Having just finished the excellent "Tripwire," I was ready for another Reacher. "Persuader" killed the character for me for some time to come. Story flat, characters full of lead. Seems as if Child wrote this one for the money. I've enjoyed this series, but not this version.
Had "Gods of Guilt" been written by a lesser talent, it would be five stars all the way. But considering the source, it's a bit of a disappointment although well worth the credit.
Connelly debuted Mickey Haller as the star of "The Lincoln Lawyer," one of my favorite books in any genre. It's smoking good on every level. I listened to it twice, read it and watched the movie. Never a let down.
Since then, Haller has not been living up to his potential. If he were a property, he'd have moved from an ocean view to a tract home in the valley. Connelly's not giving him the wide view such a magnificent character deserves. In the first book, Haller lived in his head, and it was big lens. Since then, he's going through the motions. Where's the fabulous trickster sensibility? Greatly diminished.
"Gods of Guilt" (pretentious title for the jury) starts slow and gains speed. By the half-way point, I was engrossed without ever being in love.
Another thing. Without giving away anything about plots featuring Haller, it's safe to say this criminal defense attorney would be a wash-out at the personal injury bar. In "Lincoln Lawyer," he doesn't even consider the possibility of a big payday from a tort against himself. And the injury comes from a fabulously wealthy and totally guilty family.
This time out, Haller congratulates himself for getting a little money for a grievously injured client. Mickey: You got pocket change. Your client almost died in the hands of criminals, and you're boasting about what you got him? If those dollars were 1950 dollars, maybe. In the 21st century, for a guy who's supposed to be good at the bottom line, you're verging on malpractice.
Michael Connelly should consult with a few plaintiff lawyers before his character blows any more chances to get the money. John Grisham never makes these kind of mistakes, but then, he is a lawyer. For my money, Connelly is the better writer.
Bravo for narrator Peter Giles. Flawless.
I realize I might be owning up to the decline of my gray matter when I say, I did not get this. Who's speaking? That's very hard to keep track of. The characters are extreme: the treacherous sister, the jealous brother, the victim with a big secret, the other victim who had a dog and managed to get away, although I gather she goes down later.
I managed to keep listening, backing up several times to replay chapters that lost me the first time, until the cop hero appeared. Is that early on? I'm hours into this story, and I'm lost. Is drooling next for me, or is this story a mess?
Maybe if I'm desperate to listen to something, anything, I'll come back to this, but I'm thinking of asking for a refund.
Also, this story is way, way unpleasant. Good writer, but nasty.
If you like bobbing for apples when most are duds and the chance of getting a mouth full of mealy monster mush is guaranteed, you're ready to buy "Best Crime Stories" edited by Dorothy Sayers.
Most of these stories take place before crime writing came into its own. We get loads of gentlemen sleuths: pipe puffing know-it-alls who lack the quirky charm of Sherlock but like him steamroll over dumb cops to get the answers.
Then there are ghost stories, lots and lots. Speaking beyond the grave. Rattling the china. Scaring the horses. Edgar Allen Poe is not at his best here. He's trying out his themes of romantic loss and obsession without the crisp architecture of his best tales. The gems? Almost worth it for the Stephen Crane, the H.G. Wells and the Melville. That's about two good hours out of twenty. Is this a recommendation? Depends on how bored you're willing to be.
No complaints about the narrators.
While I've enjoyed previous Bryant & May adventures - the plot intricacies, the robust character development - this time, tedium ensued. The past rises up to bite the present in the butt. That's no stretch, but this particular past lacks sufficient teeth for engagement. The entire enterprise felt forced and overly plotted. The writing was, as usual, just fine, and the narrator did his excellent best with dubious material.
C.J. Box must be kidding with this one. Opens deep in compelling atmospherics: An old man and an old dog in a cabin with two criminals outside dug into a snow drift, waiting for the victim to open the door.
Box excels at this sort of thing. What a relief it was to hear it, having listened, of late, to lesser writers.
What happened then? Nothing even remotely believable, in terms of story. Something like this happened in Wyoming during the build-up to U.S. involvement in World War II. Yes, and so what? This is the kind of thing you might hear at dinner some night when everybody's had a lot to drink, and you think, briefly, that it's quite a tale. The next morning? No. Just because some version of this happened in no way means it's worth C.J. Box's time.
