I've read more than one novel in which the hero suffers from amnesia, in one form or another, but this is the first to have severe brain damage become such a gripping third character, as Nick is actually quite different in the early parts of the book than he is in the rest of the story. I applaud the author for this concept and on the follow-through. It wasn't difficult to see who the real murderer was, although Nick took a long time. Brain damage will do that, sometimes.
Sadly, the narrator seemed to have some problems with pronunciations. In all fairness, I did not see the words, so Nick's former partner may have actually have been named Joo-an, but I suspect it was just a mangled pronunciation of Juan.
I know that the written word gets proofed. Maybe Audiobooks need proofreading, too.
Tiffany has already shown she could stand against the Elf Queen. What could be worse?
Of course, herself.
I've read every other Pratchett I could find and listened to others. I've repeatedly heard Granny Weatherwax state that being a witch isn't about doing magic and that doing magic isn't the hard part - Wizards do it all the time! Still, seeing Tiffany prove that the hardest part of being a witch is NOT doing magic... priceless.
Pratchett also deals well with practical matters. From the conservation of mass: What would happen to all the leftover stuff, when you turn someone into a frog?, to more philsophical matters: If you could do anything you wanted to do, how could you stop yourself? Could you stop yourself?
And he hides it all in a story about a girl who really makes good cheese.
Steven Briggs is a genius. How could you come up with a voice for a guy like Rob Anybody? Steven knows. Again, Pratchet could have left out every description of who was speaking, at any given moment, and we would know. Steven is that good!
If you never have read or listened to ANY of Pratchett's novels, listen to this one. It touches on obligations, desires, doubts, and how to make things come out right anyway. Oh yeah, and about stepping clear of any Big Job, whose left elbow seems to be talking to his knees.
Granny Aching would be standing at the gate, with both Thunder and Lightning by her side. She would give Pratchett and Briggs her absolute seal of approval in a nod and a "That'll do."
There is no higher praise.
If you have a car full of kids on your way to anything, or you're just an adult with time on your hands, you will find yourself looking for short blue guys that can get into or out of anything, except pubs. Oh, aye. We have a wee bit of a problem gettin' out o' them. They'll get into your heed, along with Tiffany, her brother, and the whole philosphy of witches, elves, and The Chalk.
Pratchett is a marvel. He disguises morality as a child's story. A witch has to speak and do for those as can't. OK. That's not a quote, directly, but it's close. A witch's job is mostly being there, to answer, when no one else can do the job. He disguises philosophy so well, that it's perfectly clear what he means!
I also must commend the reader. He could leave out all of the he said, Tiffany replied, Granny Weatherwax grunted, whatever. I hear 'em and I see 'em, even now that the book's finished. I cannot recommend it enough.
No question, this is quintessential Reginald Hill. I like Dalziel and Pascoe novels because of the interaction between characters, as well as the non-interaction. Not just anybody can write a conversation, but most of the really good writers still can't write two story lines about the same story. Hill can. He takes Pascoe down a path, parallel to his loving wife. She's not investigating, but she uncovers things, in just normal conversation, that, if Peter only knew, could solve the puzzle, or at least could lead him to a solution. This case is no exception. Fat Andy even resolves more of the matter, while at a seminar at the Yard.
The reader is brilliant. I can see the characters speaking, without having to hear "Pascoe said," or "the Fat Elf replied." He definitely has an ear for accents.
So why do I rate it 3, instead of 5? I'm not satisfied with the end of the case. I won't spoil it, but I was less than satisfied with the justice of it all. I know that real life detectives don't always find justice in a neat, clean package. I also know that the ending won't stop me from reading more of the series; I've selected the other title that Audible has and will gladly listen to any more they offer. If you're thinking of this as your first intro to Dalziel and Pascoe, enjoy it for the interaction, the background painting, the descriptions (Wieldy's ugly face is superb!). Maybe read another first, and go back to this as a background piece, to fill in the history. Just don't quit because it's less than Hill's best.
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