I've long enjoyed the wit and sarcasm of P J O'Rourke, even though I usually disagree with his politics. This book, however, proved a great disappointment. O'Rourke is simply full of himself. His efforts to be clever and intellectual fail, and they're merely tiresome.
I love this book - one of my true favorites - have read the actual book several times before downloading the audio version. I'm also a big fan of Edward Abbey - both his non-fiction and fiction work.
Unfortunately, Michael Kramer was a poor choice of narrator to capture the real sense of Abbey's prose. I've listened to many of Kramer's narrations of mystery and suspense novels, and he's fine for those. But, unfortunately, all wrong for Desert Solitaire.
I was disappointed, too, by Kramer's frequent mispronunciations, especially place names, throughout the narrative. Many of the local place names are tricky, I admit, but either the narrator and/or audio editor need to do their research!
Despite the unfortunate narration, I highly recommend Desert Solitaire. Better the book than this audio version, but better the audio version than not at all.
I've listened to 3 other books by Jo Nesbo (The Snowman, The Redbreast & The Devil's Star) and loved them. Headhunters feels like it was written by someone else, and the reader is beyond dry. Deadly dull. I gave up after 4 chapters.
The story itself is pretty cloying to start with, but the narrator is awful. He butchers the pronunciation of place names all over the western U.S., including Alaska, with regularity. Apparently the audio editor was just as uninformed. But even forgiving the consistent mispronunciations the characterizations are cheesy throughout.
Okay, sure the story is pretty contrived but it had potential until Scott Brick got ahold of it. His overwrought reading sounds more like soap opera fare than mystery and intrigue.
Though the author's cynicism is sharper than some of his other narratives, the narrator/reader does a great injustice to this work. The intoned cynicism and sarcastic inference often doesn't seem to accurately portray Theroux's intended tone. Worse, the reader's efforts to interpret accents and voices are miserable - his Egyptian interpretation is no different than an East African or Indian, and every one seems to have a sinister undertone. Just awful, and really too bad, because I think the book itself could otherwise be both insightful and entertaining.
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