M.J. Rose is a good writer with an admirable flair for narrative and description, a believable knowledge of geography and history, and the ability to weave a suspenseful tale that keeps you interested. The story, involving "proof" of reincarnation by being able to access past lives (and particularly, past lovers) through mystical fragrances, was intriguing enough to buy and listen to the entire audiobook. That said, the story throughout has exaggerated human response and by the end, a simply hokey and nauseating amount of melodrama. The big sex scene may appeal to romance aficianados but to me was so extreme that it was more like the birth of a universe than a mere sex scene. The ending just dropped the ball as well, an anticlimax if there ever was one. Important note: Phil Gigante was not the right reader for this book. His style is monotonous, there are only two voices - "male" and "female" or maybe four, if you include "Chinese female" and "Chinese male". Worst, he has no knowledge of French whatsoever and mangles the pronunciation of French words and phrases enough to make you wince many times. Ouch!
I admit I have not read the JP Beaumont book series in chronological order, having read four other books before the first one: Until Proven Guilty. The other books alluded to the tragic backstory of Beaumont's relationship with Anne Corley, all of which is told in Until Proven Guilty.
This turns out to be my least favorite of the books so far, and it's a good thing this is fiction because it strains anyone's ability to believe something like this story could ever happen. Without putting in spoilers, let me say that the Anne Corley that Beau fell in love with was a well-drawn character, beautiful, intelligent, courageous, charming, wise, gentle and passionate. She made a fine match for Beaumont and the story worked right up until the time she became "the other Anne". I do not think "the other Anne" could have co-existed in the same person with the one fleshed out in the first 9/10 of this book, certainly without revealing herself many times over. The few feeble "hints" J.A. Jance laid down for the reader in no way raised any suspicion of what was supposed to be there. This was not a virtue -- it just made the end of the story seem a trumped up ridiculous soap opera that made me want to throw the book into the trash. It was like listening to a top-notch singer who sings the entire last number of a performance badly off-key.
There was no way Anne Corley could have had the past attributed to her in the book; she would have been revealed long ago and become celebrated for it, kind of like the Unabomber was. I so wished for a different resolution of the mystery. If this had been my first Beaumont novel I might not have continued reading the later ones, which are much less melodramatic and make far better detective novels. To his credit, Gene Engene did his usual excellent job of reading all the characters. His reading style makes all the J.A. Jance books all the more enjoyable.
This was an effective book. Complicated story, many characters to keep track of. Too much back story on almost everyone of them. However, in the end, Kate Atkinson delivered a credible tale of why a murder occurred years before, and why it was so effectively covered up until some of the investigators decided to look into it again. In addition to the mystery there is much examination of the pain resulting from bad decisions made among family members in a complex web of relationships.
It just occurred to me that this book is the quintessential anti-fairy tale with the most ironic, unhappy "happy" ending. Gillian Flynn has a good grasp of the phoniness of many relationships in our society today, and what makes things go wrong between men and women. That said, the story of Amy and Nick is so extreme that these characters have slipped from the realm of being real people to being the caricatures the author has imagined in her most twisted projection of what could happen if you paired a brilliant, mostly unhinged woman with an "ordinary"guy. It keeps you listening but strains your suspension of disbelief and the ending is a lead balloon.
The narration of the story by the alternating male and female readers was effective and convincing. Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyboure were good choices to portray the voices of Amy and Nick.
Michael Connelly seldom fails to astonish me with his ability to spin a fabulously entertaining and complex novel, time after time. I also think his Hieronymous (aka "Harry") Bosch is one of the best characters in modern detective fiction. He's tough, courageous, hard-boiled, supremely intelligent, relentless, tireless in the pursuit of scumbags, bucks authority, but has a soft side for the innocent, weak and downtrodden, such as the daughter "Maddy" he didn't know he had. I LOVE the Harry Bosch character.
In Lost Light, Connelly has a complex, multi-layered mystery that keeps you enthralled from beginning to end. Everything fits together seamlessly. The unravelling and the resolution, while gritty and unsettling, are believable (unfortunately in our violent modern world), and in the context of human greed, but make you root for Harry to keep going until the last evil perpetrator has been revealed and dealt with. I couldn't stop reading (read "listening", since I listened to it as an audiobook). I was sorry for the book to end!
Len Cariou is a great reader. He totally gets the nuances of the various characters' behavior and speech and adds a dimension to the "reading" of the book not possible if you are reading the hardcover version.
Probably not. Too many other books to listen to.
It was great fun to play with Stephen King's premise of repeatedly going back in time to
Jake Epping/George Amberson himself -- the narrator.
I don't want to give it away as it would be spoiler.
