I enjoyed the previous two books and was disappointed with this third installment. Unlike some of the other reviewers, however, my disappointment was not with the abrupt ending. It was with the novel itself. The story 'reads' like a plot outline -- with absolutely no character development whatsoever even by Jeffrey Archer's standards. So Character A, for example, will go from being a difficult child to a model adolescent with absolutely no explanation as to what brought the change about. Character B, besotted with his wife and willing to forsake all else at her request, is able to move on from his infatuation at the drop of a dime. Of course, the infatuation seems absurd from the start since Character C, the wife, is a cartoonish Cruella Deville without a single redeeming quality -- and the fact that Character B fell madly in love with her seems, well, out of character. In this novel, the characters are all lowercase and act however they have to at that moment in order to move The Plot along. And, believe me, The Plot moves...at dizzying speed and in all kinds of preposterous directions. It's almost like if Archer is thinking of what will happen next as he types! In fact, I am not even sure what "the Best Kept Secret" was meant to be since the story line regarding what I THOUGHT was "the secret" does not get resolved. In fact, it is not even mentioned in the last 50 or more pages of The Plot. (Could it be that the audible production did leave a section out?) If you are a Jeffrey Archer fan, by all means, download it. It's not deep, but it is kind-of entertaining. I am sure I will buy the next one.
Great story of interconnected stories. Great characters, with more depth than one usually expects in a typical police procedural because it's more than a mere police procedural--it's a story about inner conflicts and demons, about love and friends and choosing between what's right and what's wrong when love and friends are involved. I will look for more from this author, in both his aliases.
I almost didn't download this because I thought it would be impossible to craft anything truly engrossing in such a short time. The truth is that it didn't feel like a novel. As I suspected, too short. However, if viewed as a novella (or a long short story), it was outstanding. Great story. Delivered in layers (the 'present time' is less than a day, the flashbacks recount a time seven years earlier). Excellent performances.
Roller-coaster from beginning to end, with a very likable protagonist. Will have to look at more Winslow books.
I loved "The Troop" and actually saved "The Deep" for an upcoming trip. What a disappointment!!! In The Troop, the characters come alive amidst the horror. In The Deep, the characters remain shallow and unbelievable. Not a single one becomes real. And the story, quite frankly, never progresses. Creepy, horrific thing after creepy, horrific thing happens to the protagonists but I, for one, did not care. And don't be deceived by the promise of what this author could do with a plague that makes people forget (two thirds of the publisher's summary devoted to this theme)...the book itself deals with this issue for about as long as the publisher's summary. Perhaps if I had not kept waiting for the book to return to that subject, I would not have been so impatient with the novel. Did the author forget...?
Mr. Cutter is a great craftsman, in total command of his words. The writing is indeed good. Wish the story was better.
Mr. Brill does a phenomenal job with the narration. I probably would not have bothered to finish it were it not for him.
At first, it seems like a pretty simple (but enjoyable) tale of bad vs good: the old man gets robbed and refuses to take it lying down. But then the novel becomes much more, culminating in a terrific finale. I enjoyed every minute and don't want to spoil it for you. Download it. You won't regret it.
I have to admit that I did not expect this to be so enjoyable. A great mix of humor and suspense. The 11-year-old heroine is funny and smart. The plot is great. You don't even realize that you are on the edge of your seat because you're smiling most of the way. Towards the end, I could not put it down. In fact, I stayed awake in bed listening to the last twenty minutes at one in the morning. Can't wait to read something else by Peter Abrahams. And James Daniels did an excellent job as well.
The publisher's summary says "The Hunger of the Wolf is a novel about what it means to be a man in the world of money. It is a story about fathers and sons, about secrets that are kept within families, and about the cost of the tension between the public face and the private soul." Except that THAT is what The Hunger of the Wolf wants to BE...but isn't. It starts out brilliantly--Mr. Marche is a phenomenal writer--but then it fizzles. The commentary about what it means to be "a man in the world of money" isn't insightful or revealing enough--there are moments of cleverness, but simply moments. The relationship between fathers and sons (yes, it's meant to be a key part of the novel) is not paid off because none of the relationships depicted here have any real depth (the novel covers three or four generations and it's only 8 hours long...that should tell you something). And the costs of maintaining a public face while hiding the truth about yourself is too obvious a theme, revealed without any subtlety. The brothers are werewolves (I am not giving that much away; you find out as soon as the caretaker's son stumbles upon all kinds of documents spelling out the family's history--hard to believe that a family so obsessed with privacy would leave all these documents laying around for the taking, but whatever). But the werewolf theme is just there, barely affecting anyone, really (in fact, if you like werewolf novels, this one will disappoint you; if you don't like werewolf novels, that won't be the reason you dislike this one). It is almost a side note, even though it's meant to be 'the key' to the family's tragic history (yes it's supposed to be a metaphor for the 'wildness inside' except that, again, it is not a deep or surprising metaphor. Simply there.) I think this novel needed to be longer--although I am loathe to say this since I really couldn't wait for it to be over. Cannot recommend, which is a tragedy itself considering the promise of the first 20 minutes or so.
The most interesting thing about this book is the publisher's summary. The book itself is incredibly tedious. At the start of the novel, the totally unlikeable heroine is indeed panicked (as the publisher has told you) when she realizes that her boyfriend and friends are about to be released from prison. You realize that she did something bad and left them behind to pay the consequences. OK, so far the story shows promise. Except then...it doesn't go anywhere. You see endless flashbacks to the girl's childhood which are kind of predictable. She has it tough (although not that tough, really--there's a five minute bit where the author tells you how the girls parents were not married when she was born so she drifted from this home to that home to that home until her parents got back together again and moved to the town where the story takes place...that feels like it was added after the fact because the author realized that the girl's current home life was not bad enough to account for the girl's feeling of self pity!). She meets the town's loved child. She meets his friends. They drift aimlessly (the kids' stupid behavior is hard to believe....well, it is actually IMPOSSIBLE to believe, as is the entire novel). Then bad thing happens and guys go to prison while girl goes to Europe and ends up repairing antiques (the descriptions of some of these antiques are annoyingly long...and lack any kind of beauty; sounding almost like excerpts from wikipedia). Then the kids get out of prison...and more preposterous plot 'meanderings' ensue(not surprising enough to be called 'twists'), some are actually groan-worthy...Anyway, read at your own peril. Or if you need something to help you fall asleep.
I have to admit I could not stop listening. Rushing by real life just to get back to this. Great writing (yes, there are some actions that stretch credibility, but it didn't really affect my enjoyment). Rachel is one of the best unreliable narrators I have encountered. She is giving you the wrong account of what happened but only because that's the account that she believes at the time...and because she can't quite remember. The 'truth' is that everything here is not as it seems: the way the characters remember the past is unreliable, the way the characters perceive the present is unreliable, and--most importantly--the way the characters see each other is not to be trusted.
The three narrators (Rachel is one of three female first persons telling the story) are excellent readers. Their voices pitch perfect.
I can't wait for this author's next book. What will she think of next?
It starts out great. You expect to see two cunning, ruthless masterminds pitched against each other. Except it goes nowhere. One step forward (the current plot line from the murderer's point of view), two steps back (a story from his past that is supposedly going to help us understand him). One step forward (the current plot line from the hunter's perspective), two steps back (a story from his past that is supposedly going to help us understand him). One step forward again, two steps back again; one step forward again, two steps back again...It would have been fine if the current plot line got farther faster...or if the backflashes actually felt meaningful, but after the first one all of them start sounding the same...and the whole thing becomes extremely tedious. I tried, but could not finish this one.
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