Better drawn characters and less trite plot twist. The only mystery here is how the main character can be so emotionally limp and insipid yet, we are to believe she started and successfully runs her own business after surviving a distressing childhood. I don't think so. She constantly lies, refuses to get a lawyer and as a successful, business woman couldn't figure out that maybe this might not be the best tack to take? I kept wishing she'd get bumped off. Women like this do NOT start and successfully run a business - this is fantasy and not a very good one. Save your money/credit.
I'll probably be shy of Sandra Brown books for a while. Might try another one at the library for free or get another one on sale, but I will be a little wary of spending a credit on her.
I'm never sure when the characters annoy me whether it is due in part to the narrator or not. Sometimes their voice is an issue but I can usually hear through that. I think wasting a better narrator on this would be a travesty.
I'd rewrite the main characters and eliminate a lot of the redundant meetings awkwardly used to move the plot along. If you can't make the reader feel the least bit of sympathy for the wimpy "savvy business" woman who supposedly owns, operates, started "French Silk" why would you even care about what happens in the rest of the book?
It's a good thing I got this on sale!
I needed a break from the fast paced thrillers I had been listening to and thought this romantic "cozy" would do the trick. The trick is how this author got past the self published e-book stage. How did this narrator get promoted to reading adult lit instead of the kiddie lit to which she is obviously more suited? Golly, gosh, gee whiz, I, much like the dim heroine, cannot figure it out.
This might be a spoiler alert, if I had gotten past the half way point in the story, which I didn't. I couldn't. I can tell how it's going to turn out and I don't care. The main character is a 24 year old female accredited accountant, but hey, she has papers and everything, as another character literally asks her midway through the story - what is she, a pedigree dog? papers? really? Well, she uses her "papers" to get hired by a super duper high tech company but she is so dumb that she a) meets and gets engaged to a average nice guy that she has known less than 8 weeks, she also adopts his 8 year old child within this same time frame and before the actual wedding ever takes place (lawyers and courts must work really fast in No. California); b) has the responsibility for transferring million dollar funds after only working there for a few weeks but can't figure out how her embezzler/fiance got the codes to access the money; c) doesn't question anything at all when Mr. Average buys her a valuable house as well as an expensive engagement ring, and d) refuses to admit the possibility that her on-the-lam ex, who can only be identified by her and her adopted child, is out there trying to kill her and his son, even after two (you're an accountant, honey, count 'em) possibly fatal "accidents" occur.
When the local, hunky, but guilt ridden sheriff, to whom she has an immediate, intense connection and which is, of course, mutual, tries to point out the apparent dangers, she replies, "I'm not an idiot." a phrase which she repeats whenever anyone with half a brain, tries to point out any salient facts to her. She isn't convincing me. Anyone who can go through all these feelings and experiences in 2 months time and NOT question anything is an idiot, as a matter of fact, I think there is a picture of our girl in the dictionary's definition of the word.
I am an accounting mgr, which really makes this knuckle head so insulting a character to me as both a career person and a female. The literary world could do with one less idiot masquerading as a real person instead of a cardboard cutout cutie. I don't mind light-hearted mysteries, but light-headed authors aggravate me.
I have enjoyed Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley books in the past but this one was too much Barbara Havers and not enough DI Lynley. Barbara is fine as a sidekick - subplot but her behavior in this book is just so annoying. To have to digest such a (too) long tale with her bad behavior driving the plot forward was not enjoyable for me. The problem is, this is a good story but Barbara acts up way too much and there's no evidence of a calming influence from Lynley. I realize her irritating ways drive the plot forward but at what cost? Intelligence, I think. I would have edited out at least 25 - 30 percent of this book and most of that would have been her way over the top bad behavior. Davina Porter's narration was fine but I doubt anyone could make this type of behavior endurable for such a long read.
