If you are a die hard fan of the Barbara Holloway series, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. If it is the first of the series you have read, you might be better off to go back and read Death Qualified, and continue to The Best Defense and Malice Prepense. The evolution of characters seems essential, to me, to fully understand and enjoy each book. While the plot of this book is complex and interesting, it is really the characters that are compelling. I thought the narrator was adequate, but I don't care for the "whiny" quality of her voice when she portrays female characters. It somehow minimizes the importance of otherwise strong and competent women characters.
After investing dozens and dozens of hours in listening to this series of books, I was sad to finish them finally. I know that many readers were dissatisfied with the ending, but I believe that it ended on exactly the right note. While I relished the late, great Frank Muller's narration in the early books, I grew to enjoy George Guidall's telling of the story as well, and will certainly look for more books that he has narrated.
The final chapter of the ka-tet's adventure is long and sometimes tedious, and could probably have benefited from a bit of editing. King could not resist entering the book himself, which I found a bit irritating, but after all of his work to finish it, I suppose he had the right to do so. There is sadness in this final chapter, which the author foreshadows and warns us about, and there is also joy. All of your questions will be answered, and all of your longing will be satisfied, say true. If you are listening in the company of others, as I often do (my audiobooks are my companions as I do dishes each night and clean my kitchen), anyone listening may be taken aback by your tears or your laughter. A thoroughly satisfying denouement to a marvelous adventure.
I have not finished this book, and I may not. The plot is arresting and the narrator is popular, I know. But his depiction of women is really abysmal. One of the main characters, whom the author clearly intends to be a competent and bold woman, is portrayed as speaking like a little girl, in a falsetto voice. Hill tries to differentiate among the other characters, but does not succeed well. I am about to give up on it, as I simply find this too distracting. Perhaps I'll purchase the book in print, and finish it that way, because I really like the story and the author.
This may indeed be a good book, but the narrator is so poor that I am unable to get more than a quarter of the way through it. I find it impossible to distinguish among characters, and the reader shows little or no enthusiasm for the content. Please bring back George Wilson! I loved Tourist Season, and will look carefully at the narrator before spending money or credits on another book.
I am always slightly puzzled by the mixed reviews on various books, and realize that everyone has different tastes. Having said that. however, I am a loss to understand why this book did not captivate everyone who read it. As other reviewers have stated, the structure of the book is ingenious. The characters are fascinating, and the ending has some surprises. Jackson Brody is not a typical hero, and the people who populate the book are eccentric and unpredictable. The narrator was flawless, and I was disappointed to discover that she only narrates one other Kate Atkinson book, and that only five of her books are even available on audio. One of them (the next book in this series) is only available in an abridged form. I've already bought the book in print form (well, actually for my Kindle - so Amazon gets my money in either case) and will hope for more Kate Atkinson books on audio, hopefully read by Susan Jameson.
I wish Steig Larsson could have known what an impact this trilogy has had on readers worldwide. While many books in a series can be cheerfully read out of order, if this is your first Steig Larsson, you should stop NOW and read the first two in the trilogy.
Lisbeth Salandar is a truly unique literary character, drawn so slowly, carefully and skillfully by Larsson. I felt that I knew her by the time the trilogy ended, and I want to know what happens next. Suffice to say that these books will have you sitting and listening well into the night. And like me, wishing for more.
I have read all of the books in this series in print, and really enjoyed them. I thought it might be fun to listen to them as well. I was sooooo wrong. This experience really points out the essential difference between reading a book in print and listening. When I am reading, I often skip over sections that do not appeal to me. When I am listening on my iPod, this is not easy to do, so I have to listen to every word, which is sometimes a great benefit, especially if the writer is skilled.
My first clue should have been Davina Porter's simpering voice when she portrayed the female protagonist. I heard a very different book than I read. Like Kay and Thomas (previous reviewers), I tired of the lurid bodice-ripping scenes very quickly. I am NOT a fan of romance novels and I read this series in print for the historical interest, as well as the day to day detail of life in the 18th century, which I found fascinating. I am not entertained by damsels in distress getting raped, nearly getting raped, or getting "spanked" for disobeying a husband. Unfortunately, I have purchased four of the audio novels in this series, and while I barely got through the first part of Outlander, I will not be subjecting myself to any more of them.
I have now listened to about half of this book, by a fine author whom I admire greatly. But the narration is so distracting that I may not be able to finish. Just as a good narrator can make a writer seem better than he or she is, a bad narrator can mask a writer's talents. I realize that this is a matter of personal taste. but this story about an LA Times reporter on the ropes, who finds a new angle to a murder investigation, would be captivating if read differently. The narrator sounds as if he usually reads children's stories...his emphases are inappropriate, and at times, he seems bored with the story. Do yourself a favor and buy this one in paperback.
...but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The characterization was strong, the plot was linear and easy to follow, and as always, Burke writes with a lyricism that far transcends the ordinary detective genre. I enjoyed the hint of things that cannot be rationally explained - that seems like a natural step for Burke to take. I think what was missing for me was simple: Clete Purcell, his old partner, is a dramatic foil to Robicheaux in every book, but in this book, he is missing. Why? Perhaps it would have been too messy for impulsive Clete to deal with the movie production on location, plus the Mafia characters. At any rate, I missed him. I am also disappointed in the lack of dimension in Bootsie, Dave's wife. We find out more about her, but I never feel like I know her, the way I do the other ongoing characters in this series. If you are a Robicheaux fan, don't take a pass on this one. You will enjoy it.
The Fourth Realm trilogy by John Twelve Hawks is not conventional science fiction by any means. In fact, it is debatable whether it belongs in the science fiction category at all - but I will leave that to other readers to sort out. I picked up the first book (The Traveler) in print form in a used bookstore. It sat on my "to read" shelf for months, until I ran out of anything else to read. As soon as I started reading, I was hooked, and listened to the subsequent two audiobooks. with their excellent narration by Scott Brick. I only wish there were more, as I became very caught up in the story line, the theme and the characters. John Twelve Hawks is a mystery (google the name), which may enhance the reading experience for some. Two remarkable attributes made this book stand out for me: (1) Scott Brick, who is obviously a popular narrator of audiobooks, did an outstanding job with this series, especially with the female characters. I am often irritated by some male narrators who portray all women in silly falsetto voices, completely distracting the listener and making it impossible to consider these characters seriously. Mr. Brick delineates each character well, and the strong female characters in this book are not diminished; and (2) the characters are allowed to grow and develop as the saga unfolds. Whoever John Twelve Hawks is, I hope to read more books by this author.
James Lee Burke plus Will Patton plus an unabridged book equals a perfect audio experience for me. I was a bit reluctant to order this book, because it is set outside Dave Robicheaux's usual Louisiana haunts. Dave and ex-partner Clete find themselves in Montana, taking a vacation that does not stay tranquil for long. Burke's rich character development and Patton's careful narration combine to make this a suspenseful and meaningful listen. This is not an ordinary detective novel: it is dark, it is lyrical, it is ambiguous and it is didactic. Burke is no ordinary writer, but transcends the mystery genre to pure literature. I only wish more unabridged James Lee Burke books were available from Audible.
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