Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004
I rated the performance higher than the story because I thought that the narrator brought a special depth to this story. While the action of the book covers a relatively short period of time, from September 5, 1979 to February 29, 1980 the narrator does this interesting thing with the first person point of view character's accent. It moves from an educated Welsh accent to boarding school English as she spends time at the expensive English boarding school that her English aunts send her to, then slips back a little more toward the Welsh when she is again with her mother's family, but not as strongly marked.
Probably a pretty obvious progression, but it kind of crept up on me as I listened this book and some narrators/producers might not have bothered. I've tried a couple of Audible books recently that I did not buy because I sampled them and thought the narrator was sub par.
This is probably a love it or hate it book. I found it easy to identify with the main character who used books as a comfort and guide. I can see where others might find the references, not just to science fiction and fantasy stories, but to historical fiction, Victorian children's fiction, and Plato to be tiresome, but for me they enriched the narrative.
I don't know if this is book I could recommend unless I knew you very well, but I liked the audible version very much for some reasons that had nothing to do with just enjoying the story.
Forensic pathologist John Eisenmenger and Chief Inspector Beverly Wharton are drawn into a puzzling case from two separate directions. Eisenmenger was looking into the unexpected demise of a lorry driver back from a trip to Europe. Chief Inspector Wharton had the murder of a husband and wife that she was trying to solve.
I wasn't terribly impressed with the first Eisenmenger book I listened to, but somewhere between 2006's A World Full of Weeping and this book, something good happened. This isn't a whodunit, the main question is why was it done and McCarthy does an outstanding job of putting the reader into the heads of various characters. In fact, when the book was over and the current situation resolved I immediately checked his web site to see if there was a new Eisenmenger book on the horizon (unfortunately not).. I'm really interested in where he is taking his two main characters next.
Seán Barrett does a good job with this one. No complaints about the narration.
Half a family is killed in a bloody violent attack. The mother and one twin daughter are slaughtered. The father is struck on the head and left unconscious. The other daughter discovers the bodies and calls 999 before collapsing. Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan and her superior DI Josh Derwent arrive on the scene to help with the investigation.
Digging into the details of the lives of Philip Kennford, his wife Vita and their two daughters reveals an extremely dysfunctional family. Kennford, a criminal lawyer, has enemies both among his clients and the victims of clients he has represented. He is also a philanderer and a less than than admirable family. Vita is willing to take any action to keep her marriage intact.
Meanwhile story lines from earlier books in the series concerning Maeve's relationship with another member of the force and the struggle between a jailed mob leader and a rival weave their ways through the plot. These plot strands are the reason I suggest that a reader go back to the first book in the series and read forward.
I found this entry in the series better written than the first book and I'm looking forward to the next one.
The narrator is quite competent and easy to listen to. I have no complaints about production values.
Crispin's real name was Robert Bruce Montgomery. He earned a BA in modern languages from St John's College, Oxford. He first earned recognition for composing vocal and choral music. Then he began to write scores for the British movie industry in addition to his mystery novels.
This was his seventh novel and I think it's pretty clear that he is more interested in depicting the (rather unpleasant) quirks of the British film industry than in whodunnit. In fact, I rather suspect he wrote himself into a corner in this one and had to break one of the classic mystery rules in order to solve the problem. But I like Crispin even when he's not at the top of this form and spent a very pleasant Sunday listening to this book.
So I'm not recommending this because it's a clever mystery. I'm recommending it because Crispin describes in an entertaining fashion the post WWII film business in England (which was different from what was going on in Hollywood at the same time and yet curiously the same).
It's read by Philip Bird who does a great job with what is essentially period voices.
This is the first of the two DI Bobby Maiden books published by Phil Rickman under the name Will Kingdom in the 1990's. I bought and read them in paperback ages ago but was really looking forward to the audio version that has been available in the UK for a couple of years at least. I HATE geo-restrictions. There are in fact a lot of books on the UK site that the authors would have sold to me if it were not for geo-restrictions.
DI Maiden is a reluctant but successful detective, the son of a hard bitten old fashioned copper. He dies after being involved in a car wreck and is brought back to life by the determination of Sister Anderson, a nurse who knew him when he was a young constable.
