As a native Texan and student of Texas history I have to give H.W. Brands credit for producing such a comprehensive narrative of the people and events that led to Texas's fight for independence from Mexico and annexation into the United States. I have never seen a better explanation of the role Andrew Jackson and the U. S. government played in these events. I would recommend this book as a 'must read' for anyone with an interest in Texas History.
My only complaint is with the reader. Texas place names are famous for their excentricities of pronunciation. Hearing the reader repeatedly mispronounce the names of places like Bastrop, Brazoria, and San Jacinto, as well as his frequent mistakes with Spanish words and names,is like fingernails on a chalkboard to anyone familiar with the common pronunciations.
The editor should have used a heavier hand. There is too much information about things that are only loosely related to the main story. The first third of the book is more about the history of medical education in America than the epidemic. The salient points could have been covered in one chapter.
I would have approached it like a detective novel. Concentrate on the story of the different teams of scientists racing to defeat the culprit.
Someone whose tone wasn't so overwrought and melodramatic.
There is both good and interesting information in this book, but you have to slog through a lot of other stuff to get to it. It reminded me of the time I was listening to a pianist in a hotel lobby who added so many embellishments to everything he played I was tempted to offer him $20 to play every other note.
The only character in the whole book with any depth or nuance was the actual killer. The rest came across as cartoon characters following very predictable stereotypes. Grisham is a better writer than this. The death penalty is a serious issue. This story came across more like The Dukes of Hazzard try drama.
Probably. I have read several of his books before and enjoyed them.
The reader followed Grisham's tone, so it is probably not his fault, but his performance only enhanced the stereotyping of so many characters.
The scene of Dante's mother bathing and dressing her dead son (while touching) added nothing to the narrative. The mother of the victim of the crime is only shown as a self righteous publicity hound.
Grisham wove a number of actual events into the story, even got the highway numbers from Livingston to Huntsville right, but failed to figure out that the members of the Court of Criminal Appeals are called "judges", not "justices". His cause would have been better served by a work of non-fiction than this very poorly crafted novel.
I was intrigued by the idea of a story within a story, but quickly got bogged down in what is really three stories: two detective pieces and a pedantic homage to gay San Francisco. It's hard to believe that this clunker was written by the same author as the Mary Russell novels. Kate Martinelli is no Milo Sturgis, and Laurie King doesn't come close to Jonathan Kellerman in creating believable and symapthetic characters- gay or straight- in a contemporary story. It's too bad because the concept of exploring the world of fanatical Sherlock Holmes devotees through the mystery of a "missing" Conan Doyle manuscript had lots of potential. As it turned out, this book is a waste of time.
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