Not bad, not great. The smart kid is a little too smart, and her parents quirky without being solid enough to stand all that quirk. If I had it to buy again, I wouldn't, but I don't resent the time I spent on it. All these people who find the book funny: I assume you work for laugh-track companies. The best quality here is endearing. Everyone's over the top. Once you accept that, the story sneaks up on you. The ending's the best part.
I love the idea of a miracle hunter, an evidence-based seeker of the divine on earth. (Not quite the same thing as the Catholic Church's Devil's Advocate, but close. If only the Devil's Advocate had these high standards.) The hero is a young Catholic priest raised by a tent-preacher con man. Nobody gets stereotyped in this telling, which is so unusual. Nephew and uncle get back together, and sparks fly.
Although Chercover is respectful of the spiritual impulse, this story suggests organized religion is a business prone to corruption and willing, when threatened, to engage in faking the evidence and even murder.
Hard to argue with that, but it would have been terrific if the writer had also enlarged on what can make communities of the faithful a profound experience. That would have been a great book, and this is only a good one.
First half of the book is thrilling. It trailed off into a caper, but never lost me entirely. The narrator is splendid. Worth a credit, especially for conflicted ex-Catholics.
Jesse Kellerman is a better writer than his dad (Jonathan,) but doesn't have his dad's gift for fast-pacing. He's as good a writer as his mom (Faye), maybe better, and certainly with a wider lens and fresher outlook.
I really liked this story, which is a mystery that I couldn't guess my way through. It constantly surprised me. The characters are deep, and the diverse cultural understandings rich. I love the main character, a woman with a blighted life who keeps on keeping on. Everyone around her also well realized.
Really good narrator.
This plot might have worked in outline, but then it appears the outline got lost. The story wanders in search of its redemptive narrative, which is imposed instead of earned. We never learn essential things, such as, what the vet did or didn't do to get his license revoked, what his dad didn't do right to deserve all this alienation and how the false premises trick ever worked on anybody.
Plus, somebody who takes a child's pet to the vet to be put to sleep on the sly and lets the child and mother search for it afterward deserves a punishment. Some punishment. At least shame. Add blackmail to his crimes. I hung in with the story, hoping the writer would grind this person into the dirt, but no. The person capable of such wrongdoing will do it again.
The dogs are lovely, and well described, but they can't save this bumbling tale. Besides the animals and one great little girl, I didn't believe any of it.
What a wonderful book. Great tone, characters, dialogue and I love the narrator. His silky slides into other voices are amazing. Each one is believable. My problem remains a big one, however. The architecture of the story is so predictable.
Once the story starts to talk up a character, such as, a young man in high school full of promise, we know he's going down. Another one: the brave and optimistic Iraq war vet, hobbling along on a metal leg and bringing realistic light into bad situations. Boom for him. And the fight between brothers? Saw it coming chapters back. Saw the misunderstanding.
Haven't finished and don't believe I will. For all the admirable qualities George Pelecanos possesses as a writer, there's something here I just don't buy. His vision of struggling urban life has a cartoon quality. He's bringing the comics to life and not quite able to shed the banality at the center of his enterprise. I don't believe him. He quotes Elmore Leonard, but he is far, far from Elmore Leonard.
"London Calling" has attracted more than its share of negative Audible reviews, as opposed to positive Amazon reviews, or even reviews in newspapers, such as a strongly favorable one in the Washington Post. Usually when this happens, it's because a poor narrator ruined a good story, but the narrator here is wonderful.
Yes, it's violent, but far less so than more police thrillers, where the victims are nearly always women who are prey to terrible men. Here, the "victims" deserve some kind of punishment, exposure for their deeds at the least.
I didn't find this story offensive. By my lights, it's very well written, with a great central character and a fast-moving plot. I enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to other titles in the series.
Harlan Coben likes the innocent to twist in the wind. The problem here isn't the twisting, it's that there is no reason for it. Close to half of this book is taken up by the authorities suspecting the hero, who was shot and nearly died as the book opens.
That fact, the near death, eliminates him as a suspect, but not in the mind of one particularly thick FBI agent. We know said hero didn't do it, but we have to put up with the twisting and torturing of this man whose innocence is never in question. Won't give away the ending, but, guess what? He didn't do it, which you know in the first five minutes.
Without that fatal flaw, good story.
The good things are solid: tender attention to relevant detail, depth of characters, believable quirks, breathable landscapes. You are there.
This is an American family story beginning in the early 1960s, lower-white-middle class, with excellent parents and two children, both damaged in their own ways. The parents stay classy. They're saints without sentimentality or religion, and they never disappear into stereotype. For their love and steadfast loyalty, they deserved better.
The story is a dirge. Despite the excellent details (scene-setters), "The Memory of Running" fails to rise to the material. If you know that one child is mentally ill and the other worn-out from caring and worrying about her, plus then clobbered by Vietnam, you have it, any story with these particulars. Good details don't save it from lacking tread on its tires.
The narrator is peripheral to his own life. While that is interesting in its own way, him standing beside himself, narrating, more his shadow than his substance, it ultimately wore me out. While I liked this story and rooted hard for the writer, I wouldn't have bought the book had I understood it better. A downer like this has to wake you up rather than lull you to depressed sleep, wishing it were over.
The narrator, of course, was fabulous.
The mystery is almost beside the point, the point being the dog. Unlike many narratives featuring a canine, this series gets down and dirty in the dog world. There are hairs on the owner's trousers, the dog eats God-knows-what and gets sick, with nasty results, All of this is described. The dirt is in the details, especially this time out.
I've listened to all four of of these "Golden Retriever Mysteries," which suggests a certain amount of liking. And I do like them, even though the writing is somewhat awkward, the conversations hover close to the stilted end of unbelievable and the pacing runs slack before being abruptly tightened, only to run slack again.
And yet I like the bones of these stories. The human hero is unusual, and the dog is fabulous. Yes, nobody could believe in its ability to unearth things at just the right plot points, but who cares? The dog is a glorious big goof.
The narrator is another kind of goof. His mispronunciations are genuinely funny, as in, "chic" pronounced "chick," for baby chicken instead of for stylish. Really, and downhill from there. I don't tend to like narrators who over-emote, but Kelly Libatique reads as if he's reading a kid to sleep.
The plots work, even this one, the latest, which is the weakest. I don't regret buying them, but if there were more on Audible, I'd be ready for break and not eager to download another.
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.
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