If you have not read Elizabeth George in the past, do not start with this book or you may never read her again. If you are a fan, skip this one or perhaps, read the abridged version? I'm sure Barbara will still be annoying in that one too but there will just be less of it to endure.
I've read all of the Temperance Brennan books so far and this one is definitely sub-par. It seems as though Ms. Brennan spends way too much time reflecting about stuff. This isn't really a spoiler but it does tell something about the story. At one point she goes to Iraq and sees her Marine Corps daughter (someone that she also thinks about a lot). She manages to disinter two bodies, get buried by the debris of a bomb hit and dug out, do her forensic investigation, write a report, get debriefed and fly back to the States to testify at a military hearing about her findings. All this zips right along but then she's back home ruminating about her cat or why she doesn't have any food in the house. Really, no food, well here's a clue - buy some. Do I care about her food problem, not a little tiny bit. Does this have anything to do with the plot? No, but it seems to be a recurring theme throughout this book. Poor Tempe, no food in the house, oopsie, she forgot to eat for 3 days. I exaggerate, but that's what I remember from the book and I don't think that's what I should be taking away with me.
And then there's the ending...well, suffice it to say that if I hadn't already slogged through the rest of the book, I wouldn't have bothered with the last 75 minutes, I was that angry. I won't tell you how it ends, but I will tell you that I do not appreciate it when an author insults the reader and takes the lazy way out by suddenly pulling out the stupid stick and smacking the main character with it, not once but several times, just to "set up" the ending. Am I really supposed to believe that our heroine is so intelligent that she can figure out this rather complex mystery instead or ahead of the police and yet act so irresponsibly and brainlessly as does Ms Brennan at the end of this book? Is her inability to find a grocery store or restaurant supposed to be the ultimate excuse for her inexcusable behavior? Is lack of food a legal defense for trampling on the Constitution? Frankly if she behaved this way in most jurisdictions she would've been arrested and rightfully so.
I hate it when I keep hearing the narrator repeat the same exact phrase over and over again throughout a book. It seems to me that this is easy enough to avoid, the English language is filled with multiple words that can mean the same thing, it's also why we have Thesauruses, perhaps this author should try employing one. The story would have been okay except that it is fleshed out with boring, pedantic mewling dialogue. The heroine this time is NOT the most beautiful woman our hero has ever seen, in fact, she's quite plain. Well, she certainly is written that way and in case you missed it the first or second or third time, it's repeatedly drubbed into the reader throughout the book. Okay, we get it. The thing is that this could've been an interesting perspective but she is also a scold and somewhat delusional because she keeps repeating how she can "make" people like her because she just can, it's what she does. Nowadays we'd put someone like her on meds. This one is just ridiculous. Most romances are somewhat unbelievable, but at least they can be fun so that we want to suspend our disbelief. This one makes me feel like I just spent 2 hours in detention for being naughty in catechism class.
If you enjoy repetitive, inane, inept police work liberally sprinkled with juvenile romance then this is the series for you. To be fair, this 3rd book in the series actually centers on a new character, a female doctor, and is a welcome relief from the boring sameness of the first two books, so it's not exactly the same story as the others: holiday-snow season in Montana and a brand new brilliant but deranged serial killer is on the loose (again!) in Grizzly Falls with Pescoli and Alvarez on the case (in between their problems with their kids and boyfriends) but it's close. If I were the sheriff I'd have fired both of these girl detectives. Of course if I were on the city/town council I'd probably have fired the Sheriff too. This author should really decide whether she's writing a romance or a mystery. She does better with the romance part because there doesn't have to be any logic to a romance. She cannot or will not maintain a rational approach to their cases and demonstrates a lack of capacity for pacing a well constructed story line and sticking with it. Too much unnecessary emotional trauma and not enough police work. I have more feeling for some of the minor characters/victims than her two principals. If only one or both of them would be the victim in the next book!
