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 would have rated this higher if Lescroart had imagined a way to crash that helicopter before the a*******s started shooting. Depictions of animal abuse always harsh my buzz, even when enjoying an otherwise great listen. That being said, this one contained an uncharacteristic level of raw violence for a lawyery book. I'd say this was Robert Lawrence's best performance of the three, and he's improved a lot. His voice was really well suited to the subject matter here. All in all, in my opinion, this was the most gripping of the series so far, and yes, I am a fan.
Robert Lawrence has a great voice, but sounds like he's reading from a poorly-paced teleprompter and paying no attention to punctuation. His female voices are terrible; all sound whiny or weepy, no matter the subject matter. He may be one of those male readers who simply cannot "do" female voices, though I think all of these problems could improve, if he tried. In the meantime, it's too bad that the narration is the most memorable thing about this presentation.
I was following along fairly comfortably for about the first half, in spite of some shortcomings; but then, it occurred to me that he was neglecting his pet cat, and really showed no concern for it until he decided to "play the cat card" to gain sympathy for himself. But even without my hypercritical arousal, the end fell flat all on its own. It almost seemed as if someone else wrote it. I'm not saying something like that couldn't happen, but it needed more foundation to make it plausible. Like, more than the cat was neglected. Anyway, as far as it goes, at least it's a story. I'm sure Mr. Parks has his fans.
I have several other Jennifer Crusie books that I really enjoyed, but this one, though some of the dialogue was fun, just dragged on way too long. I had thought Jennifer Crusie could probably make anything entertaining, but I guess there's only so much you can do with a bunch of dead people as your cast of characters. Kids that are either sulking or screaming most of the time don't help the situation, either. I got halfway through, though, so perhaps would have finished if most of the nonessential moaning and blubbering and bed-hopping were removed to make a book of half the current length. I guess I'll give up on Jennifer Crusie, though. Just not consistent enough to be in my "favorite author" category.
They say authors should write what they know, and I assume Marti Green did some of that, but not the parts that interested me. I thought the premise sounded promising, with murdered children in the woods and someone facing execution for it; but the parts dealing with the legal proceedings and private investigations were disappointingly weak, while most of the book focused on the humdrum dealings of working and stay-at-home moms dealing with disabled and diseased offspring. There are good books out there dealing with those subjects, but I wasn't expecting it in a murder mystery. All that aside, it was just appalling how inept virtually all the professionals seemed. Total amateurs. I like to learn something from legal, medical, and police procedural novels that I read, though I know they are fiction; but this one taught me nothing. And I knew whodunit almost from the start. No challenge.
As for the narrator: though I usually really like that kind of light fast-paced voice, NOT when it's having to strain that much to differentiate a bunch of male voices. It kinda hurts to listen to that. They do make computer equipment that can simulate voices, if she really thinks she needs to sound like a man. Seems like it would be a good investment, if for no other reason than to protect her own perfectly lovely voice. Really, you can get nodules on your vocal cords fooling around like that.
This was a really interesting book, but I never would have bought it if I hadn't realized how to deal with the reader. It wouldn't be the first time I'd have opted for the print version, or passed altogether based on a response to the audio. I really disliked her, and noticed some other reviewers had the same reaction. So I was going to put her on my list of readers to avoid, but then realized I had another book in my library read by her, and had rated her just fine. Then I realized that I'd accelerated the playback speed somewhere between 30 and 50 percent on that book, and for some reason that totally fixes her. That aside, I found that looking back on that era was quite sobering. Could it be only 50 years ago that this country was as bigoted as some of the countries we sneer at now for their backward societies? Well, shake it off. It was quite a story, and parts were even lighthearted and very entertaining.
I thought the story was pretty solid until the end, which got a little wobbly. However, I really didn't care for Kevin Collins' personification of the main character. His voice just didn't sound likely as a defense attorney. I know they all don't sound like Perry Mason, but I never heard one who came off so whiny and kind of pathetic. For that matter, I think it would have been a good idea to make friends with some lawyer or maybe just sit in one of their bars and start a conversation about what they might do to resolve a situation such as that at the end of the book. I think it needed more work.
I really think Dean Koontz is a very good writer, but why does he think he needs all the fantasy junk to make a good story? It's not like there isn't enough real evil in the world for him to write about. I kept listening up to the point that I figured there would be no natural or scientific explanation coming out of the woodwork, but really, there aren't enough hours in a day to spend 15 of them listening to something like this. I guess I'll keep it in my library for next Halloween, since I always like bizarre crap for that particular holiday, but really, I can't recommend this for anyone who thinks they want a good mystery/detective novel.
I'm willing to accept authors' fantasies about how dogs think about things most of the time, but this just looks like Paul Auster got tired of writing this book and decided to hack it off with a scene that is not only unpleasant, but carries the fantasy way too far. Though some humans apparently have played games like that, it's stretching too far to think that a dog would do it. I hate it when authors don't do their homework before starting to write.
When I find an author I like, I always check whether there are other audio books by the same author; and if not, I go to Amazon to find books not yet recorded. Nothing! How could he do such a good job the first time out? I take my hat off to you, Mr. McKenzie. Mark Bramhall really worked out well as the narrator, too. More, please!
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