Another strand of the story involves Marcus Bacton, former schoolmaster and the owner and editor of The Phenomenologist, an old fashioned magazine concentrating on occult knowledge and events, a Celtic Shaman/aging actor and ventriloquist, and a popular television personality/scholar. At the center of this is a tor, an ancient sacred site, which some would hold was sacred to death, others would hold as sacred to life and healing.
Then from America, a New Age columnist comes looking for her sister who was involved with a dream project run by the television personality.
Not as compelling as the Merrily Watkins books, but quite interesting with a host of unique characters. Creepily scary.
Sean Barrett is not as good as Emma Powell who narrates the Merrily books. Powell does a far better American accent than Barrett. Fortunately Barrett pretty much forgets the flat, nasal American accent he gives Grayle in the beginning.
Now let's have the rest including The Man in the Moss and the second DI Maiden book.
This was not the first crime I have read that was written by an Icelandic author. The first one was far more depressing, involving spousal/child abuse, drug addiction and murder. This book also involved spousal/child abuse, drug addiction and murder, but in a somewhat more light-hearted vein-- well as light-hearted as you can get about those topics.
I honestly cannot decide if the style is the result of an awkward translation or if the awkward phrasing and strange humor is just Icelandic. I did however learn many facts about Iceland so I began to simply treat it as a sociological study. The author explains at one point that Iceland doesn't have a passenger rail system and that is one of the things that I cannot get out of my head. Of course other things leave me wondering if the main character would seems as odd to Icelandic readers as he appears to me.
This book seems to have been written before the Icelandic financial bust of 2008 when the entire banking system failed. (I had read-- and recommend-- Michael Lewis' "Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World" and became intrigued by his description of his time in Iceland.)
This was a special deal when I bought it and as long as the price remains low I think that it is worth the time it takes to listen to it, but it's not a book that I would have been happy had I paid full price for it.
The narrator is new to me and I think he is OK, but this is another book that was improved by putting the reading speed on 1.25X. It seemed to drag a 1X.
Zombie Doe, a young girl who had been tortured and was dead or nearly dead by New Years Eve, is thrown from the trunk of a dark sedan into the path of a party limousine. If she wasn't dead before she certainly was after she fell into a snarl of holiday traffic. Thus begins another of the Nikki and Sam serial killer adventures set in midwinter Minnesota.
Pros: Hoag is a competent writer so I don't regret buying and listening to this novel.
Cons: This is a narrator that I am not familiar with and I don't particularly care for his reading style. His female voices are particularly annoying.
The characters are lacking in development. I really had no emotional attachment to the kids (and Hoag generally does kids well) or to any of the victims. Usually there is a bit of ambiguity about the adult characters in her previous books leading to suspense, but it was clear right off who the bad guys were.
I also think that Hoag made a mistake making this a "message" story. There was a theme involving bullying in high school that sometimes had me skipping pages. I would cheerfully have turned most of the kids over to the serial killer. Georges St. Pierre got mentioned a lot and I finally broke down and googled him while writing this.
I missed the Sam and Tinks' (Nikki) cohesiveness as a Homicide partnership present in most of the other books. Tinks and Sam both seemed tired. The numerous references to the daughter that Sam gave up to his ex-wife as a infant made me wonder if this was foreshadowing a future book.
I don't regret the time I spent reading this book, but I'm certainly not going to reread it like I have many of her prior suspense novels.
I've always been found of Christopher Marlowe as a poet and play-write. As a character though-- M. J. Trow pulls him one way, then another, and tries too hard to rehabilitate him from the ancient canard that Marlowe indulged in the sin that was the sin of Sodom. I find that a bit disappointing because I think a little off kilter sexuality is attractive in a man (or a woman).
Anyway, Marlowe is just about to receive his degree at Cambridge when he and his friends are caught trying to sneak back into the college grounds after a night of roistering. Marlowe escapes but the others are caught and punished with beatings. This delays the ceremony while their stripes heal. Meanwhile, an old friend of Marlowe's youth is discovered in his room, dead. This friend who is called variously by the narrator Ralph and Rafe is one of three dead bodies that make an appearance in Cambridge that month.