I was drawn to this because of the author's other books, all mysteries of a sort, plus the review mentioned her ability to convey the details of day to day life in ancient Egypt. Her lighthearted approach to period fiction is sorely lacking here and a tad too much detail regarding the love life of the Royal scribe and his male and female lovers is just out of place. I am about half way through the book and without any "mystery" yet, just the expectation of more of the same type of daily details but with no character development and so far, only a glancing reference to Akhnaten and his theories, I'm bored. With the biggest romance being between two guys, this is just not my cup of tea. I've read other books about Akhnaten and his daring theology and what it did to Egypt, so I'm not "up in the air" about what happens historically. Anyone who has read other books about this era will not find anything this book has to offer.
So, without any real mystery, no new historical interpretation, boring two dimensional characters and a young adult lit approach to the story, I have no interest in finishing this book. It feels more like a history for young adult readers, if you don't mind your young adults reading books with sex scenes. Maybe they will be engaged, I know I'm not. I'm not sure a sophisticated adolescent would be engaged either, there are many well-written young adult books, which I've read and enjoyed, this doesn't happen to be one of them. Yawn.
Well plotted mystery with creditable twists, subtle clues, and characters that amazingly do NOT act unbelievably stupid just to move the plot along. This was intelligent but not stuffy or difficult to read. I liked the main characters and hopefully we'll be seeing more of them in the future. In the same vein as Elizabeth George or Ruth Rendell. Good read. (Just a note about the narrator - aside from the occasional pronunciation variance between American English and British English, the narrator's voice has a familiar quality and he's easily understood; his rendering of the characters voices is deftly handled.
If you like Dave Barry's style as a columnist or if you have read his earlier novel BIG TROUBLE then this listen should be a good fit. Dave is the narrator and reads it straight, which actually sets up the laughs wonderfully. He doesn't do different voices for the characters but I don't think that in this instance it matters. I don't do voices in my head when I read a book but I still enjoy the story. And while a polished performance by an experienced actor often enhances a listening experience, a straight read by the author usually gets the point he's trying to make, across to the listener/reader. In this case, I laughed - a lot. Dave Barry's style is similar to Carl Hiaasen; although Mr. Barry's tales are not as long or as involved. Maybe it's something in the water in Florida? Anyway, I will listen to this one again and recommend it to anyone that wants an injection of good-natured silliness that results from the all too human foibles of the less than stellar characters in the general vicinity of greater Miami.
This is a very disturbing read (okay, listen). The title sums it up, it brings you to a dark corner where there is seemingly no escape. I prefer mysteries to thrillers but a well written thriller is almost as enjoyable as a good mystery. I just found this unrelentingly harrowing and wouldn't recommend it to my friends. This might be a spoiler but the story goes back and forth between the actual domestic violence and terrorism perpetrated against the main character by her lover and four years later, as she tries to regain her mental well being that he stole from her. Both of these situations are unenviable and as far as I'm concerned an exercise in how much depressive reading (listening) a person can take - I figure I could've taken about half of what is served up here. It still would've gotten to where it was eventually going and I would've been released from it's oppressiveness that much sooner.
While the story is very well written, I found that most of the time I was getting lost in the dark words and soulful language of the narrator/book and not the story. I found the main character too reflective and without a lot of sympathetic traits to be likeable, at least to me, He was pitiable but not so interesting that I would like to read anymore about him. So, while the story itself did stir some emotions within me, the slow pace and plodding realizations of the main character did nothing except make me want the story to be over and done with, much like my association with most of the characters, all of whom seemed gloomy and morose. Were the 1950's really like that or is this just an Irish thing? I was glad this story finally ended and a little surprised to see that this was book 1 in a series. I might pick up book 2 if I could download it for free at the library. That way, if it continues down the same dark, foreboding path I can shut it off, delete it from my player and not worry about a wasted credit.
In summary, read this if you enjoy doing penance, wearing a sackcloth and weeping in your beverage of choice, for all the sad, literary characters you can think of, otherwise you might want to steer clear of this one.
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