Kaaberbol and Friis are very adept at weaving together the stories of multiple characters and points of view into a story with good forward momentum. I have to say, though, that I find the principal character in this book and the last, Nina Borg, to be fairly unappealing and not at all an individual I can identify with or root for.
The audiobook is sorely in need of editing. The narrator will re-read a section more than once, occasionally interjecting "Oh! He's supposed to be Hungarian!" or something like that. I'm also not fond of her transition from reading to overacting in tense plot moments.
All in all, although the plot is good, I would find it hard to recommend this overall.
I started reading this series with The Beautiful Mystery, which is actually the eighth (and at the time I'm writing the most recent) of the books. After finishing it, I immediately turned to the first book in the series and was a bit disappointed to find that an element of the ominous tone that hung over Beautiful Mystery was in Still Life as well, and that it continued into A Fatal Grace. A loved the plots and the richly developed characters but felt a bit uneasy about that backstory that haunted Gamache.
It was enjoyable to learn more about the principal residents of Three Pines in the next two books, which also had satisfying plots. But with The Brutal Telling Penny has given us her most complex psychological tale of the first five, existing on its own with no intrusions from Gamache's past hovering in the background. Not as disturbing as a Ruth Rendell psychological thriller, thankfully, but a thoughtful exploration of how human failings can intrude on even the most idyllic circumstances.
Ralph Cosham's narration has been pitch perfect in all these books and I look forward to the rest. I harbor the suspicion, however, that The Brutal Telling may remain my favorite.
Although we've met Linda Wallendar in previous books in this series, she comes fully to life in this volume. Mankell shifts easily to writing from her point of view, and shows us a character who shares many personality traits with her father, but is still uniquely her own.
Unfortunately, the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, makes Kurt Wallendar a completely unlikable character. In this book he is seen for the first time from his daughter Linda's perspective, and while the character Linda is well aware of his shortcomings, she recognizes that they are part of the package that makes him a successful detective. Not so for the narrator, who clearly finds nothing redeeming in Kurt. I suspect that anyone being introduced to the series for the first time with this volume would be disinclined to read any of the other books where Kurt Wallendar is the protagonist, given the thoroughly unpleasant personality she projects onto him.
Without a doubt. I enjoyed Sansom's intricate plotting, including multiple interweaving story lines and several equally plausible suspects at each crisis along the way. The vivid descriptions of the Royal Progress added color in a way that went beyond just background, becoming integral parts of the plot.
Crossley is consistent in his presentations of each character, his voice is enjoyable, and he moves from one character to another with ease. He is particularly good with the principals; his voice reflects their personalities well.
Absolutely! It was well paced, with a great sense of the development and resolution of each plot point.
Hurray for Sansom and Crossley!
This story really lags in places and introduces a TON of new characters while completely igoring some of the most interesting characters from the previous books. The author crushes all hope whenever possible and gives the reader nothing, and no one, to cling to. I find myself having no reason to continue to follow the plot. Expect all respectable characters to die a brutal death and all evil or deeply flawed characters to succeed, if only for a short time. All of the characters are severely injured whether it be physical pain or emotional pain, no one is safe! This book is filled with pain, sadness, injustice and detailed descriptions of each.
Martin could allow a decent character to achieve a goal once in a while. Readers like to relate to the characters and he brutalizes every one of them which makes the reader feel brutalized, hopeless and ultimately DEPRESSED!
I enjoyed several characters until Martin savaged them and then killed them off. He really knows how to detach his audience...brutalize or murder their favorite characters. It's easy to let go of the plot when that happens.
This book inspired me to search for a different author.
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