I waited a couple of weeks after finishing the book to let it settle before reviewing . . . not that the world waits for my reviews. Christopher Paget, the main character in the story, has overcome much and is a good man worth knowing. That said, I would warn any reader that this book seems to belong in Penthouse or the like! I do NOT condone violence perpetrated on women, especially rape . . . nor have I ever been tempted to do so. However, the author could have denounced same without mentioning penis, erection & and penetration dozens of times to the point of ad nauseum! Not many reviews posted here on Degree of Guilt for the time that it has been out. Perhaps this is why. Listener take heed, this book is not for everyone. It is not that I am a prude or have no sympathy for abused women. It is simply that RNP seemed a tad sophomoric with his continuous use of these words and phrases . . . as if it pleased him to be able to do so.
I was totally blown away with RNP's "Exile" and had high hopes for Degree of Guilt. The plot was good and it wove a nice story that COULD have been less in spots to have ended up more! It was all I could do to finish it. In fact, that goal became a chore!
The book was engaging . . . no, riveting! I'd wager most Americans have heard of Guadalcanal. I know I had, I saw The Guadalcanal Diary, my father notched 10 war patrols aboard the submarine USS Sailfish in the Pacific, however he was not near iron bottom sound during the epic battle. This exceptional offering was as if I was hearing about this island for the first time.
For me, ANY book is better than a movie on the same subject. Also, a history book needs to be crafted very carefully so as to not end up dry. Hornfischer made it come alive! I enjoy detail, but others may not. Inferno was rich in detail as well as an honest effort to cover all aspects of the battle even when unsettling or negative. I had been mistaken, or had forgotten, that this was more than a Marine show. The Navy suffered immense losses and bad luck there, and also resounding success and good fortune. I found myself in awe of the graphic descriptions of naval battle in all its horrific action. I was shocked at the errors in tactics that caused some of the US losses. I was equally thrilled with the equally brilliant changes on the fly by some commanders which went against all previous schooling in surface warfare.
I found myself being taught history without knowing it was happening. The author remained fluid and readable from beginning to end, which I feel is very rare in this genre. Most lose ends were tied up at the end in a very satisfying manor. Hornfischer's word pictures were so vivid that I would have to stop the audio at times to let them play in my mind for a few minutes.
If you wish to learn more about Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation, this epic book will satisfy! Be brave as this story may not be for the faint of heart. I found myself saying "unbelievable" under my breath many times. I choose not to give up much story detail here, but rather to convince anyone who might be considering Neptune's Inferno to buckle up and immerse yourself in a very meaningful book!
The premise, while immersed in current events, did not work for me. In East Jerusalem, American, Israeli, & Palestinian Presidents reach a peace agreement televised round the world. As they hold hands in unity, a bomb explodes killing them and other bystanders. I know this work is fiction, but there are limits as to what a listener will invest in as probable. I just don't believe that in today's volatile world that security for heads of state is that pathetic. The setting in the crucible that is the Middle East is interesting, and some characters develop well. The story line did not progress in a gripping manor though. One sure thing suspect arrested, then released - oops. Then another taken into custody who WANTS to be found guilty, and our man Abe is required to get this guy off the hook to save his daughter's life. I admit that I judge any novel about the Middle East against Richard North Patterson's magnificent work "Exile" which is among the best novels I have ever experienced! The Trials of Zion just fell short for me.
Perhaps it would have been better if I had bought the book rather than the audio book. Dick Hill can be very good, but he over did many scenes which took away from the story. I sure don't want be too critical of Mr Hill's talent, but this effort didn't come together as I had wished. Referring again to Patterson's "Exile", Dennis Boutsikaris gave a brilliant narration, elevating the novel to epic heights! Boutsikaris left huge shoes to fill in his untimely death.
Where my low opinion of this book was sealed was the scene with the old spy and the priest. This may well have mirrored some recent headlines that rocked the Catholic Church, but that doesn't mean that the author must embed such such land mines of deviate behavior so as to ambush a listener/reader when the distasteful revelation could have been handled in another way. I enjoy re-listening to favorite audio books, but Trials of Zion will be left to gather virtual dust.
This was my first JLB novel if you can believe that. I was thirsting for a new author having had some recent disappointments. I struck pure, sparkling clear water with Rainbow, and have 2 more Dave Robicheaux episodes in the cart. I appreciate the reviews here, both good and bad, but I am now more than willing to explore for myself.
I am older and wiser at this time in my life. I have stories of my own to tell, and I love a good story. I am not a finicky reader, being pretty easy to entertain. That said, "Rainbow" did entertain better than Bourbon Street on a Saturday night! I love New Orleans! Our last trip there was 2003 and we had such a good time. JLB painted perfect word pictures bringing back some favorite memories of rub boards, Bayou Teche and crawfish etouffee. Some not so good memories were also brought back by JLB's short soirees into the Vietnam debacle. In 1966, I was an Army aviator in country for 13 months in III Corps. The author handled this sidebar in Robicheaux's life perfectly, neither preaching nor giving it too much ink. The effect of combat on ones physique was nevertheless illuminated in a clear manor.
I have a daughter who was a Navy Combat Field Medic during Desert Storm. Robicheaux's relationship with his daughter Alafair (what a great name) was so poignant yet painted beautifully as intellectual equals. Again, such good memories brought back of my little girl growing up too fast. Father and daughter as developed by JLB will take you on a thrilling swamp boat ride into a most unusual relationship.
