Dan Brown's writing seems to get worse with each book. I like long books and long stories, but I don't like the main characters stuck in the same small location in Italy for hours on end, with awfully similar things happening over and over and over. Narration doesn't help when it's this flat and dispassionate. More and more, reading or listening to Brown is like hoping for drama, even a small spark, in a Fodor guidebook, and then you realize the writer presumes you've never in your life left your front stoop.
This is another Bosch epic, with a complex plot, systematic detective work, lucky breaks, and a good detective nearing retirement and trying to make sure he leaves a decent legacy, maybe even a worthy protégé. Nice interweaving of two resurrected old cases, one involving his latest young partner. Another good yarn. But the narration is dreadful, monotonous, basically boring. Many of us fans identify Dick Hill with Harry Bosch, and wish he would return to the recording studio.
Patterson (with the usual help) does it again, with a taut, compelling yarn from Australia, as Private opens another high tech, high tension location. Excellent set of characters, my favorite Darlene, head of the high-tech forensic operations. Would have rated narration higher, but the otherwise very good performer seemed to have a problem with the "s" in "she," when the word begins a sentence. He sounded as if he might be trying to avoid a sibilant sound, but "she" much too often sounded like "he," obviously somewhat confusing in a novel with both genders deeply involved.
I became attached to the Wayward Pines series after the first two. This book was a bit of letdown, mostly because I found the sequencing of events (between pre-suspension and post-suspension), for example, with a chapter that begins "five years earlier." Earlier than what? The story is good, but lost its way it a bit this time.
I don't like the lead character of Patterson's latest book. She's neurotic, babbling, and boring. Long stretches of the book, when characters seem to wax philosophical, are tedious to the point of distracting the listener from the reasonably compelling story. Performance is distracting as well ... I simply don't like men or women narrators forcing their voices to sound like twisted, distorted orations from the opposite gender, and that's the problem with January LaVoy, who has a wonderful voice and delivery - as female characters.
John Grisham's best book, A Time to Kill, is a vivid and thrilling depiction of a young lawyer's lonely fight against racism and racial violence in mid-1980s Mississippi. Now, Jake Brigance is back, still combatting the darkness of ignorance and hatred, only three fictional years later in the same small city. Great legal twists and turns make the occasional tedium of reading a court case come alive and keep you awake. This one is just as good the first one, from 25 years ago. Narration and pace are perfect for the characters and help move the story along.
I usually find some redeeming values in even the least of Patterson's efforts, but not this time. The story itself is a nonstarter, and narration - especially whichever of the two narrators reads Bennett - is tedious and lifeless. The writing is pretty bad for a Patterson book, and there are noticeable lapses in continuity of plot. Ugh.
Another solid, thrilling Reacher tale, with all I've come to enjoy about Child's lonely hero. But the narration here is either awful, or I'm spoiled by Dick Hill, who has become Reacher for me (far more than Tom Cruise ever will). It just doesn't sound right.
Not all installments in the Alex Cross series are created equal. 'Alex Cross, Run' ranks as one of the very best, in my book. The fine old story formula is here, well executed, involving clever, creative bad guys, and involving the Cross family in just the right amounts. A great performance by Boatman and Boyer, too. All in all, a very nice recovery from the horrendous movie experience with nonactor crossdresser Tyler Perry last year.
As a longtime fan of the series, I know some of the Delaware-Sturgis stories can be slow. Guilt is well beyond slow, however, reaching rather deeply into B-O-R-I-N-G.
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