For the first 10 hours I enjoyed this book, then it started to drag. And the drag was compound by the main character becoming a tiresome bore. Entire chunks of the manuscript could have been deleted and the story would not have suffered. The story begins to bog down midway. I kept forgetting that everything took place in a matter of days, not weeks. It felt like months. By the time I wanted to stop listening, I had invested so much time into the story I felt I had to see it through
-The narrator, Eduardo Ballerini, does a superb job. I would definitely listen to another of his books.
-Robert McCammon is a wonderful writer. His language is evocative and sucks the reader into the story. There is just too much of it.
-Great character studies of the residents of Fount Royal, even the bad guys. And that contributes to the negatives because some characters feel like they were there because the author wanted to write about them, not because they were critical to the story.
-The 30 hours which should have been 20 - at most
-Matthew Corbett's repetitive and sanctimonious whining. I don't blame some of the other characters for not taking him seriously.
-Characters that appear and then disappear once they have served their purpose. What, for instance, happened to the blacksmith after his tryst with his equine companion?
-My unwillingness to believe that a young man as educated and smart as Matthew would throw away his entire live on a woman he met briefly.
-The book takes place over less than two weeks yet feels like it is at least two months.
-Others have pointed out the details that are off for the period.
-Too many characters that serve little purpose other than to help Matthew uncover someone's secret. The troupe of actors come to town, months ahead of schedule. with a new stage manager who just happens to have been acquainted with one of the bad guys decades ago in England. The troupe appears one day and then departs the next.
-The absence of positive females, or many female characters at all, except the witch and the housekeeper. The only other females were an entreprenurial shrew and her seemingly possessed daughter. None of the main male characters had a wife living in Fount Royal. The wives were all dead or crazy or addicted but living elsewhere.
The "I almost stopped listening":
-The penis obsessed language used by almost every male character in the story. They all seemed to be obsessed with penises big and small. It didn't feel right. Just like it felt very wrong that the magistrate would tell the slimy innkeeper Matthew was a virgin. Matthew was 20 years old in 1699. I wonder if this would have been acceptable dinner conversation.
-(Spoiler Alert on this one) Instead of finding the scene where poor Lucy the horse is mounted by her owner (in the biblical sense} to be grotesque or repellent, I found it laughable. The image of the man suspended in mid-air in a homemade sex sling to enjoy connubial bliss with his pony made me think of a circus for perverts.
-Matthew is so set on proving Rachael is innocent, yet he willing lets the guilty go free. Most of the main characters have a secret to hide or have been committing crimes. But Matthew keeps the secrets to meet his own ends.
-Matthew can't see past his quest to save Rachael. He was even willing to abandon the magistrate, the man who educated and protected him, for the sake of a woman he barely knew.
An odd transition between the last two chapters had me check out the book version. Turns out the first 1/2 of the last chapter, which ties up the story lines of two important characters, is missing. Makes me wonder if other material has been left out as well.
I enjoyed the first half of the book and the various storylines, but by the second half the book loses steam. The ending was unsatisfying and convoluted. I can't say I understand the motivation of the murderer or the how it relates to the rest of the book.
Sebastian Becker is not a well developed character. His lack of emotion at the death of someone close to him is jarring. He seems to walk through the story without having any reactions to what is going on around him. The only emotion in the story comes through the great narration by Michael Page.
This is not the first book in the series but the only one on Audible. I doubt I will look for more of them to become available. Apparently, the first book is set in the US before he returns to England. I was not surprised to discover that the author is a screenwriter. The story feels very much like a treatment for a miniseries
I watched, and loved, the British series Granchester on PBS. I can't wait for more. I had great hopes for the book but they weren't met. BBC has taken a mediocre book and created a wonderful TV show. This book is actually a set of short stories with continuity of the main characters and themes. Sidney Chambers is so different from the James Norton TV character, and I couldn't warm up to him. He is flat and unengaged. In his late 30s, Sidney is naive and a bit of an air head. In the final story of the book, he treats being arrested in East Germany like a couple days at camp.