It was relatively easy to come up with a laundry list of all the possible ways Jake/George could be stopped from killing Oswald before the latter shot Kennedy, (bodily violence, car wrecks etc.) and most them were in the book. I guess this is signature Stephen King but I'd hoped for some more imaginative devices. But King did a good job with the suspense for what actually did happen when the encounter took place. Then what happened? It was pure
In this audiobook, the portrayal of old man Jacob by John Randolph Jones was spot on. The enactment of the young Jacob by David LeDoux was good, but a little bit monotonous in tone. He did do a good job on the other characters' voices, making them sound different from Jacob. The book was well-written, with excellent characters who all had distinct personalities, and dialogue that rang true. I bought the depression era plight of a young veterinary student doubly shocked at losing his parents and then their home. This made a credible segue to his becoming the veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers circus. Ms. Gruen does a believable portrayal of the Depression era, the working class, and the animals in the menagerie. The story flows well, but is a bit melodramatic to my taste, in spots. The love story between Jacob and Marlena works, but is a little long in development. At first I did not see the relevance of the old Jacob interludes in the story, but they did lead to a sweet and appropriate ending to the book.
I have one issue which maybe someone could answer. I don't understand the relationship of the prologue to the rest of the book. The text of the prologue duplicates the climactic event of the book itself, yet has a completely different outcome, and one that contradicts what happened "in real life". I don't understand why there should be such a contradiction, and it wasn't explained by something like "and then I woke up from the dream". Instead, the prologue merely ends with "in 70 years I never told a single soul" or something like this. So why do we have a difference of fact between two parts of the book? It is jarring and strange. I also note that in the movie, the character, Uncle Al, was deleted when the screenplay was written.
Besides being endlessly repetitious, I disagree with Gardner’s premise that expert predictions, especially those of what he terms“hedgehogs” who have a certainty about their predictions, are almost always wrong. Gardner’s reasoning lacks (1) an accurate frame of reference and (2) is completely non-scientifically supported. For example, Paul Ehrlich, predicted massive famines, resource depletion and environmental degradation as a result of overpopulation (and endless growth). Gardner emphatically claims, over and over, that Ehrlich was wrong, because his predictions of human and environmental catastrophes that were supposed to occur in the 1970’s didn’t happen.
If you read Ehrlich carefully, he does not state with certainty that everything he predicts will come true in the 1970’s – only that it will come true, eventually. Simple logic will tell you that. The human population cannot continue expanding indefinitely. The earth is finite. Sooner or later, human numbers will outstrip both food supply and the ability of the earth to produce enough food. Sooner or later petroleum, copper, titanium, etc. are all going to run out, and it will not be possible to produce the products that depend on them, except at exorbitant cost. The more people, the less resources per capita and the bigger the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. This is not a recipe for a peaceful and stable future.
Ehrlich’s message is really that we have to be aware that there are limits to growth and to our consumptive way of life. What Gardner does not state but implies through omission, is that we can blithely go on with whatever profligate agenda we have in mind, and something will always come along to mitigate our effects. I don’t personally believe this. Sooner or later the piper will have to be paid, and fundamentally Ehrlich is right.
Gardner has his own ax to grind, and he does so ceaselessly. Perhaps his form of babble makes him the biggest hedgehog of them all.
I have long been a fan of Brian Greene and his skillful attempts to bring extremely difficult topics in physics within the general understanding of a non-mathematical audience. I thought both The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos were tour de forces of both lucid and entertaining writing, and both were rich with information not easy to absorb in another form or from another writer. Now along comes The Hidden Reality. Now we have Brian Greene tackling arguably a far less known or understood, and in many ways far-fetched topic: multiple universes. Is our universe the only one, or “all there is”, (i.e. the meaning of “universe”), or is everything we have ever observed or conceived of existing only one of a multitude (perhaps an infinite number) of such universes? By taking on such a topic in the first place, Greene is upping the ante quite a bit, even in comparison with discussions of topics like string theory.
At this point, I begin to take issue with his approach. I can see that Brian chose to “put out there” a panoply of wild ideas proposed by others, without passing judgment on whether they are right, wrong, or just plain ridiculous. In particular, I have problem believing that the “quantum multiverse” of Everett, the simulation multiverse or the everything (mathematical) multiverse are more than human-inspired fantasies.
I find the idea of a multiverse in general very appealing and reasonable, as I could never accept the “fact” that a single Big Bang, before which there was “nothing” started it all. Brane collisions or Big Bang like bubble formations within a much larger overall field of some sort make more sense. It makes sense that our universe is neither special as being the only one in time or in “the space of spaces”. But it’s going out on a limb to “know” that the landscape in which they exist is infinite in time or spatial dimensions. Greene has written a thoughtful and provocative book that will stimulate lively discussion.
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