The reader for this series is awesome. The stories are your basic far-fetched fare but its the interaction between the burned out, non-political, onery but ultimately solid detective Carl and his mysterious but undervalued assistant/janitor/whatever is needed guy Assad, and the ever dysunctional, personality disordered, yet strangely perceptive Rose. The awkwardness between them all makes for a good many chuckles and hours of entertainment.
So your in traffic, barely moving but a guy in a pick-up is tailgaiting you. Thank you audible! This book fits nicely in to that category of nice option to nervous breakdown with desire to slam on my breaks with hopes that he comes out worse (these are just thoughts, wouldn't/haven't acted on them). This is like spending time with the quirky part of your family that is fun, occasionally funny, but dependable without too many needs placed upon you. No life changing moments here, just good, solid, likeableness. I do like to make-up words. I like the series mystery where you know everyone, there are the somewhat stock characters,(i'm partial to the curmuggeonly Ruth) whose personality flaws can be overlooked due to their intense loyalty or aptitude with cooking or electronics or other unpleasantness, and the group combined seem to embody all that is needed to cope reasonably successfully with current unforeseen drama. This story is good, like the others, interesting, but no need to stay in the car to see what happens next. I must give high marks for the reader. His voice is an excellent match for the material. Disclosure: I give very few 5 stars, so my 3 could be someone else's 4.5.
Ok, so I LUV Bill Bryson. I do believe I have all of his books and I recommend all of them. That said, this one is interesting, but doesn't have quite as many turn of phrases that make me chuckle even though I've heard it many times before. You know, when you want to rewind, and are stuck between admiration and envy for someone who can so eloquently describe a moment when one has lost one's way, one's dignity and is still just so damn grateful to be basically intact-ish? But moments later feels irritated by basic letdowns like a crummy yet overpriced hotel room?
I'm going to put this one on par with a "Short History..." But a notch below "A walk In The Woods". So get it, enjoy it, then relisten to some of his classics.
Substitue internet sites for old singles ads and you get the basic problem of how do you know if someone is who they present themselves to be? I like a good mystery, however, in this book the story is basically known at the beginning. The book is based upon (and in fact a quick search shows it follows the facts of the case closely) a true story. What made this so great to listen to is the language. The tone, the characters, even the whole tidy way things turn out was...well, right. It fit and yet was suprising. It caputered a time when social convention was quite clear and adhered to in appearance if not in fact. The whole thing could have been a sickening romance except that given the gruesome, tragic nature of the factual events, the dignity, kindness and humanity of the fictional characters gave balance to what would have otherwise been a revolting story of man at his worst.
This listen is a slow, meant-to-be savored listen. Its appeal will most likely not be universal, but for those who have the time it is truly an enjoyable listen. No junk fiction nausea, hangover or guilt. The reader did a great job in that her voice was never a distraction, she was believeable and her tone, the words and content all fit together quite beautifully. Would give it five stars but I feel obliged to save those for the truly exceptional.
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