In the book, Sidney is very involved with a college in Cambridge, which is more of the focus than the village of Granchester. Because the dons are involved, several of the stories relate to college politics and involve chemistry and physics. One story goes so much into detail about how cricket is played that the mystery gets lost in the game. As someone who is not familiar with the game of cricket, I had no idea what was going on for most of the story.
The narrator did a good job except for one of the female voices. Amanda's voice is grating and annoying.
Even though I was intrigued by the setting and the period detail in this book, this story would have moved much faster if details and facts were not constantly repeated. I was so tired of hearing about Sister Fedelma's bright green eyes that I was ready to poke them out. I also tired of, and was annoyed by, the constant sexual undertones of the religious characters. While during this period there were mixed religious houses where both men and women lived, from what else I have read it seems men and women did not regularly "cohabitate" as described by the author but lived in separate quarters. When first introduced to Sister Fedelma, both female Abbessess in the story comment on her figure and her looks. I didn't realize that medieval nuns wore such form fitting habits that their figures were so easily judged. The main characters spend more time thinking about sex and the opposite sex than to about religion or praying. In fact, I don't recall Sister Fidelma ever praying or contemplating religion. It seemed off. The author needs to work on revealing his feminine side in his female characters. The killer was easy to spot early on. In addition, it bothered me that so many things were referred to by their latin names over and over; then again, without the narrator, I would never have guess how some of the names and titles were pronounced.
Sweet Danger is a campy sort of mystery, though the mystery really isn't much of a mystery. Campion is drool and amusing as he and a group of friends try to find the true heir to a piece of strategic property in a far off Balkan country. We get to meet the eccentric Finton family, in particular young Lady Amanda Finton, who scrape by running a mill. The Finton's hold the keys to the mystery. Lady Amanda likes to tinker with electricity, batteries, and radio. The bad guy and his cronies are obvious from the start.
Francis Matthews is a wonderful narrator. I prefer him to David Thorpe, whose Campion I find grating..
I enjoyed the mystery but was left wanting more from the book. For me, it didn't merit being called "Regency." Except for a mention of the war with France and the Princess Charlotte's wedding and people riding around in carriages, there were few other details to bring the Regency to mind. Captain Lacey was also an odd character. His self recriminations often seemed more feminine than masculine in tone. For an army man, I thought it odd he never cursed. What little sex there is is implied rather than seen, which is a nice change of pace. I was amazed to see a reviewer on Amazon say she was going to delete the book because of its overt sexuality. I'm not sure we were reading the same book. The narrator is fine but I gave him only three stars because of Lacey's over the top, screechy dialogue.
This book kept me up all night listening. While seemingly a story of gratuitous murder, River of Darkness also explores the theme of how a person's psyche long after a war is over. War, in fact, is never over for some. Airth skillfully weaves together a police investigation, a love story, and a killer's narrative. I highly recommend this book. The narrator was excellent and his regional accents sounded authentic, at least to my untrained ear.
Raven Black is a moody, atmospheric story with twists and turns throughout. I was actually surprised when the killer was revealed. Cleeves is excellent at pulling the reader/listener into the story and her descriptions of the island culture hook you. Lt. Jimmy Perez is a character with substance, as in Fran Hunter. I understand this book was made into a British TV show called Shetland. I will be on the lookout for it.
I concur with the other reviewers. More of Ann Cleeves please.
This set of charming and witty tales, as told by the Dragon's Bard, is fun and amusing. I even laughed out loud a few times. If you are looking for evil dragons and vengeful fantasy, this isn't the book for you. If you like drunk pixies, sensitive dwarfs, and broken wishing wells, you will find them in Eventide. Good for the whole family.
Simon Vance is at his best.
Another great set of characters make the Fashion in Shrouds an intriguing listen. I loved the way Allingham mixed theater, fashion, and airplane design plots and subplots. It was great to see Lady Amanda Fitton reappear from an earlier novel. Her ability to handle Campion bodes for future encounters.
Having David Suchet read Hercule Poirot is heaven. He knows his character so well. Death on the Nile is a great listen. Even though I had the bad guy/gal figured out before the denouement, it was a fun ride getting there. Christie provides a great cast of potential killers and victims.
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