Book: A prequel and it works! Flynn writes a fine tight action novel of how how our favorite terrorist killer (Rapp) gets started and ties up a few stray ends covering various goodies he has thrown to us in other books. Excellent read all they way through... though I would have liked to have him develop and string us out a bit more during the final showdown with the baddies. He ended it a bit too quick. Maybe deadline? Grade A- because he rushed the finish
Reader: Guidall? Always solid. I like the way he speeds up when the action is hot. Exactly what I do when really "reading" a book. Not perfect with all the voices, but still a fine job. Grade B
Burke is as good as it gets. Every time I think I could be a novelist, I read ANYTHING of his and realize that he sets the standard and I have far far to go.
This may be (I HOPE!) a starter novel to see reader reactions. Well, my reaction is EXCELLENT. I say starter as the novel is quite short... about 5 hours. I so wanted it to go on, but Burke resolves all threads and ends it with me wanting more. I doubt Birke reads these reviews but if he is doing so... Write more on Son and Hugh!
Somehow, the publishers summary was pretty correct... something that as we know does not always happen... so if I write much more, it might spoil for others, but just a hint...
We meet Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, come close to Davy Crockett...
Will Patton is so good he is scary. Stealing a comment from another reviewer, he could read the US tax code and make it interesting.
One of our two heroes, Hugh... well... it's Clete from some of Burke's other fine books. I recognized it instantly, but it is not even a minor distraction.
Get the book. I guarantee that the five hours you will spend will only improve your life!
This "review" is written presuming you have read at least one Mitch Rapp novel.
Never have I written a review of any book before finishing it completely. This is an exception as I believe it is critical to warn others just how AWFUL is the performance. Do NOT buy this book.
Now you might correctly state, "But I see that a bunch of other reviewers stated quite clearly just how lousy is performer Kenny (which I am sure he is called by his good buddies). You clearly paid no heed". That would be correct.
Sadly, hubris (mine) reared its ugly head as I thought, "I have listened to hundreds of books where some reviewer complained about the reader, and they exaggerated just how bad was that person. I know better!
In this case, every reviewer who warned how bad is this clown actually overstated his performance by a factor of five. It is beyond atrocious! The book may just be unreadable (un-listenable?) I have spent four hours struggling through three chapters! I will struggle to persevere. No guarantees.
If the writer had not peppered the text with an abundance of "Mitch saids" or "Kennedy saids), you would never be able differentiate just who was speaking! All the character's voices are effete, feminine, and well.. the same. I can only compare it to a convention of Ru Paul's hairdressers. Poor Mitch sounds like he received a bullet to his nether regions resulting in him sounding like an anti terrorist drag queen! I have not read far enough to find out if he actually confronts and must speak to a real terrorist, but if he does, Mitch will not require a gun to kill the person. The terrorist will simple die from oxygen failure because of the uncontrollable laughter.
If you listen not to the other reviewers, do listen to me please... skip this one. You are not missing a thing.
Book: I bought this because of the good reviews. BIG mistake. I have no idea what the others saw in this novel, but I think reading it caused me to lose brain cells. I wish I could UN-read this book.
Our hero, Dr. Matt Rutledge (Harvard), is as about bright as a box of coal. He spends much time not paying a lick of attention to his newfound girlfriend Dr I forget her name, (Yale) who IS very bright, but, I suppose, because she is a mere female, does not warrant his serious attention (other than THAT attention).
He thus does one dumb thing after the other until the reader wants to just grab him and slap him silly.
The author attempts to weave multiple sub-plots which all come together toward the end... in a cave... where we find all these stray ends (characters) miraculously alive and waiting for the book to end. Umm... Not. They did not work as sub-plots and the way the author weaves them together at the end requires the reader to just set aside ALL logic and just "believe" that this could happen. If you just have to read this, at least turn off one hemisphere of your brain to make it more enjoyable. Contrived and believable only if you have never read a real medical thriller. Grade 1 STAR - only because ZERO was not available.
READER: Average at best... couple of good characterizations... Makes no difference anyway as this book could not be made good regardless of reader. GRADE C
Book: typical le Carre. Builds slow and you have pay attention to get the players right. Once you do, it gets good. Then you get excited. Then you get nervous. Then you anticipate disaster. Then he builds tension. Then you cannot wait to see what happens to each of the ten or so characters the author has developed for you and to whom you have become attached or at least interested. Can't say more without spoiling.
