Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
Not even close to Stephen White's earlier books in quality -- characters are so muddled, everybody so confused, it's hard to tolerate. Bad cops, bad FBI agents, then good cops, mysterious men living alone in the forest, with menace everywhere, and everyone -- most certainly including Dr. Gregory himself -- making so many stupid decisions that you start to wonder how he managed to survive this long.
Oh -- and that shtick where Dr. Alan Gregory carries on and on and on ... and on... about what he can, or should, disclose about his patients? When either they or someone else is in deep doo-doo? Geez, that's getting old. We get it, Dr. Gregory. No need to detail your anguished mental processes ad infinitum over the matter every single time. It's starting to reek of "filler".
This story line was a problem for narrator Dick Hill, too -- who, as one of the audiobook industry's old stalwarts, should know better. There's one character who -- trying not to disclose a spoiler of any kind, here -- is attacked by bees, and is stung all over, including inside his mouth, which renders his speech muffled, incomprehensible and in general, hard to understand. Unfortunately, this character also shouts a lot. The problem is, Hill seems to feel the need to read these parts with absolute accuracy -- or at least what we assume a character like that WOULD sound like, with a bee-stung mouth. It becomes painful to listen to -- on and on, this horrible mutilated voice, shouting things it's difficult to understand. All of this consumes at least 45 minutes of the book, then on and off again to the end. This isn't the first time Hill did this -- he used that same "horrible mouth injury" voice in one of the Lee Child books, too, "A Wanted Man", I think. I almost had to turn it off there, too. It's just very unpleasant to listen to.
Narrators should exercise some common sense, it seems to me. There should be some balance between letting us know that a character is injured, without making the voice so painful to listen to that it scorches the ears. Dick Hill, at least in these two books, is giving us way too much accuracy. It doesn't help the books he's reading, it makes it hard to tolerate.
Best advice, for Best Revenge? Skip it, stick with the earlier Stephen Whites. When he's good, he's very very good. But when he's mediocre, it's best to remember the good ones.
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