In his second outing, Neville proves that his terrific debut novel, The Ghosts of Belfast, was no fluke. This is a well written, carefully constructed thriller full of dark and dangerous characters. The storytelling and pacing are near perfect. This is a book that stays with you after you've finished listening to it.
Gerard Doyle's brilliant narration adds immeasurable texture and richness to the reading experience. With his work on the two Neville books, together with his equally outstanding narration of Adrian McKinty's Michael Forsythe trilogy, Doyle has firmly established himself as the narrator of choice for Irish noir.
Yes, if the friend is a fan of spy thrillers. Silva's Gabriel Allon series is among the best in the genre.
Gigante's narration is competent and workmanlike but not inspired. Though he does not get in the way of the story, neither does he enhance it much.
Yes and no -- the story certainly held my attention, and I was eager to find out what would happen next, but I can listen to Gigante for only so long before I need a break.
This is another good effort from Daniel Silva. I look forward to the next in the series.
Guidall is one of my favorite narrators. He is a perfect choice for the Longmire books. His pacing, his voices, and his subtle dramatic flair add enormous value to the books he reads.
Not my favorite book in the Walt Longmire series, but still an enjoyable experience.
Someone with more patience than I have, who is willing to wait longer than I am for a story to take off, might well find plenty to like in this well-written but plodding book.
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt is next on my listening queue.
I love Doyle, but he's at his best when he's narrating Irish noir (he's born to read the Adrian McKinty and Stuart Neville books). Somehow his pacing, which works beautifully when he's speaking with an Irish brogue, seems less effective when he's speaking as a Londoner. It tended to reinforce this book's sluggishness.
I could not finish the book. I gave up when I realized, about a third of the way through, that the story was not holding my attention. Perhaps I would have had a more positive reaction had I stuck it out to the end.
I think there's a good story here -- I've long been a fan of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series. But I can't be sure about this book because I had to abandon the audio version after 2-1/2 hours. I could no longer tolerate Steven Webber's narration. The sample does not give an adequate taste of the Webber's style. Imagine a 10th grade student with delusions of acting talent reading a story to a 5th grader and you'll have a sense of what to expect. Everything is over-dramatized, particularly the dialog, which is embarrassingly exaggerated. Webber does about the worst New York accent I've ever heard. My reaction may well be idiosyncratic -- several other reviewers have been highly complimentary of the narration. I do not know what they liked about Webber's work. Whatever it was, I wish I had found it too. Instead, I'm going to have to pay to read the book on my Kindle in the hope that I can keep Webber's voice out of my head as I do so.
No one does Irish noir like Adrian McKinty (though Stuart Neville is a very close second). McKinty's Michael Forsythe trilogy (Dead I Well May Be, The Dead Yard, The Bloomsday Dead) cannot be beat for gripping story-telling. Though Forsythe plays only a small role in Falling Glass, McKinty proves once again his mastery of the genre, this time with a protagonist who considers Forsythe his mentor. Falling Glass is not quite as thrilling or satisfying as the Forsythe trilogy, but it's still a great read. And Gerard Doyle, who also narrated the Forsythe trilogy and both of Stuart Neville's books, is born to read Irish noir. His brogue is pitch perfect and adds enormous value to the listening experience.
Don Winslow has a terrific reputation, and some think that this is one of his best books. I had read California Power and Light a couple of years ago and thought it was okay, about a B+. I was looking forward to Power of the Dog and really wanted to like it. But it just did not work for me. The gist of the problem is that the plot develops too slowly, with too many long diversions, to the point that I found it difficult to stay engaged. Yes, there is quite a bit of action and plenty of violence. But it gets dribbled out so tediously that it seems to lack real punch. The narrator adds nothing of value to the enterprise, in my view. His voice and pacing are like those of a TV news anchor, and his attempts at dramatic dialog (particularly his accents) are distractingly weak. I wish I could be more positive, but this one was a big disappointment.
This is a tough review to write. I've always admired le Carre's work (though nothing has ever approached his George Smiley books). And much of what distinguishes his writing is evident in this book too. My problem with it is that the story is so full of detail and complexity and diversions that I found myself losing track of the characters, getting lost in the plot lines, and ultimately losing interest. The main story is fairly straightforward and could have been spun out effectively in a much shorter, crisper book. But le Carre encumbers it with so many ornaments that it nearly falls over from the weight.
Robin Sachs's narration is quite good and well paced. He does an especially effective job with the characters' voices. In the end, though, I had the sense that I might have enjoyed this book more if I had read it rather than listened to it. Maybe that is true of all le Carre's books -- his painstakingly crafted prose and tightly drawn plots may simply be unsuitable for audio presentation.
I gave up on this book at about the 40% mark. Maybe I would have felt differently had I stuck with it to the end. But I just could not take any more of what seemed to be an endless, mind-numbingly tedious wind-up with no pitch in sight. After nearly half the book, we're still crawling slowly through the early training of a neophyte spy, with loads of useless information about AK47s and old Afghan battles. Nothing of interest happens, and the characters are neither distinctive nor appealing. Contrast this with Vince Flynn's brisk and gripping story of Mitch Rapp's early CIA training in American Assassin and you will see why I abandoned The Network. Though Simon Prebble is a competent narrator who can do a fine job with good material, he lacks George Guidall's talent for making even a bad book worth listening to.
Having been disappointed by his most recent outings, I was almost ready to conclude that Vince Flynn had run out of ideas and had begun phoning it in. But I was pleasantly surprised by the freshness and flair of this story developing Mitch Rapp's backstory. I normally prequels, but Flynn pulls it off with the kind of skill he showed in his earlier books. This is a well-crafted thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. As usual, George Guidall's nuanced narration adds great value to the listening experience.
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