As with an earlier reviewer I, too, have been reading the Spencer books for a very long time. I have either read or listened to them all from the first book and have always enjoyed them for what they are - light reading with an interesting story to tell, but with no serious moral issues at stake.
I would not normally have reviewed this book since I have not reviewed any of the previous Audible Spencer books I have listened to, but was convinced to do so by some of the negative reviews I saw. Robert B Parker was a master of the short sentence and short chapter. His books are full of "He said" and "She said", but they are at the core of his writing style and, over time, I have become so wrapped up in the story and the characters that I no longer even notice. Rather it is the regular characters in the book, their relationships with each other and the underlying humor that have made these books so enjoyable, at least for me. Add to that an interesting story, the process of unraveling what actually happened and who did it and the masterful reading of Joe Mantegna and you have a pleasant couple of days of listening.
I enjoy these books so much that I often listen to them again when I want to spend a couple of days just relaxing. For me, the pleasure is in the listening and light humor more than in the "who-dun-it". If you are looking for the Maltese Falcon, you are not going to find it here. I, for one, am truly going to miss seeing more of these books since Mr. Parker recently died and I assume there is no one to continue the series.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who just wants a pleasant relaxed read, but I would also recommend that they start with some of the earlier books since much of the pleasure from the book involves the relations between the characters and that is something that you need some history to understand.
I read this book in paper format more than 30 years ago, but I had forgotten how good it really is. When I saw it available in audible format I jumped at the chance to listen to a previous good read.
Some of the reviews I have read are very hard on the book, but I believe that the are looking in the wrong place. What makes this book so interesting and unique, at least to me, was the idea that humans could encounter aliens so different that all of our assumptions would be wrong. How do two species interact when one is general and adaptive in nature and the other is differiented. That is at the core of this story; at least for me.
The process of meeting, all of the mistaken assumptions and the final realization as to just how different the species are is, I believe, a very interesting story with, for new readers, an unknown conclusion.
But listeners should know that this story is from 1974 and hence some of the story line is 35 years out of date. I believe that to be the cause of some of the bad reviews. Perhaps those listeners did not know the copyright date and might have been more charitable to the male-centered character of the story.
All in all I think this is a nearly great book with more than adequate reading.
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