This was my first and probably last McDevitt novel. Can't recommend this on any front: not enough science for the sci-fi crowd, a boring mystery that will leave mystery lovers unsatisfied, so slow moving that there isn't any tension or suspense for those who favor thrillers.
The secret that the main characters are trying to uncover has a scientific bent, but otherwise any science fiction elements are only trappings on a worn out "ghost ship" mystery. The hero and heroine aren't particularly clever (getting caught by the same trick twice) and MUCH slower than the reader/listener to grasp the nature of the mystery. I skipped the last 2.5 hours of the first section, and when I picked it up on part 2, the characters were just beginning to understand what was going on, which was obvious at the point I'd stopped listening in Part 1. So glad I didn't suffer through the needless "development." Way too much detail on things that have nothing to do with the plot.
Liked the narrator's voice, but she remains calm and soothing even during the scenes that came closest to being cliffhanger moments. She needed more animation.
Interesting characters but the plot moved so slowly it got tiresome. To guess "whodunnit" in mystery novels, I always ask myself "who is the least likely culprit"... and I could tell very early in the novel that the author had chosen that old cliche to structure her plot. There are other pretensions in the novel that I found irritating as well, including the author's inexplicable need to break out of the first-person "real time" narrative at the end of many chapters to give omninous warnings ("Little did I realize...."). Also agree with other commentators that the lead character, as a married woman, would never have been addressed as "Lady Julia," which is the primary form of address used for her. I applaud the author's attempt to develop a realistic look at living conditions in Victorian England, but not the execution. Pick up a hard copy and skim through it on a cold rainy day, but avoid this audiobook. The narrator is awful. Her English accent for the main character is tolerable, but her other accents--Cockney, Scottish, French, gypsy--are horrible... what you might hear at a bad high school play. Haven't verified this, but I suspect she is American in part because I've never heard a British actress who was so bad at accents, and in part because she gives words like "clerk" and "privacy" their American pronunciations.
Haven't read or listened to any of le Carre's novels, but did hear a dramatization of a Murder of Quality, which I thought was quite good. In this one, I found the male voices to be awfully similar and I wasn't always sure who was speaking. Plotwise, I enjoyed the first half, but thought it degenerated into silliness with a ridiculously melodramatic ending. So I can't recommend this dramatization.
I'm surprised that an experienced writer like Barr couldn't do a better job of establishing a mystery in this book. I enjoyed the adventure aspects, but there's only one character who is described in a way that makes them an obvious suspect behind the murder--and it turns out they did it. So that means main character Anna P. spends a lot of time fretting over other possible suspects that we as readers/listeners know are good guys at heart. Having rescued a baby, she also spends an inordinate amount of time thinking "if I didn't have the baby, here's what I do..." and then makes other choices in the end. We get the point of this early on, and it's really overdone. If you want a book where you have to work to figure out whodunnit, choose something else. If you want to go along with Anna on another adventure, you'll probably enjoy this.
If you listen carefully to how the FBI profiler describes the serial killer--which is repeated several times in the book-- there's only one character who fits the description. I kept thinking there would be some twist at the end, but there wasn't. Agree with other comments that the book overdoes the "too bad we don't have DNA testing yet" kind of theme. And every single character has some sort of tragedy in their background. However, the narrator was terrific (never heard her before), so it was a fun listen. But not great plotting.
I've read and listened to a number of Deaver novels and like the Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs characters a lot. I didn't care for much of the plot devices here (e.g., we know all of Amelia's thoughts in detail until she comes face to face with the murderer and recognizes him immediately but suddenly we're not privy to that recognition).... Plus part of the audio is very tedious because the plot relies on reference to spreadsheets and the narrator has to go through all the columns and types of data ad nauseum. I'm also a little burnt out on having otherwise smart characters fall prey to the perpetrator through their own stupidity. That said, a mediocre Deaver is better than a lot of other books out there, but I'd suggest going hardcopy rather than audio for this one.
The narrator nearly ruined this for me. She was very stilted in her delivery, especially of the main heroine's voice, which made her sound unappealing. But the elements of a good "cozy mystery" were there, especially it you like crafts. If later books in this series have a different narrator, I'd definitely consider them. Otherwise, it's off to the library. Be sure to check out the sample recording and see if you can tolerate the narration.
I really liked the first book in this series (Crow in Stolen Colors) , but this one was awful. You know "whodunnit" early on because there's only one set of characters who we as the readers/listeners don't know anything about, and everyone else is obviously not guilty. The writing and plotting is very poor. There's one instance where people who are in a lengthy scene together act like they've never met later in the book. I wondered, however, why there were only two books in this series and found out that the author passed away a year after this book was released, and I can't help but wonder if this was an early draft that never got polished.
I've really enjoyed other Connelly books and was especially looking forward to another Mickey Haller book... though "The Lincoln Lawyer" was also a book about a trial, there was enough going on outside the courtroom to make it interesting. Not so with this book. I had to skim large portions just to get through it. Very boring unless you're riveted by every minute detail of what happens in a courtroom. The writing was very pedantic, too, which I don't expect at all from Connelly.
Read a Jeff Abbott book ("Fear") a year ago and liked it so much that I decided to try one of his audiobooks. Surprised at how much I hated this. Didn't like the reader (his voices were not always distinquishable). The central hero is unbelievable, and all the other characters in the beginning are people you can't root for. The plot of Fear I found unusual but plausible, not so with this book. For sure listen to a sample before buying this. Or try a different Abbot book.
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