Marlowe is called upon by his old mentor and protector to take on the task of discovering Ralph's killer.
While a bit disappointed in Marlowe and the other overlarge cast of characters, I did like the characterization of John Dee and would not have minded seeing more of him.
Andrew Wincott, the narrator, is pretty uninspired and does nothing to punch up the story. This book would have benefited from a younger voice with more of a period feel.
M. J. Trow is a prolific novelist whose books eventually all blend together. The explanation of the murder in this case was a bit of a groaner rather than an amazing piece of detective work.
This book was released in the Kindle version and the Audible version but not yet available in paperback, which I thought was an interesting inversion of the windowing used by some publishers. This is the Fifth Geraldine Steel book, but the first one I have read. It's ok as a stand alone.
I tried not to let the fact that there was a glossary of English police acronyms at the beginning bother me-- but you can tell it did. I told myself that probably some readers aren't fans of English police procedurals and need to have it explained that DS means Detective Sergeant. However, I did feel a little talked down to and figured the situation would have been better solved with a little judicious editing.
The plot centers around the grotesque murder of the owner of a restaurant frequented by celebrities. I think that the author's decision to start off with a prologue that takes certain characters out of the running for the killer right away is a mistake. The suspense could have been ratcheted up there. Certain plot threads just get dropped along the way, which may happen in real police investigations, but are annoying in fiction.
Also, I have real doubt that the will that impels part of the plot would have been let stand as written under English law.
Someone compared it to the Prime Suspect novels, but its a much blander story than Ms. LaPlante's tales of a female officer on her way up the professional ladder.
I will say I did enjoy the narrator very well. That alone may make me back up and listen to a couple of the earlier books.
Second in the series. I probably should have read the first one, Technomancer, but I really didn't have much trouble picking up the plot. I was sent this as an Advanced Reading Copy, but because I kept dozing off, I ended up downloading the Audible version which kept my attention better. I did, however, find that the Audible version went a little better when I set the reading speed at 1.25x on my iPhone app.
Anyway, plot-wise, this is a standard sort of urban fantasy story with our hero, supernatural crime investigator Quentin Draith finding himself in a situation where he has to make some money or he is going to lose his home, a small mansion that was cheap to purchase but expensive to keep.
In order to make some money he accepts a job to find a missing 27 year old woman named Jacqueline Swanson. Meanwhile he notices that there seems to be something gobbling up street people and depositing their bones back on the street. He is also hired by a local casino owner/magic wielder, to find the owner's pet, an intelligent lava slug, who finds Las Vegas to be too cool for comfort. Meanwhile Draith is also being hunted by another magic wielder who sends assassins of various shapes and sizes after him. He is also searching for his past since he has lost his memories.
Yeah, there's a bit too much going on. And Jacqueline is more like a vapid 17 year old than a 27 year old woman. Her relationship with Quentin seems more perfunctory than sizzling. Most of the main characters have a set of powers that they are given by the possession of certain artifacts-- it's really a lot like a video game.
Just to give you an idea of what I think are excellent books in this genre-- Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London (PC Peter Grant) and Simon R. Green's The Man with the Golden Torc (Secret Histories, Book 1) are two first books in series that I look forward to the next volume in. I think Aaronovitch is up to 4 and the Secret Histories is at about 6. Larson's book was tolerable, but I won't be heartbroken if I don't read the next one.
The narrator was more than competent but as I said it seemed to drag a little bit until I upped the speed just a quarter. After all this is a fast paced story and the writing isn't particularly complex so it was easy to follow.
Martin, the forensic pathologist, has lost his old boss who has had a heart attack. The new boss who is not at all the same as the old boss, is not a medical expert but a penny pinching, time clock watching bean counter, who in an effort to maximize the profitability of the Institute has started renting morgue drawers to funeral homes which have been stretched beyond their resources by a heat wave in Cologne. Then a body is stolen and things start to go seriously, weirdly wrong.
Meanwhile Martin is apartment shopping and trying to find some way to cope with the chatty ghost of young ghost of a car thief who has been his (nearly) constant companion for the past six months.
The story is told from the ghost's point of view in first person. The narrator is excellent. While some plot points are a bit obvious, I still enjoyed the ride.
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