This man writes about locations, time periods, and events in which I have no interest whatsoever. There are many things I AM interested in, but early 20th century politics in the southern hemisphere is not one of them. HOWEVER... Courtenay is a storytelling genius and brilliant wordsmith. When I start listening to one of his books, I am hooked almost immediately and don't want it to end. The dates, political events, and places only form a backdrop and give context to the story.
I think the way his books are woven together, it is difficult to give a plot summary without revealing things that would be better left to the author's own wording and timing. I can say that the character narrator is a six year old boy when the book opens. He grows up in an orphanage and the story follows his eventful life until the age of about 30. There is a thread running through it that pulls you along and keeps you interested right to the very end.
I also need to mention the narrator, Humphrey Bower. Does he have any accent of his own? He appears to be some sort of voice chameleon. I've heard him do so many different voices and accents so well, that I can get no sense of what he would sound like in normal, natural conversation in his own home. If you place a high value on a talented narrator, this book will certainly please you on that score.
This is the 6th Courtenay book I have listened to, and I've never been sorry for purchasing one. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good tale, well told.
If you choose to "view this series" for Roderick Alleyn, it clearly states that this title is not available on Audible. I must beg to differ, as I just purchased it yesterday. This happens a lot lately with series books, so don't believe the unavailability stuff until you search for it a few different ways. There are still too many missing or only abridged, but with this series you don't really get lost when you have to skip some. The books could each stand alone.
At any rate, I'm a fan of this series and would be sorry to have missed this one. She has so well captured the village's petty squabbles, backbiting, what people think as opposed to what they say, that I laughed myself silly. The way the old biddies use the confessional as a way to tattle on other people is priceless.
It's a good cozy mystery, besides. Highly recommended.
I thought the first book was too oppressively dark and had to force myself to keep listening to the series. By book two, I was glad I had kept going. It's been classic Mike Talbot ever since and seems to get better with each installment.
This one had me laughing out loud before the end of the first sentence, I think--certainly the first paragraph. There's plenty of action and suspense for those who like it, always balanced by Mike's wit and banter with others.
If you've read a lot of Tufo, you've probably already figured this out, but I'll say it anyway. The various Mike Talbot series' are pretty much mutually exclusive. I had read the available Zombie Fallout books first, and expected this series to be the adventures of young Mike before the zombies. I couldn't have been wronger.
It seems as if Mark Tufo had several completely different adventures that he imagined himself in over the years, and now he has stuck Mike Talbot in his place, (hey, I just noticed they even have the same initials) and is writing them up. I think that is way cool, especially since I have a similar situation inside my own head, but I'm not writing about mine.
I've just finished listening to book 13, and I have absolutely loved every one so far! The recurring characters and the relationships between them are very entertaining and often hilarious. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys murder mysteries without all the stress.
The FYI part is this:
The first book in the series was published in 1981, and was contemporary fiction. Hard as it is for me to believe, 1981 was 33 years ago! I suspect, though, that the author never expected the series to take off and to still be writing the books all these years later. The main characters in the series are Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. I picture them in age as between 35-40. The thing is, I don't think they can ever get much older than that and have it all still work. However, time and technology continue to march on and, to keep the series contemporary, things like computers and cell phones have to come into play. Also, Jury having been a small child in WW2 was perfectly in line in 1981, but by now he would have to be elderly.
What I do is just mentally keep the characters in the same approximate age frame they started in, and ignore any references to the passage of time that the author inserts in the text. Just sort of let time and world events go by in the background, while the characters stay the same. There were enough comments in book 13 about the passage of time and people not changing after all these years, that I'm guessing the author was maybe poking a little fun at her predicament.
I'm awaiting the Audible release of the next book at the moment, but I hope that she hasn't done anything to blatantly age the characters in the rest of the books. I like things just the way they are. Once you know of and accept the time anomaly thing, it need not interfere with the enjoyment of the books. They are definitely worth a listen.
I've listened to all the Inspector Ian Rutledge books leading up to this one and several later ones before I realized it was a series. I enjoyed them very much. The problem is, this is the first one that ends on a cliffhanger, so I hopped on here to get the next one right away, only to find that Audible skips over the next 5 books. I'm so angry right now I could spit! Just be warned before you listen to this one. You're gonna be left hanging.
I was so happy to see another ZF book. It had been a while since I listened to the previous books, so sometimes I had to really think to remember people and events it was referring to. (This might have been partly due to the fact that in the interim I had listened to the Indian Hills books, which share some characters, but seemed to be an alternate universe from this series.) Anyway, I enjoyed it very much. I laughed out loud frequently and really thought I knew what was going on most of the time. I felt certain that it was leading up to a continuation of the series. An abrupt and unresolved ending was what I expected and received.
Then came the prologues. Now I am confused, hoping there will be another book to tell me what the heck that was all about, but not at all sure it wasn't meant to be a final ending. There's a nagging feeling that if I was just a little more tuned in, these prologues would tie up all the loose ends for me. (I almost think he might have snuck a little Indian Hills in here.)
So right now I'm hoping for either an epiphany or a next book in the series.
I've read every Wodehouse book I could get my hands on, and he's definitely one of my top ten authors of all time. It must have been a scary proposition for someone to attempt to continue his work, but I'm very glad that Mr. Faulks did so.
