The protagonist is clearly unhappy over the way he was marginalized in his fed job, but the story of how he redeemed himself leaves a lot to be desired if you're looking for a good spy read. His motivations are clear enough, but those of the villain are not always. It doesn't make sense for him to detour and risk his operation to murder people he'd known 30 years before, with whom he seemed to have had a cordial enough relationship, though it did give a clue to the protagonist as to who was behind the terrorist plot. I think the author could have tried to develop a more reasonable backstory for that clue. But then, too, there's the question about whether the terrorist truck drivers wouldn't have heard the CB and talk radio broadcasts and alerted the villain in time to salvage his operation. This plot is too simplistic for spy novel enthusiasts, though probably a fun read for trucker fans.
I've never read any J.K. Rowling, since I don't really like children's literature (or even young adult), but thought her writing might have something to recommend it since so many youngsters rave about her books. Also, as a mystery/thriller fan, I'm usually bored by mere daily-life stories, so really stepped outside the box on this one. It starts with a death and ends with about the saddest funeral scene ever, which are commonplace enough; but what goes on between those pages was amazing. No murderers, but one serious plan and one guy who thought he himself was one. How did J.K. invent a personality like that? Plenty of intrigue, too, so I didn't really miss the mystery.
Plus, Tom Hollander is such a great reader I hardly noticed him at all, which is how it should be. I looked for more books read by him, but guess he's too busy being an actor to narrate much. Figured he must have something else going on, or there would be hundreds I think.
I don't know how J.K. could create a sequel, but will be looking for more like this.
If they could have found a narrator who could make this book sound as silly as it is, it might have been entertaining. Really, Bellerini sounds like he's in mourning, no matter what the action. And those kidnappers would have been slaughtered about twice a day during the story course in any realistic book. They should have just been given a switch that turned them invisible, with uzis, whenever trouble came, and call it a fantasy. Then, there's all that moping by everyone - law enforcement, mobsters and kidnappers - like a bunch of lovesick teenagers. The only reason I rated it so high was that it did have sort of a plot and the action moved along with the road trip, so it could have been worse. Or maybe not. I might just be in a mellow mood.
What an inspired production. Listened to the whole book the day I got it, and it didn't even seem like that long a day. Just about everything that can go wrong, does. And the villains all survive. And usually long chase scenes are such a bore. Guess I'll have to listen to it again to try to figure out why I liked it, because I don't think I should have. Gripping.
but I really would have liked more individuation in the voices of the characters. Almost all the dialog was in that whispered conspiratorial tone of voice, no matter which character or the nature of the conversation. I suppose it would be a challenge for any narrator to do justice to such an international caste of characters, but realistically I think most of this dialog would benefit from a more assertive voice.
Narrator sounds like he's reading from a teleprompter or something; very humdrum and mechanical. The really disappointing thing, though, was all the missing material. He just read the production notes saying that material should be formatted for audio and read at some point, or a chart of something should be inserted here or there, but where are those charts and lists, etc? Other audiobooks that I've purchased have provided links to external sites or non-audio downloadable files on audible.com when non-text is part of the book. Needless to say, I'll be calling Audible about this tomorrow, since I want that material. Didn't want to do it today, since it New Year's Day, but this was supposed to be my big resolution project, and it's not off to a great start. Oh, well, I should know better. The book did contain some information that I didn't already have, but it doesn't hurt to hear a reminder given what I've done with all that fudge and feasting the last couple of weeks. It would have been better to include a few more tips on how to implement some of the changes, rather than just telling us why we should do something.
About the best thing I can say about this book is that if you're fighting insomnia, you can plug in your earbuds and let it talk you to sleep (and it will) for at least 6 hours without missing anything important. It's not that the author is a poor writer; she does a very nice job of describing all the furniture of every place the heroine visits, every ingredient of everything she eats, every sensation she experiences. Further, she seems terribly naive and inexperienced for someone who is supposed to be a powerful, adult witch. I thought this story might at least be a fun read, but it's not, so no reason to suffer though the rest of it.
This book has it all, and, though I thought it would feel a bit creepy reading about the adventures of a police detective in 1941 Berlin (and it does), still, the plot is gripping and the story held my interest. The characters are all complicated; not pleasant, but definitely not boring. None is really likeable, but I've learned to like Bernie Gunther nonetheless. He tries to do the right thing, but has a lot for an alcohol-muddled brain to handle. This is only the second book I've had from this series, but I think I've become a fan.
I really enjoyed all the clever quips and turns of phrase, which I hadn't noticed so much in the other two Mallory books that I've "read," possibly because Laural Merlington has just the right light touch in her reading to accentuate them, while those (Find Me and The Chalk Girl) were read by other people. Her portrayal of Mallory makes her a much more sympathetic character than she seemed in the other two books, though of course still pretty rough for a young woman. I've known girls who were almost that wild, though, so only had to stretch my "suspension of reality" a little. This is one book that I'll definitely listen to again sometime, probably even before I forget all the details. I thought it was fantastic.
I'm not sure I will listen to this book again, since the characters are so evil and the life of Carl Morck is such a downer I can't really say that reading it is a pleasurable experience. In fact, after the first book, I didn't think I wanted to tough out another one, but now I can't wait for the next book to come out. It looks like, based on the pace of producing the first two, maybe it will be another year? I've marked my calendar, Audible.
I think Jussi Adler-Olsen has a unique style, so the only comparable book would be Keeper of Lost Causes. His depiction of villains is uncompromising; nothing comic or in any way redeeming or even distracting. Of course, in this book one of the villains saves the day in the end, but that was really kind of an accident. He doesn't let anyone off the hook.
Steven Pacey did well enough that I didn't really have to pay any attention to him. I'd say he did a solid professional job
Everything that happened in that menagerie made me want to throw up. I would prefer that authors confine themselves to human victims, since humans at least have some hope of control, and have laws to protect them as well. I would prefer that animals and small children be off limits, but it's not like your overgrown schoolyard bully is going to pick on anyone that can defend him/her/itself, so I guess we just have to accept the realism of the plot.
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