A better narrator.
Aside from the narration, the story - or what I could get through - was not really pulling me in. But, it may have picked up after I stopped listening. Having said that, the setting chosen by the author - of a fictitious county in the heart of Atlanta - was unrealistic and uncreditable. Anyone who knows, or lives in the Atlanta area, would agree that politics just isn't the way the author describes it here.
Maybe the narrator is from the South, I don't know. But her version of a Southern accent was so bad, I couldn't listen anymore.
I almost never listen to a book twice. But in this case, I think I would make an exception.
Why is it that we have gotten away from protagonists who work hard and outwit their opponents? Instead, we have mostly dormant characters who allow the world to spin around them, and out of control, until they make one decision to do something or other that potentially fixes the mess of a life they have made. Gone are the days of brilliant Forsyth characters who proactively make complicated plans to defeat their foes. At least until now. Quirk's quirky, ex-con character Ford fits the bill. He's wily, sarcastic, cynical and engaging. I loved every minute of this book.
First, I should say that I do not write reviews very often. Second, I must say I am a big fan of J. Archer, the author. The book was good - cute and somewhat predictable - but good. On to the bad. The narration was horrible ... awful ... the worst I have ever heard ... ever. The narrator was trying to do a Romanian accent, but ended up sounding like a cross between an Irish lilt and mid-western Norwegian. He attempted to do a Japanese accent, failed miserably. I really do not know what the producers were thinking. It was just painful to listen.
The premise and ultimate theme of this novel are profound. I found myself making excuses to get in the car and listen to more.
My only gripe is the narration. The narrator is outstanding in other contexts. But in this one, I felt like he was barely suppressing a laugh the entire time, like the book was a comedy. I found this to be distracting in light of the profound sadness and sense of loss that the author was trying to convey.
I agree with several other reviewers about feeling let down with the ending. There were so many good plot lines started but never finished. However, I think there are issues other than plat that the author had in mind when writing this book.
"The Appeal" was apparently intended to bring attention to the state of political affairs for State Supreme Court judges in a very realistic way. Grisham was very adept at this and the plot was absolutely fantastic. The end, while disappointing, was - in fact- an end.
"The Associate" is apparently supposed to call attention to the sweat-shop environment of the big law firms. As a lawyer who worked in a medium-size firm, I can appreciate that. Grisham did a great job of capturing the sources of stress in the law firm environment along with the ethical dilemmas. However, as other reviewers have stated, the story just stops. Perhaps he is planning a sequel.
I have read many books on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But none has given the background of the personalities like this author has. I was completely enthralled throughout the telling of this story. It has the perfect blend of historical facts (that tend to bore one) and anecdotes (making it more interesting) that is rare in today's literature.
I wish I had read the "Full of sound and fury..." review before getting this book. I was so disgusted with the general lack of creativity and constantly regurgitated token phrases that I quit listening. I think Frank Herbert is rolling over in his grave at such a mockery of his masterpiece.
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