The story develops in many European cities just before world war 1. Initially the characters are well shaped , the atmosphere captivating and the plot intriguing . Boyd writes with a confident and fluent style which makes the reading very enjoyable...However as the story progresses the plot becomes shaky (and frankly less credible) and Boyd seems uncertain as to how wrap it up . The end of the journey is somewhat disappointing , particularly because the first half of the book is so engaging..
All in all enjoyable (i.e. good,but not great)
Few writers can capture the spirit of the second world war , describe characters and atmosphere like Alan Furst. However at times -and this happens too often in this book- he lets the story plot wander without direction, gets lost in useless details (three minutes to describe the content of the library of a minor character without any relevance in the actual development of events) and goes on and on without getting anywhere. My hearth bleeds , but this time, no matter how much i usually like his books , i have to give him a rating of two stars.
I know am biased : i am firmly convinced that Lawrence Block's Matthew series lays on the the top of the thrillers stories of the past 30 years . I've read all the books in "real time" (i.e. when they were first published) and now i've the pleasure to discover them in an audio format. The books have not aged a bit as Matt Scudder's stories provide what one expects from a great thriller : an intriguing and tense plot, engaging characters , great atmosphere and a tension that builds up as you turn the pages . They are well written , captivating and make you feel a great empathy with the lonely hero , Matt Scudder.
Do not miss it !
I had high expectations for this book and am really disappointed. Both the story plot and the writing style are trivial and bland ; the description of the historical setting (early 20th century in the early Soviet Union) is not credible (no more than the reproduction of Venice in a Las Vegas hotel...). Phony , weak and a bit boring ....
I believe Lawrence Block “at his best” is among the three top thriller writers of the past 20 (30?) years. A great writer, but also very inconsistent: he reaches his best in the Matt Scudder books where the affinity with the main character, the need to deliver complex and consistently new plots, the familiar New York ambiance (where Scudder stories are taking place) truly inspire him and contribute to deliver excellent results. While the Rodenbarr’s series are pleasant, but lightweight, the Keller books were surprising and stunning at first, but get repetitive and almost boring as new episodes come out, Matt Scudder continue to grip the reader with wit, dark dramas and the finely described characters and the environment of New York.
Scudder is following two cases at once: one involving a girl, a would-be
actress, who has been missing for several months. The second is more personal and involves the dead of an AA friend. In both the situations the police has given up and the leads few and scants. Suddenly both cases fortuitously intertwine and …..
By the way, Dan Butler is superb !
A very classic set up : a somewhat romantic private detective (a looser/winner) with hardly any client, a secretary with a character, a case without cause .. Notwithstanding the clichés , this is the hell of a good book, very well written, Look forward the second episode...
No writer can -like Alan Furst- describe the unique atmosphere of France during the second world war and create characters that are complex, credible and engaging. This book is more than just a spy story: is about the second world war, about Paris , about adventure with a zest of romantics . The plot itself is not particularly surprising nor breathless, but the pleasure of reading is intact till the very end.
Geoge Guidall does a fabulous job (and his French pretty good)
The story is told by different characters in an unduly complex fashion and finally unfolds leaving the reader with doubts, lack of clarity and generally mixed feelongs. May be this is the purpose and the message of the book, but i found challenging to complete the reading. I also found that South Africa is presented with too many stereotypes ; this country deserves a better insigth.
I got almost annoyed with author of the book. He writes beautifully, but the plot is unconvincing and the three main characters are excessively self-absorbed in contemplating their unhappiness and , more generally, the unavoidable misery of the human condition. There is no room for real passion, hope, and engagement. It is all grey and hopeless.
My last book of Michael Cunningham !
I felt that the last few Michael Connelly novels were disappointingly repetitive and far less exciting than the first ones. The plots were not credible and lacking interest. The character of Hyeronimous Bosh was also fading and lacking the intensity that used to make him so attractive.
The Black Box reconciles me with both Connelly and Bosh ; i listened to the book in 48 hours and -to say the least- i really got into the story.
Welcome back H Bosh !!
Demille has been a great story teller with engaging books such as Word Of Honor, Up Country, Spencerville, where action, introspection (characters beautifully carved out) , a pinch of sex and of humor would keep high your attention and your interest through the end of the book. Those days have gone. The book is endless and it is a challenge to get through the end. The character of John Corey has worn out and it is both boring and pathetic with his jokes of a 15 years old... Neléson Demille, you can do better ..
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