What's wrong here? Not the writing, which is solid, or the characters, who are believable. It's the plot. It's diagrammed. Sentences that would be alert and alive instead have their backs broken and forward motion impeded.
Instead of moving along, the story is stuck in a story-hospital the writer explains everything. Ewan is the anti-Elmore Leonard writer. Leonard sets his stories free into the world, and Ewan muffles his with explanations.
Ewan constantly stops the action to allow his characters to explain themselves to each other, but really to us. He doesn't tell a story as much as he retells it. It goes nowhere for too much of the time.
The narrator, the excellent Simon Vance, is, as always, excellent.
Maybe it's me. Who knows what subjective criteria influence enjoyment, but I'll bet there are plenty. Still, after having listened to everything by John Sandford available either at Audible or on discs at the library, and loving all featuring Lucas and/or Virgil Flowers, I was not intrigued by this title.
The plot is massively unlikely, and it limps along. Virgil remains a fabulous character and I especially like his sometime-girlfriend this time out, but the story made me feel tired. I didn't care about the stone, real or fake, and didn't believe a minister working for so many summers in Israel would so abuse the country's hospitality. Plus, when the payoffs came, making the story work, I must have been daydreaming. Who paid?
Sandford is good at making his evil-doers scary, but the thug in this book said to be famous for cutting off men's balls seems as if he wandered in off the set of a sitcom. Who'd be scared of him?
Do good people turn to crime just because they need the money? Maybe sometimes, but I'd need a little more convincing than Sandford provides. And don't ministers at some point rely on God's grace and mercy? Shouldn't a minister in good standing in his profession at least be seen to pray about his problem, even once?
Even given all that, it's still a John Sandford title. If I knew all this before buying the title, I'd probably still buy it. At his worst, Sandford is better than most.
When I read from fellow Audible reviewers that this book was riddled with fart and poop jokes, I thought, surely not riddled. Maybe padded a little with childish humor, but surely not riddled.
It's riddled. Smart pills make the consumer fart. Given the title, I should have assumed that would be a big plot point. Then there's the dog eating X-Lax and a slow-witted sidekick doing the same, in the belief that he was popping a little chocolate.
If you are a 10-year-old geek boy, hilarity ensues. If not, you wade through it to get a reasonably fun, madcap si-fi tale. It's certainly not Douglas Adams or even John Scalzi (love Scalzi's "Agent to the Stars," love it), but it lumbers along without, aside from the fart jokes, disgracing itself. There is very little violence and an overall Douglas Adams-John Scalzi wit, although not in their league.
Had I known about the relentlessly low body humor, would I have bought it? No, but I'm not a Three Stooges fan, do not enjoy vulgarity for its own sake and, above all, I'm a female. This is a male tale.
Excellent narrator. His aplomb almost saved the book, at least for me.
There's something so cozy about Laura Lippman's prose. Her first-person narrator could be somebody you fall into conversation with while waiting for a bus or pausing on a walk in a park to admire each other's dogs. When it works, as in "And When She Was Good," the plot drives the pokey style along. When it doesn't, as in this effort, the narrator becomes tiresome and unbelievable.
A gang of thieves obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe is a fine idea, but Lippman is unable to illuminate why they are obsessive collectors and what it is about Poe that is so fascinating. For a story about obsessive collectors, try Bruce Chatwin's "Utz." It's obvious in the comparison that Lippman is a once-over-lightly sort of writer, and this particular tale needed some depth.
Plus, I'm tired of Barbara Rosenblat. She's obviously a pro, but there's something cozy about her voice. Listening to it, book after book, I'm beginning to feel as though a stranger is being overly familiar. It's like getting a full-body hug from an acquaintance.
This story is carrying the heavy cargo of historic disquisition on the railroad, or lack of one, in Iceland. The plot strains under its weight. On and on about what, in this writer's hands, is a dull theme indeed. What's left is pretty good, although those who don't like switching back and forth between past and present should probably give this a pass. Liked the narrator.
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