This is one of the early Matt Scudder's stories. You can tell that Lawrence Block is still working on Matt's character , but the story runs smooth with a terrific description of the New York "ambiance" . Definitively a good reading !
Like in the most romantic stories, Amy and Nick, young, good-looking, and somewhat successful writers meet at a party in New York, fall in love and get married. Five years later very little - if anything – of the magic has remained. They have lost their job and moved to a small town in the mid-west. All of a sudden, Amy is missing. And from there, a more and more surprising and devious plot develops, supported by the elegant and witty style of a Gillian Flynn, a very talented writer.
The story transcends the basics of the thriller plot (is Amy dead? Did Nick kill her?) and talks cleverly about the disillusion of a couple that grows cynical about their own relationship (when reality substitutes the image that each partner had presented initially), about life in small-town America (versus New York )and the power and influence of the media .
The first half of the book –the one talking about the story of Amy and Nick prior to her disappearing and about the first couple of days of Amy missing- is so well written and engaging that made me think that this was truly the best book I had read for a long time. From then onwards, however, the story starts getting unduly complex and loses the elegant momentum it had initially.
Many readers find the end disappointing; I rather think that is “cerebral” as if Gillian Flynn felt the need to construct rationally an end that would be “psychologically consistent” with the trajectory of the main characters. I would have preferred something coming more from the guts..
Despite the shortcomings, I enjoyed tremendously the book and had great time in reading it .
I love Alain Furst , a truly good writer with an incredible insight into the years preceding the second world war and the capability to beautifully describe characters and atmospheres... But , this time again, the plot is weak with no momentum and clear direction. So the reader get lost (or bored) and loses gradually interest for the story.
Daniel Gerroll is by far not fitting the bill and his narration is at time embarrassing.
All in all, a deception!
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, one can find the strengths of Connelly’s books (and of the Harry Bosh saga): a linear story, a very solid and credible plot, characters well depicted and a catchy Los Angeles providing as usual a great background to the action. However, somehow the book is not engaging as most of the Bosh stories used to be. May be is Bosh that has aged: from the passionate, intense, almost dark hero that used to be, Harry is now a grumpy, a bit cynical cop flirting with (and fighting) retirement. Glimpses into his private life –that should provide pauses and contrast to the thriller plot- are frankly boring: he is a worrying father to a teenage girl without really other interest or relationship. This is emblematic of the lost charisma of Bosh and a key to understand why this book is less engaging than the first ones of the series. I must however say that, in relative terms, is by far not the worse book that Connelly has recently written. In fact, in absolute terms, the book is overall a good experience and had no problems in keeping up through the (good) end.
This book is written as an autobiographic diary, and, at first, one can find it a bit obvious, if not boring, as the main character, Logan Montstuart (LMS), writes about his experiences of young middle-class boy going to public school and discovering life. But then quickly the story grows in intensity, interest and emotions, as Boyd draws his character with more decisive strokes and blends him in the “air du temps”. In his 85 years of life, LMS (a writer, art dealer, spy, professor and many things more) goes through the most complex periods and events of the 20th century not as a hero, but simply as a close witness. He happens to meet famous people (Picasso, Hemmingway, Virginia Wolff, Ian Fleming and Edward VIII, to name a few) to live in different countries and continents, to be involved in complex plots, but always as a witness or rather as someone that casually happens to be there rather than somebody truly driving his life and destiny. As he gets old, LMS becomes self reflective on his own experiences and more generally on life and its meaning. The reader, at the beginning a distant witness of his life, becomes more and more involved and moved by the uneven trajectory of LMS, his rise and fall, and his melancholic journey through old age.
The book is far from being perfect (at times one feels that episodes and famous characters are “thrown in” simply to make the story interesting and keep the momentum), but Boyd is a wonderful writer and little by little seduces and engages deeply the reader.
All in all, I truly enjoyed it !
South of France, late 50s…Imagine Dean, a young man a young man dropout of a prestigious university (I immediately thought of James Dean), meeting Marie, a young woman (think of Jean Seberg ) who works as a clerk in a small company. He is rich, reckless, charming and a daydreamer. Drives a luxurious cabriolet, but lives on borrowed money. She is quiet, low profile, modest and passionate. They meet, make love, and travel all over France in his borrowed car. Theirs is affection with sex, probably not love; complicity without true communication, melancholy without dreams. All along there is a lingering sense of disaster inevitably approaching.
James Salter is a wonderful writer: his prose is elegant and delicate and the characters are beautifully sketched out. The sex scenes are explicitly described, but Dean and Marie feelings are portrayed in a fuzzy, tentative way as they were a distant dream. The sense of the passing time –that is so present in all his books- and the magnificent atmosphere of the changing seasons in South of France are a wonderful background to the story.
A great book of a superb author.
I was not familiar with the author, but a ravish review from a listener i am following - thanks Mindusk.-;) - triggered my curiosity and i finally decided to go for it. I am glad i did it : i spent 16 hours of pure enjoyment . The plot sounds trivial : the fairytale life of a successful businessman and adored husband comes abruptly to an end in 24 hours : betrayed by the people he loved and trusted, he is financially ruined, physically handicapped after barely surviving a car crash and jailed. From then onwards it is only a matter of survival and revenge . Sounds familiar ? It is , but this book is much more than a new take of the Montecristo count or similar stories. It is engaging, exceptional and complex and very well written. A pure enjoyment !
This is more a book addressed to students that need to learn about the different aspects of the Incas civilization for a specific exam, than to "average Joe" interested to learn about the history of a great civilization in all its vibrant aspects . The clash with the Spaniards and the end of the Incas empire is dealt quickly in the last chapter , almost as it was an addendum to the details of the religious ceremonials or of the variety of the Incas pottery.
The recording (and at times the reading) of prof D'Altroy is at times poor ; not a big deal, but gives a sense of sloppiness
A very complex plot set in the South Africa , a vibrant country full of contrasts and charms. Deon Meyer delivers yet a very readable and enjoyable book. Having been a fan of Deon Meyer from his beginning, i have however a couple of criticisms to make. First, it seems that too much emphasis is made on keeping the story moving fast ,upbeat, at all the time tense. Second, Meyer seems to focus more on engineering a complex and articulated plot than on developing the characters. The first Meyer's books were perhaps slow moving , but the reader would enter into the atmosphere of the country and the depth of the characters. This is what am looking for (even in a thriller book) and , ultimately, what makes the difference between a "good" and a "great" book.
I’ve read in “real time” all the Scudder’s books as they were published, but the pleasure to listen to listen to them few years later has not changed. In this story we find a Matt Scudder going trough a more settled period of his life (living with Elaine and working with TJ , almost like a “normal” detective). The plot is a more conventional of a mystery/thriller story –and a bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie. A group of young 31 "honorable" men engage themselves to meet every year –bound in a sort of life-long fraternity- until the last remaining member alone will be alive. After a few years one member suspects that too many of them are dying too young and in too large numbers. Scudder is hired to investigate and…..
This mystery has a pleasant pace with an intriguing scenario supported by great dialogue and interesting NY characters. A must read !
If you've a vague or no idea of the ancient Greek history and you'd like to know the big picture , this book is for you. The history is presented with clarity and it is easy to follow. However for more knowledgeable readers this is far too light , i.e more an high school book than a source for more academic information. The author goes trough smoothly major events and anecdotes without really trying to raise and discuss more interesting issues that go behind battles and kings.
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