Peter Ackroyd is not for the faint-hearted. The story is interesting and the performance is great. But it is a gory story. I liked the glimpses of London is the late 1880s and the references to actual people are neat. But I never know how much to believe of his writing and I don't like to be put in the position of maybe thinking something is true and then to find out, no, that part was fiction. Sort of how I feel about Doctorow.
But a definite good listen.
The story is gritty and dishearteningly realistic. It presents a depiction of corruption and its workings in an all-too-believeable weaving of elements of society and politics. I think Mina will go down as one of the finest writers of mystery fiction of our time.
I read a lot of criticism of the reader of this book. I think she did a great job! Outstanding, in fact. But I, too, was disappointed at first not to hear the same reader who has done earlier performances and who seemed to me to be the voice of Denise Mina. As the reading went on, I got used to the new voice and I am sorry to hear her disparaged just because she wasn't the expected. I thought she gave a very measured and nuanced performance. In fact she was very clear and perhaps a little bit more easily understood than the previous reader.
I love Dickens and it seems silly to give this a four, but it was so long and I'm afraid, predictable, that I can't give it a five. This may be due to the fact that I didn't have a lot of time to listen and therefore it was just with me for too long. But it did seem to lack the individual characters that I could really invest my attention in, like Pip and David. It seemed "padded" to me which I haven't felt with any other Dickens. The reader was fine, but maybe a more exciting reader would have given me more of the characters. The usual Dickens humor was there and really good.
Unfortunately, the first Dickens I listened to was Great Expectations with Martin Jarvis as narrator, and so my standards were sent extremely high. This is still better than a thousand other stories and if you have more concentrated time to listen, I think you will enjoy it more wholeheartedly than I did.
Although the level of coincidence strains belief, the suspense and the careful drawing of characters, along with the painstaking procedure of crime solving keep the interest high. The reader is one of the best and I'll listen to anything she reads!
This story is intelligent, suspenseful, poignant and told from one of the most genuine "child's points-of-view" I've ever read. The reader is terrific and his ability to differentiate the characters is amazing. He never sounds childish but invests the reading with a child's determination and earnestness. I loved it.
Another one of those crime novels that starts off well, and then seems to lose its way. It doesn't know what to do with itself so it just gets gross. Let's see how revolting we can be. Floating in an outhouse cess pool? Not gross enough? Let's try stabbing a fat man with little scissors and smelling his intestinal contents. It ended up being stupid and I didn't finish it. The reader was fine, but he was, of course, limited by the text.
I don't like it when a book tries to keep your interest by using sensational blood, gore and suffering. Some, sets the scene, but here I felt the author was salting the prose with one after another gruesome episode. Sort of a "if you think that was bad, wait till you hear this..."
I have liked other books by Allende, very much, Paola, and The House of Spirits esp. but I think she's gone a little stale and is just telling very long stories without much in the way of substance.
S. Epatha Meerkerson is an old friend from Law and Order and I felt good that she was telling me all this as if she knew me, too. But I got tired of her voice and expression mostly, I think, because the book just goes on and on.
I liked hearing the Haitian history which I was really ignorant of before.
I liked this story a lot and I'm glad to have found this author. The story moves along with good psychological study. Altho the beginning was a bit gory for me, it serves the plot well and doesn't go on and on. I ended up feeling the characters had been fully realized, for a mystery book, and I felt sympathy for even the "perp". It was a struggle between wanting him to get caught and dreading him being found out. The spectre of a false solution to the case added tension.
The reader was terrific. I found her Scottish accent to be understandable and it added a bit of color. The setting was well described and I enjoyed learning some about Scottish life - not the kilt-clad highland type.
Like so many good series, the Brunetti books have gone from good stories to too much information. Not info about the crime or follow-up, but too much about our hero. Exactly what he eats and where? I blame word-processing and not enough plot.
Also I found the Italian accent the reader used, to be unecessary and a bit silly.
Who would like this book more than I did? An Italian cook or cook-wanna-be.
The readers were great, the story is good and full of tension and humor. It really captures the time - early '60s - and the atmosphere of small town Mississippi. At least it is a believable atmosphere, as I wasn;t there!
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