Santa Fe, NM, United States | Member Since 2005
I listened to the whole book, sometimes I don't make it. It had great reviews, but was a disappointment. It was a little disjointed, but not to the extent that one loses the thread of the story. The main failure to me, was that I never got engaged with the characters. There was nothing that made me care. I suppose one is suppose to get intrigued by the characters of LIz Taylor and Richard Burton showing up, perhaps a voyeuristic thrill. I found it to be pretty boring. the writing was not a problem, the story so-so. There was nothing to identify with or care about. There was something I can't put my finger on that is missing, maybe it is character development??
I have read many of the Spencer novels. I continue to buy and listen and dread the day I have completed the series twice. I never mind listening more than once. I can't say this is great literature, great writing, or epic stories etc. But for me they are GREAT entertainment. I don't enjoy the over the top Reacher type, spare me, these are like super hero action comics. Nor do I like exploitive violence and brutality which are often not necessary. I do enjoy the Spencer character, I love the humor, the "tongue and cheek" Mr. Thin Man repartee, (can't spell that) from the thirties and forties. AND, I especially value the consistency of his moral integrity transcending the law or the norm. What's not to like. Moral superiority does it for me every time. GO SPENCE. LOVE HAWK.
I couldn't finish this book, therefore, not much of a review. I "read" the Secret Garden and it kept me entertained. I think it was the novelty of it. But the format and jumping back and forth did not work for me a second time. I find myself curious enough about the "who done it", but enough to prolong the chattery.
I especially enjoyed the well researched history. I found it to be somewhat long, but don't think there is much that could be eliminated. Although much of the story had harsh aspects they were never exploited. I feel like I was treated to an entertaining history lesson. I would recommend this listen, and will find the sequels. The narration is good. There were many characters, and accents which were well differentiated. I also appreciated the pace of the narration. I find that to often be problematical. Not here.
Other reviews called it fun, entertaining, laugh out loud. I don't think so. Silly is not really fun. Overall I am giving it a three because I listened to the whole thing. Curiosity driven. It is passable entertainment, and other than style points it will please a lot of readers, mostly women. I hand it to her because she pulls off what she is attempting.
This must be an earlier book from Michael Connelly. I found the writing not as good as in LIncoln Lawyer and later books. The story was okay, a bit drawn out, but it is what one is looking for in a mystery thrill. I found the datedness interfered with the story line especially in terms of the narrator. Overall the narration detracted from the experience. Buck Shimer did a great job in creating different character voices, but there was often a self conscious or emphatic delivery in the wrong places. I think much of it was faulty writing. The dialogue is inconsistent with the way people think and speak. There was too much reference to location in an attempt to present a valid circumstance. Connelly is not the only author to overuse this convention. If I am talking to a friend, colleague etc. It is weird to go into detail about the route. i.e. if I am Boulder, and I have lived there, I would never say casually, or in my head. I am going down Pearl Street to the Whole Foods Grocery. I am really nit picking but the point is that there was no casual delivery in these techniques. It is as if going down Pearl Street is important. Not really. Not even going to WholeFoods. It is an attempt to create realism that is superfluous. I find it to be very masculine, talking about names, places, directions, measurements. I would much rather know how a characters feels when driving down Pearl.
This is about the fourth Connelly mystery I have listened to, and it is the least accomplished I think. I enjoyed all the others, or specifically did not notice that the narration and writing technique distracted from the experience.
I just love his books. I love the humor, the tongue and cheek take me back to The Thin Man, forties black and white. I especially love Spencer's independent and somewhat radical but true morality. I like to be entertained and this does it all for me. Good writing within the context. His books are not pretentious, which really bores me. I can listen to his books while I am going to sleep and not be "disturbed" by exploitive violence, brutality, abuse etc. It reminds me of a really good cheeseburger. It would not be in keeping to present it on a china plate with Waterford crystal. The writing style, the story line, the narrator, and length all come together to form a complementary form. I guess what I am saying is that the writing style compliments the content. The writing style is the personality of Spencer. It doesn't get more integrated than that. I am not a particularly good writer, but I am a good reader, and I am very particular about what i read. I love these for easy fun listening. Like I said, it is like a great cheeseburger.
If I were David Baldacci I would be mortified. Obviously he isn't because this has been published. perhaps the reader takes it down several stars???
I could not get interested in the story, feeling that everything was leading up to something in the end that eventually would surely be interesting. But pushing through to the revelation was dry and boring. I couldn't finish it. I have enjoyed John Grisham books over the years but this had too long a lead for me. Setting the stage for hours is not interesting or engaging. The Narrator was not bad, but did not do anything to relieve the monotony. I felt I was being read to by a professor out of a manual. I don't know how it ended but imagine it would be heroic and the good guys will win.
I don't have any fancy things to say. I just really like the humor and skill of Robert Parker. His writing is strait forward and his characters border on cliche, but that never bothers me. I always am attracted to his position on morality. His stories are always interesting. The larger than life Spencer, is charming to me because Parker does not write in a pretentious style. That always puts me off, a writer trying to prove he is "gifted", or tries to me believe something that is not believable within the context of the form. Finally I like the format of mysteries without exploitation of graphic grizzly descriptions. I can listen to any of these books at night in bed without being stressed. I LOVE the writing of James Burke, but his stories are often too harsh for my comfort zone. I am a light weight when it comes to human anguish and suffering. And I am a champion of strong personal morality that transcends social rules or religious programming, which was particularly strong in the Appaloosa Series - my favorite. These books are my cup of tea. Easy, satisfying, strait forward.
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