Because I had read all Cotterill's "Dr. Siri" series and loved every one for its humor and wonderful characters, I hesitated to listen to the first of this new series believing I would be disappointed. The opposite happened and I was delighted with his fresh characters and relieved that he continues to construct a good mystery laced with lots of humor. It's a four star mystery with an extra star for all the other goodies.
I bought this because it was highly rated by a reader I follow. The story was well constructed but the narrator was very poor at doing southern accents and male voices.
I skipped about two thirds of the book, but had no trouble figuring out what lead to the conclusion in the last chapters. Christian love, charity and forgiveness is wonderful to many of us, but extremely hard to swallow in such large doses from flat or fatuous characters in this book..
If I could, I would create an Audible sub-genre: "Mysteries and thrillers, Espionage, British, Set in Istanbul". I have three in my audible library that are memorable. Eric Ambler's "A Coffin for Dimitrios" is the very best. Joseph Kanon's "Istanbul Passage" comes in third. (Yes, Kanon is an American author who probably read a lot of British spy novels while at Cambridge.) Gavin Lyall's book is a solid four star second.
Istanbul between the two world wars provides a stage with built in struggles between the European powers, an incubator for spying. It has a long history of religious and cultural clashes providing fertile ground for native conflict. Great physical beauty and a dark bazaar. All this raw material is fun to visit even in third rate novels.
This is a first rate novel. "All Honourable Men" has the distinction of being set in 1913 before WW I, so it takes a little digging into what you can recall of the European power structure of the times. Then you can relax and enjoy the the excellent plotting unravel and the characters develop through top notch narrative writing.
Oh! and the characters get to ride in the Kaiser's private carriage behind the Orient Express!
Warning: this is written from the point of view of a Scandinavian Noir addict who has attempted to read/listen to every english translation of the genre since discovering Henning Mankell and his alcoholic, depressed Kurt Wallander decades ago.
Second warning: Do not read this book if you have not read others in the series. It's best to start with Red Breast and read in order.
Harry Hole, Jo Nesbø's protagonist, follows the tradition as an alcoholic, depressed police detective with a critical eye on the society around him, a misfit, and failure in his relationships. In every book in the series Nesbø puts this stereotypical character in the midst of plots with so many twists and turns and surprises that the reader's desire to find out the next development does not diminish until the end.
I rated the story four stars instead of five because of the violence the author does to Harry who, like the old Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going and going. I'd like to add a half star for the social commentary,i.e."[Norway] is a fairy-tale country".
Though Nesbø's famous predecessors were Swedish, Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall writing in the sixties through Mankell and Steig Larrson, he has taken the prize home to Norway.
A collection of classic Rumpole tales that are ruined by the narrator. Frederick Davidson does not come up to the standard set by Bill Wallis. I hope I remember to check out the narrator the next time I download a "Rumpole". I tried to return it, but that didn't work for me.
This book deserves to be reviewed by someone who has one tenth of the writing talent of Janet Maslin but that's not me. I am in a much lower percentile. So please stick with me while I try to describe how this wonderful novel became my favorite of the summer.
The plot moves along so fast with so many twists I listened in one sitting always anticipating what would come next. All the characters are human, not caricatures, and the hilarity comes from their interactions and obsessions.
I live in the desert and after months of triple digit temperatures I become as agoraphobic as Bernadette. I love the cooling memory of Seattle's rain, but Bernadette hates the city's weather and its culture, stays inside at her computer and maintains her closest friendship with her "virtual assistant" in India.
Her husband Elgin is a star at Microsoft, has given the fourth most watched lecture at TED where Al Gore and David Pogue were in attendance. There's a liberal sprinkling of techie ikons through the narrative to enjoy if you read tech columns and wish you could understand Wired Magazine articles.
Their daughter Bee, 14, graduating with straight S 's (S = Surpasses Excellence) from Galer Street school is rewarded with a family trip to Antarctica. Bee's character is like fresh air out of the Northwest. She has no affectations, no cell phone addiction and listens to MP3's on her Zune. She "gets" both parents.
Bernadette's antipathy toward the school's parent association and her fear of the Antarctica trip are the initial psychological motivations. The flash point is her neighbor Audrey's demand to have her yard cleared of blackberry bushes. Audrey is part of the Galer street parent group and receives the brunt of Bernadette's spite but gives back as good as she gets. The fighting provides lots of the laughs.
Even the minor characters are beautifully drawn and full of surprises. From the "blackberry abatement specialist" who doesn't want Audrey's chard to her delinquent son, all are unique and clearly rendered.
What caused Bernadette's initial escape from LA to Seattle? Where did she disappear to this time? It's great fun to get to the answers.
I'm hoping this is second in a series, starting with 'Gutshot Straight'. I agree with a reviewer of 'Gutshot Straight' who said that Berney writes like a combination of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen. This second novel has the hero, Shake, caught up with other vividly drawn characters in a fast paced plot with lots of twists and turns. I found myself smiling and laughing aloud as I listened to the characters' responses to murder and mayhem. The third book can't come along soon enough for me.
One again, Carl Hiaasen puts a motley crew of characters in the middle of a Florida swamp and comes up with the best contemporary humor writing being done today. BRAVO!
I've been a long-time fan of Harlan Coben who has written great characters and intriguing plot lines. The same can be said for this book except that at least fifty percent of the rumination by the main characters could have been deleted causing a seventy-five percent improvement in the narrative.
Scott Brick reads every part with maximum angst. The middle-aged navel gazing and Brick's one note performance, became so irritating that I stopped listening at the beginning of the second part and skipped to the last chapter to find out if the plot resolved as I predicted. It did.
I'm a long time fan of the "Joe Gunther" series, but I regret having listened to this. It's time for Joe to retire. Too much back-story, too many predictable ploys for suspense and too poor a narration.
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