Connelley's newest brings his two most well known characters together in a masterfully crafted story of legal gamesmanship and investigatory prowess very much in the style of Law and Order that is more heavily written as a Mickey Haller courtroom procedural than a police thriller. Harry Bosch plays a significant role, maybe as much as 40% of the story --and provides much of the action in the book, but it is the interaction of the two that adds some real personal interest. The half brothers are getting to know each other a little as are their daughters and these relationships promise avenues for some terrific storytelling in the future.
I think what impressed me the most about how Connelly executed this work was what he didn't do. There were at least half a dozen times in the book where he'd left the opportunity open for fairly obvious plot devices that authors over use to manipulate the reader or force a dramatic turn of events. Connelly's skill is in understanding that jaded readers expect these things and cynically predict them as we're reading. Just as we get to the point where we expect to turn the page to find the predictable forced plot twist, the story resolves in beautiful simplicity that feels far more real than any contrived t.v. show style drama. Bravo to Connelly for resisting the obvious. That said, there were some missed opportunities here that I think hint at future stories. For example, I look forward to some adventures that feature the newly acquainted cousins. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars. It was a good story and well executed, but may have left a little too much of the sub plot on the editing room floor.
I'm not a fan of Mr. Colacci's reading style. With no disrespect to this hard working narrator personally, I simply find that his reading carries the tone of someone reading to a child. I try to avoid picking books he's read when I'm shopping on Amazon.
The rest of the book was in line with the rest of the series. It's a good, interesting, story with a lot going on and tremendous creativity. Anderson's world building is thorough and detailed, and doesn't lean too heavily on old ideas. On the other hand, it's a bit late in the series to be dropping in entirely new types of players to the plot. There's a hint of deus ex machina at play when that happens.
Overall, I think four stars is about right.
I'm a big fan of Mr. King's work in the last several years. His books have been outstanding novels even if taken from the broader perspective of general fiction -- which is not something you can say about most horror or suspense novelists.
Mr. Mercedes was good, but not quite on the "great" scale of some of his other work. I'd call it a solid, workmanlike novel that checks all the right boxes, keeps you interested, follows a reasonable story arc, and entertains you for the hours you listen. It won't haunt you or stay with you for years the way some of his work does.
I'm glad I purchased it, and look forward to his next.
It's not so much a bad story, as just badly told. Scott Brick does a fairly good job narrating it, but you can tell that even he has a really hard time figuring out where to build tension. The story reaches a sort of ending then stretches on into a different story. It's like the author had a few different story ideas and sort of munged them together. The level of coincidental path crossing is almost silly. I've never gotten this far through a book and abandoned it with just an hour or two left to go, but I found I just don't care about anyone or anything in it.
This book is creepy in a bad way, not a good way. I'd been warned - in the comments there were other people saying that some of the discussion of the rape that goes on in the lawlessness that exists was a bit much. I'd say that's not really the problem. They're not really all that graphic, they just seem that way because they're so out of place. The problem is that it seems almost to be the purpose behind writing the book. The rest of content is about half story line and half depressing side stories that have nothing to do with any of the longer term characters. Those parts of the story that do follow any kind of plot arc are very thin and barely hold together as a framework that drags from one story about a pedophilic rapist to another. Only those parts of the story seem to really get the attention of the author. It's just bad, and I very much hope it doesn't reflect the inner mind of the author.
This is one of a very few books, less than 1%, that I've regretted bothering with. This installment features a British naval crew who supposed to be elite special forces, a submarine, and a space station crew -- yet the author clearly didn't bother to do any research into how any of those things operate or what they can do. Monsters are introduced in one scene and ignored the rest of the book. The ending is so trite and worn out that I saw it coming hours and hours ahead. I'm tempted to write it here just to warn anyone over the age of about 12 away from this book, but spoilers are bad form so I'll just stick to saying "I told you so" to anyone foolish enough to bother.
Like many of the books in this series, the plot - while plausible and well constructed -- isn't really all that important. The story is in the journey and the characters. Once again, Craig Johnson has found a way to insert a believable but strong mysticism into the story line without ever once stepping beyond the realm of events that are possible without any supernatural help. The reader is left convinced, but without needing to leave behind their sensibility. The adventure is wonderfully told.
The author treats serious topics with as much respect as he treats his characters.
In addition to a solid story, the writing is beautiful. I particularly enjoy Johnson's treatment of native American mysticism in this series. It is neither overstated nor treated as a trite superstition. Nothing that happens in the story could be called magic, or could not have happened with only common, non-mystic, explanations -- yet the beliefs and experiences of the characters are compelling and their view of the world makes us the richer for having been part of them.
I have a friend who went through a similar set of injuries with his daughter and the treatment in this story rings true (if thankfully less detailed).
I do wish that Guidall's cadence was a better match for the slow drawl of a Wyoming cowboy or even more so a high plains indian. He tries, but he's just too east coast. Still, he's a gifted narrator and the word doesn't suffer from his treatment.
This a prequel and a good place to start for the series -- but understand that the series is all about the dark hero looking out for the powerless. The writing is technically good and the story moves along, but don't look for feasibility in the plot line, or plausibility in almost any aspect of the series. This book attempts to tell the early story of hour Repairman Jack (a sort of poor man's Jack Reacher) got started helping people, and maybe some of where his skills come from -- but really, it doesn't set up a plausible background for what the character is later in the series. The Reacher character from that series looks well researched and plausible compared to Repairman Jack. If you're looking for solid logic and well thought out long term series story arcs, go somewhere else. If you want to see a tough and mysterious hero beat up bad people this is for you.
While I agree with the others here, and this is a great listen that you shouldn't miss, I'm going to have one less than complimentary thing to add.
In my personal opinion, the narrator does a fantastic job and is a very talented man -- but I'm not convinced he was the best pick for the series. The mismatch was most keen for me while he was reading what I consider to be one of the most beautifully written scenes I've come across in this sort of book. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that it was near the end and involved a long trudge in the snow. You'll know it when you get there. There was something about the cadence and tone of speech that I don't think quite did that scene justice. The Cheyenne people play a central role in this series, not just as individuals but as a cultural backdrop. I think Guidall has a hard time voicing that.
Guidall has a speech quality that is just a little faster and has just a little bit of an edge to it that I associate with a kind of east coast cynicism. His voice was perfect for Mitch Rapp, and while he tones it back and slows it down enough to get away with it for Longmire, I didn't feel he did Henry as well as maybe someone else might have.
Still, I really enjoyed this, having found the story to be well written and the characters interesting. I knew old cowboy from Wyoming when I was younger and learned to work with horses from him. Much of the feel of the story just rings true. I also really enjoyed the respectful and at the same time honest treatment of the native american people in the story. Again, the characters rang true for me -- at least from those I've known (though not as well).
If Andy Weir has gotten any of the technical details wrong in any major way, you'd almost need to be a rocket engineer to spot them. I say almost, because I spotted a couple of minor ones that don't really impact the story any.
This is an adventure story about survival in some of the most inhospitable conditions imaginable, with the focus of an engineer and the pacing of an experienced author.
You would think that given the technical detail and accuracy that has gone into this story that it would be slow and tedious to read, but Mr. Weir has done a brilliant job of weaving the explanations into the story without bogging down in them.
R.C. Bray does a very good job with narration, acting just enough and using enough variation in the voices and accents to keep things easy to understand and identify. Mr. Bray does make one or two little annoying mistakes when reading words that those of us in the computer industry use (e.g. for "ASCII" he pronounces "A" "S" "C" "2" instead of saying ass-key) but these small errors are entirely forgivable given the skill with which the rest of his work is delivered.
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