I think it would be hard to get any closer than this to the "real thing." It's obvious this author knows his Wodehouse. The humor, mannerisms, and style of speech are definitely faithful to the Wodehouse tradition. I hope that he will continue the series, as I'd like to see what happens with this new direction he's taken with Bertie and Jeeves. (I'd also like to see the author tackle another of my favorite Wodehouse characters--Psmith.)
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I think P.G.W. would be very flattered by this novel.
I hear or see Dexter mentioned occasionally in discussions or reviews about Serge. I love both series, but I don't think they're the same at all. Since I just listened to the most recent Dexter book in between Serge marathons, I decided to start making a list of comparisons to show why they're different. Here's what I have so far:
Dexter has a legitimate job. Serge lives on the proceeds of crime.
Dexter feels a deep need to kill. Serge would just as soon not, but...
Dexter's victims must meet certain eligibility requirements, defined by "Harry's Code." Serge's victims just have to really piss him off.
Dexter has a routine and a ritual way of killing. Serge doesn't use the same method more than once.
Dexter stays to the end. Serge usually goes away while they're still alive, and leaves them with a slim (practically non-existent) possibility of escape.
Dexter thoroughly cleans up afterward. Serge leaves bodies and parts strewn all over Florida for others to find and deal with.
Dexter keeps a box of slides with blood samples of all his victims. Serge keeps a box of historical Florida souvenirs.
Dexter talks to his playmates for maximum terror and mental anguish while he works on them. Serge entertains his victims with pleasant banter while setting up his devices, which practically amounts to the same thing.
Both rely heavily on duct tape.
I say this, even though the events in this book obviously take place during the time frame of Florida Roadkill--sometime between when Serge and Coleman meet Sharon, and when they go to the World Series. Actually, the chronology is a bit dodgy in all the books and, at least once, Serge mentions that sort of thing as one of his pet peeves, so you know it's intentional. (My researches tell me that the author intends the books to be read in the order published.)
Serge is in all of the books, including the first three, although some people apparently had trouble recognizing him in Orange Crush. (They must not have been paying attention. Admittedly, that one is different, though.) One of the later audiobooks includes an interview with Tim Dorsey and he says that when he wrote Florida Roadkill, he didn't have it in mind to make a Serge series, but then things just sort of headed in that direction. Now that I've read all 16 books and am starting through them again, I feel like this is the one where the "Serge Storms Series" really hits its stride. (But I recommend reading them all.)
Just FYI: My mental image of Serge is a sort of morphing of Mike Myers/Jimmy Fallon/Johnny Depp, but I definitely think Depp should play him in the movies.
We find out more about his past, and his "professional" rivalry with a police officer named Mahoney. His obsessive passion for Florida history is well established. After this, you can just go ahead and start laughing whenever someone says something along the lines of, "Nothing can possibly go wrong now." Most importantly, from here on, we begin to know which events will likely cause Serge to get out the duct tape and head for Home Depot. (That thumping you hear from the trunk of his car will be one of his new "friends.")
This is possibly the most hilarious book I have ever read! I laughed so hard and so often that I was afraid the neighbors would call the guys with the butterfly nets.
It gets right into the heart of the political system (specifically Florida politics, but these days we can all relate.) It shines a bright light on all the dirty, hidden political tricks that we know are happening, but can't do anything about. If you've ever wanted to get a politician, lobbyist, news anchor, or rich person by the throat and shake them until their teeth rattle, you will love this book.
While it's basically shooting at politics, it also takes pot shots at a lot of other pet peeves we all have. For example, there is a scene with a guy trying to make an important phone call and getting stuck in the phone menu nightmare that is purely classic! I had to keep rewinding because I laughed so hard I would miss stuff.
If laughter is the best medicine, this should cure anything that ails you. This book, while part of a series, could be read without reading the others first, although some minor things will make more sense if you have.
I completed making a purchase, and the Surprise $4.95 Sale popped up. The only book on the list that looked at all interesting to me was "The Stingray Shuffle" by Tim Dorsey. I bought it and then found out it was the 5th book in a series. You'd think I'd be on to this trick by now, but it gets me all the time. However, I frequently find gems this way that I would otherwise not have known about. Anyway, I never even tried to listen to it, I just went ahead and purchased book one, "Florida Roadkill."
Several reviewers had compared this series to books by Carl Hiaasen, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I have read several Hiaasen books, but I never found them as funny as I'd hoped they would be. I was pleasantly surprised. It actually reminded me more of the humor of Dave Barry than any other author I've ever read. (Dave even makes a cameo appearance at the World Series later on in the book.)
This first book is a little chaotic, since it introduces most, if not all, of the recurring characters that will appear in later books, and I felt like I was being jerked around a lot from one storyline to another. Even so, I found it laugh-out-loud funny very often. Pay attention to a guy named Serge. He's the most loveable criminally insane person you're ever likely to meet, and he's been in every one of the four books I've read so far.
So, while I didn't quite find it to be a 5-star book, I still highly recommend it. I am now getting ready to start listening to book 5 and I have been laughing myself senseless at all the books in between. This book is a good listen in its own right, but important, I think, as an introduction to the series.
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