The bad guys were very bad, and the good guys were human . . . imperfect but engaging. And Clete Purcel, everyone should have a comrade like Clete. Listeners will love getting to know Clete! I was a little worried about the inclusion of spectres as I am not a fan of the supernatural. Once again, JLB was perfect with this part of the story. The ending was phenomenal. It was so believable and moving! 7 stars! A winner!!
I truly enjoy the reviews posted here, even the few who are honest in their dislike for a work that captivates me! Like so many others, I have listened to The Testament several times, and always come away with a new kernel of insight. However, I admit that at my age I can safely hide my own Easter Eggs. For me, the thing that makes this novel unique and so engaging is the weaving together of the law . . . always blind, cold and unyielding . . . and things of a spiritual nature, things which ring true to our need for fulfillment and redemption.
Billionaire Troy Phelan is a pitiful man trapped by his money and his neglect of family. He chooses a way out that to him is the only honorable path left in a tragic, self imposed wilderness. Enter the lawyers, lots of lawyers to make everything ok for the heirs of Mr. Phelan. One litigator stands out from the rest of the pack. Nate O'Riley is the poster child for courtroom flame out . . . twice divorced, IRS barking at his heels and a quadruple veteran of substance abuse rehab. Yet it is just that boatload of human frailties that immediately connects the listener to O'Riley . . . a connection that will last until book's end and beyond!
Rachel Lane is a missionary-physician tending Indians somewhere in Brazil's Pantanal. She is also the illegitimate daughter of Phelan, and the glue that holds this multi-faceted storyline together. I was totally drawn in by the fascinating accounts of life in the Pantanal, brought into such sharp focus by the author's personal visits to the region. I feel inadequate in my attempt to interest potential listeners in this outstanding book. However, if you take all these reviews as a whole, you should feel good about the purchase. Finally there is an epic narration by the late Frank Muller, who raises the bar to near unreachable levels with his skills. I am so appreciative of Grisham's The Testament, for it has touched me in profound ways. Just a novel? Hardly - you'll see!
. . . . first of all I want to say hi to my Audible neighbor Gail! I graduated from El Cajon Valley High a long time ago. Now to the book. Based on other reviews, I did Forever Odd last. Odd Thomas was perfect! Brother and Hours were also very good. But Forever was not engaging, and the reviews are all over the board in support of that opinion. I cannot remember an author throwing so much mundane detail at the reader/listener as in the descriptions of the burned out casino. It came across as fluff or filler . . . trying to get sufficient pages written so as to satisfy the publisher. It certainly didn't satisfy me. Additionally, a few of the exchanges between Odd and villainess Datura are just plain pulp fiction . . . borderline pornographic and not necessary in order to instill our hatred of her. If you are just discovering Odd Thomas, enjoy #s 1, 3 and 4 and leave Forever Odd for last. You will not miss a thing! Odd Thomas is the kind of young man you WISH you actually knew . . . a wonderful character in every sense of the word. David Aaron Baker did his usual stellar job of narration. DK is unique in the genre, but his sophomore offering in this series is just that.
. . . . but as the heart of the book unfolded, I found it rich in fantasy. Other authors such as Richard North Patterson keep it real. Coonts had our heros in this novel roaming in and out of Iranian government offices with impunity, applying only a shoestring of planning. Perhaps it is just that easy, but I think not, and I believe most readers would agree. Iran may be out of touch with mainstream politics and human rights, but Ahmadinejad and his security minions are not stupid!
The Disciple started strong for me, but quickly became anything but the advertised "As hot as today's headlines" . . . the story descended into wishfull thinking rather than a crescendo of believable story telling.
I am residing smack in the middle of the second half of my expected and allotted lifetime, and this book fit me well . . . I "got it" and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some have been critical of the first few hours of this work . . . too slow or too flat. Not so for me. The exacting character introductions and development were captivating. I love a good story from start to finish and this was exactly that.
This was my first Martin Clark novel. He has an exceptional gift for painting with words. Near the end Clark was describing his main character and wrote "he was now forged and tempered, all the clay and filler and alloy burned away. Someone with tales to recite, advice to give . . . a place to fit him." The book was full of these wonderful verbal pictures!
Lastly, most novels have a surprise ending . . . it is expected. Mr Clark closes with 4 or 5 surprises in his ending, each brilliantly crafted. No major hanging threads in this tapestry of life left to the reader (listener) to finish. Clark tied them all up. It was great for a change. I am so glad I took a chance on Mr. Clark's The Legal Limit. Well done!!
I admit that I am not a "demanding" reader - not a "pick it appart" critic. But I am an avid reader who enjoys the hunt for and the discovery of fiction treasure. Exile is such a novel. My first work by RN Patterson and I was blown away. His relentless and thorough research and interview process was evident. I not only was entertained and captivated, but also experienced the bonus of some great insight into US - Middle East relations and history. The narration was brilliant and absent the forced drama sometimes found in these recordings.
This book had something for everybody . . . be you male or female, academic or Joe the plumber, combat tested or homemaker tested, religious or agnostic. I hated it to end!!!
Now I am actually fearful of choosing my next book because RNP and Dennis Boutsikaris have set the bar so high! I am sure that I will get over my shopping anxiety . . . . I hope. Read or listen to "Exile" but do NOT ignore it!
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