Then you will want to pitch a brick through your PC or trash your iPod or what have you as for some unknown reason, the author simply ends the stupid book leaving you absolutely not knowing what happened to eight of those ten characters! For some idiotic reason, he is leaving them stranded and vulnerable. Then Audible thanks you for listening! I was soooo irritated! There is NO resolution to all the characters you have come to know. I HATE books that have open endings, but I NOW know I hate even more any book that simply drops you cold with no conclusion whatsoever as to ending OR characters. I am not speaking of a "this could happen" endings... I am saying you are dropped with no knowledge of anything. Just Terrible - Grade D
Reader: Solid. Bit of an issue distinguishing voices, but overall grade good B
The Book: If it was Connelly, he mailed in his work. It feels as if he found and researched some weird fetish then turned it into a crime spree. Oh... and the characters do the dumbest things! Jack McEvoy comes across as perhaps the most stupid/naive crime reporter in the history of the printed page, As Bugs Bunny would say... "Whatta maroon!" I would have urged the author to re-read The Poet as Jack has clearly dumbed down in ten years. If Connelly even wrote this, it had to be something he submitted to meet a deadline. I so enjoy his work... but this one, not so much. Grade C-
The Reader: Perhaps the worst reader I have ever heard. Period. In fact this guy is SO bad that I was tempted not to review the book for fear my opinion was tainted by his incompetence. At least FIVE pronunciation errors in the first ten minutes, and it goes downhill from there. Almost no tonal differences between characters, but the worst crime is that he is just plain boring! He makes an average book awful. Hachett Audio is clearly contracting low cost talent and that is a shame as it penalizes both the author and his product, but the customer (US!) as well. Grade F
The Book: You don't read one of Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter novels hoping for some profound insight. They likely will never win some hoity-toity award. You should read them because they are just plain entertaining. Some have excellent plots (like this one) others not so excellent... but they all are just a fine way to spend a few hours laughing and they are never ever boring. Wanna spend about eight hours doing something fun? Just for you? Buy and listen. A-
The Reader: Ahhh Grover. There is just no better voice to read Carpenter. Rosenfelt changes tenses about every six minutes, and Grover keeps up. Yeah... Grover suffers doing some characterizations... but who cares? HA! Wait 'til you hear him do Larry king. It's a hoot! In some books this would be important and even ruin the whole book. Here no. He so captures the tone and goofiness that is the Carpenter crowd... I pray he will be around forever. A.
This is a first rate novel, but I will tell you (what might appear arrogantly) that this book is NOT written for a person who needs to be led by the nose through the intricate twists and turns of a spy novel. It is complex and a review of the plot would be difficult. Suffice it to say that I believe you will find it very enjoyable.
Our hero... the tourist (a CIA field officer)... is not at all what he seems to be. Perfect for a spy, of course! The cracks in his veneer are clear for all to see.
Seldom do a spy's family take part in a spy novel... except peripherally... but here, they merge nicely into a subplot and are active characters. They are likable.
There are numerous changes in time, in character and you must pay attention.
The reader had a nasty job with this book because of those many characters, their positions and their nationalities... and I think he did a credible job.
This book is not intuitive. It requires the concentration that readers of a John LeCarre novel must have in order to enjoy it. By no means though is it LeCarre. Not better... not worse... just really good.
You may eventually see the final direction of this novel, but you sure won't see it until the last hour or so... and even then, it will surprise you.
This is my first read of this author... and when I finish this review, I'll try another.
As so often is true, pay NO attention to the "Publisher's Summary". It is nonsense and must have been written either by a complete idiot or a person who never read the book. It damns it with faint praise. It is better than the summary.
I gave it 5 stars. I expect you will like it also.
A few people have mentioned that David Stone might be a pen name. I vacillate about this. Sometimes I hope it is not, and that this book is a harbinger of even better things to come... though that may be tough as this baby is first rate stuff.
Other times, I hope it IS a pen name of some author I have yet to discover and there is a treasure trove of good stuff just waiting for me.
Worse, I suppose, would be if he IS an author I know and like and have already read all his stuff. Oh well.
This is a finely crafted novel with a reader who is as first rate as the author. The characters are either very likable or very hatable as appropriate. All are a bit slightly off kilter as I expect are many who are connected with the CIA.
The protagonist is a fine person with lotsa layers like an onion. The author takes 22 hours to finally peel away those layers so we can peek at his core. THAT is good writing.
He is also a dangerous person, but the author lets us discover that on our own. In fact, you might be tempted, as I was, to underestimate his skills.
Long yes... and though I guarantee it will not bore you, I warn that it MAY screw up your daily schedule. I missed two meetings just sitting in my car listening.
There are rough parts that may bother the squeamish... blood and gore stuff.. but manageable and I believe necessary to the formation and development of the plot and characters.
I have often thought I would like to write my own novel someday. I then read something like this and realize just how good a writer can be and decide that perhaps I'd best just write a review.
David Stone is a happy discovery. I hope he is busy writing more as I am writing about him.
I am glad I read this AFTER I read eight OTHER books written by Michael Connelly. I say this because this book is truly horrendous. It so badly reflects on Mr Connelly as an author that if I had made the error of buying this book first, I surely would have written off this author as not worth the time.
The plot alone is sufficient to lose the attention of most knowledgeable people. It is silly and contrived.
We find the protagonist, Henry, by all accounts a brilliant, highly educated, and successful scientist/businessman behaving (chapter after chapter, ad nauseum) like a complete and utter twit! Without spoiling it for anyone, the reader continually wants to grab Henry by his lapels, slap him while screaming, "Whatever possessed you to DO that? That makes no sense! and What is the MATTER with you?"
This brings us to all the other characters in this novel. The personal assistant who (in real life) would be summarily fired by ANY boss less in than 30 seconds. She is just plain annoying plus other characters simply do not act or speak normally... the exceptions being the "bad guys" and a cop who Connelly does "get right".
Next we find the (ex) girlfriend who acts, as Harry, in the most illogical manner plus a plethora of other characters in the form of business associates, lawyers, co-workers, ALL of whom interact with Harry in odd ways not found in ANY environment. In fact, the only believable characters in the book are the prostitute and the college hacker buddy.
This book is like those terrible late-night movies you come across when you can't sleep. They are SO bad, you just keep watching, and afterwards wonder, "Whatever possessed me to WATCH that!"
Here, though, I KNEW the author! I kept thinking "Connelly had a bad day or something... this has GOT to get better", and I kept on reading. It didn't.
To those of you who read this, make no mistake, Michael Connelly is a great writer, but skip this one.
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