero." He makes it quite clear that his main preoccupation is his own financial situation, so not much there to admire. (At one point he convinces the beneficiary that she does not need her own lawyer….but when there's an offer of a settlement, he says to the other attorneys that he does not have to relay the offer to her because he is not her lawyer. So he duped her? So much for hero.)
However, like I said, the reason I could not finish it was mainly boredom. SO predictable. In fact, I got halfway through and I can pretty much tell you what the (SPOILER ALERT, even though I have not finished the book:) "surprise" ending will be: the long lost brother is found; it will turn out that he and his brother witnessed a horrific crime by their family against Lettie's family -- possible their father raping Lettie's mother; that is why the old man left her the money. So there. I could not put up with another 6 hours to hear what I am sure I pretty much guessed hours ago.
I plan to get my credit back.
I had never read anything by this author and have to say I really enjoyed her writing. She talks about the pain and suffering of daily life -- and how the smallest twists and turns can derail someone's path -- but with a lot of wit. I found myself laughing out loud many times, but also identifying with many of the characters' anguish.
The story has a few implausible coincidences and I guessed the "husband's secret" almost immediately, but neither thing affected my enjoyment. Like I said in the headline to this review, I was sorry to leave the characters behind when the book was over. I immediately downloaded another book by Moriarty ("The Hypnotist's Love Story") to see if it would be inhabited by similar people. So far, it's not as good as The Husband's Secret, but still a fun read.
I agree, this is not The Stand (would have given the story three and a half stars if I could have -- but not four). Still, King's trademark cast of many characters (most either very, very good or very, very bad) and the way they react under pressure kept me hooked from beginning to end. The explanation behind The Dome is a bit disappointing, but in a way perfectly explains what the novel is about: human nature -- and how quickly society can come apart when faced with unknown duress.
I was an avid King fan years ago and stopped listening when his novels seemed to be aimed at younger and younger audiences. I was glad I decided to listen to this one.
Raul Esparza was a brilliant narrator. This was the first time I have listened to one of his reads. Will have to keep an 'ear' out for others.
The premise was excellent. The writing simply didn't live up to it.
The parts where the protagonist is young and "innocent" are way too simplistic. The effort to build suspense is too painstaking and heavy handed. The language that the author creates to show the power of words is almost ridiculous. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, even the ones who supposedly 'change' do so in very predictable ways.
Maybe this is a novel for teens and I missed that. It was certainly not for me. I could not make myself finish it.
The male narrator is not bad. The female narrator is grating.
I will assume you've read the publisher's summary (the book is about a mad experiment to clone famous serial killers, etc., etc.).
Apparently, there was a YA book released with this book written from the perspective of one of the clones (who pairs with the main protagonist to try to solve the mystery). Well, I can't imagine how much more YA than THIS version it can be. Except for the incredibly vicious, brutal (and oftentimes gratuitous) depictions of violence, this certainly did not feel like an adult novel.
Or perhaps the plot was simply too ambitious to leave room for much of anything else (such as character development). The sheer amount of space that had to be devoted to explaining who all these serial killers were created many stops-and-starts along the story.
All in all, it seemed to ramble.
If you're looking for a good clone-from-evil story, read the classic, The Boys from Brazil, instead.
This was my first P.T. Deuterman. I am not sure there will be a second.
My idea of a good mystery is that a seemingly unrelated collection of incidents and characters somehow converge at the end of the novel to solve a mystery, with the reader involved as a sort of ghost-like sleuth.
Here, we have practically unrelated story lines (the reviewer who says that the story bounces is putting it mildly) getting resolved one by one. Yes, of course, they are all sort of 'connected,' but the connection seems like an afterthought. The first set of murders is resolved, THEN another disappearance gets resolved, THEN another murder...Meanwhile we have this preposterous sideline story where people chase mountain lions (the lions could have been substituted by speed cars without blinking an eye -- they are that much of a sideline....In fact, I suspect that they were indeed something more realistic at one point, like speed cars, that were later exchanged in an attempt to make a rather-ahum story better......In my opinion, the attempt failed.)
In the end, there are incredible coincidences (what are the chances of THAT cast of characters being involved in the same random act of violence? And seriously, that other guy was the guy's brother????)....and (in my mind, a MAJOR flaw): a HUGE clue gives away the identity of the last "Bad Guy" (several "bad guys" are revealed and disposed off along the way) without our "hero" ever noticing (but it is SO obvious that you are simply waiting for it to happen...for pages, and pages...and pages.).
I have heard so much about the author -- and so many of the reviews gave this novel so much praise -- that I was expecting something better. Perhaps P.T. is just not for me.
The characters were well-developed and real. The plot interesting. I was excited, thinking I had found a new author to follow and then, all of a sudden, the.
Yes, that's what it felt like. I even went back and rewound, thinking I must have missed something. To me the story just hung there. It was so well written until that moment that I might just go ahead and give Ms. Mina another try...but not quite yet.
I can see why the reviewers were impressed with this debut novel. The characters are quite good. The depiction of the small town seems very real. And the plot is full of intricate twists and surprises that somehow make sense. The ending, I thought, was the best part. I am usually able to figure out the mystery ahead of time. In this case, I "saw it" almost at the same time as our protagonist, detective Stride. I disagree with the reviewer who said we did not have the evidence -- we did! Mr. Freeman was simply great at disguising it so you didn't even look in those particular corners.
This is my second Brian Freeman book. "Spilled Blood" was actually written later, so maybe he has simply gotten better as a thriller writer. "The Bone House" started off great. I was glued to my iPhone, waiting to see how all the pieces would fit together...except that, when they did, some of the coincidences were way too implausible and some of the characters' actions were way too off-character. It's a shame because, in some cases, it felt that just a little bit more thought could have fixed the problem. But the problem went unchecked. As a result, the last quarter of the book was a let down.
Still, I like Mr. Freeman's style (even when I found myself saying, "Seriously?!," I couldn't put it down), so I have downloaded a third Freeman novel. Here's hoping for another "Spilled Blood."
Joe Barrett is the perfect narrator.
I listen to audiobooks all the time. Perhaps I have been lucky, because I had never encountered this: a man reads the male parts of the story and a woman reads the female parts even within the same paragraph!!!! (I have seen other books where a male will read one chapter and a female another, like in Gone Girl. This is different -- the woman would read her one line of dialogue, for example, in the middle of a description read by the male reader). Incredibly distracting. Plus, their voices -- while both OK by themselves -- did not match each other.
I wonder if they recorded the entire book with the male reader and then found that his rendition of the female lines was not good? Whatever the reason, THIS was a mistake.
The story itself is only OK. This is perhaps my third or fourth Sakey book in a row (started with Brilliance and really enjoyed it). It was the weakest. As the publisher's blurb explains, this is the story about a run-of-the-mill couple who find $400,000 and decide to keep it -- with disastrous consequences. The theme (average people facing temptations they should have walked away from) is a common Sakey theme. In this novel, the conversations about "Woe is us, why did we do this when we had everything we wanted to already?" get repetitious. The twists and turns, as always, are ingenious (and surprising)...but the conversations get in the way.
I will read other Sakey's, for sure. But this one was only so-so.
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