It's a bit of a challenge fairly rating a book that is fantastic nearly all the way through, but right at the end the writer drops the bundle and delivers a truly silly finale. My overall feeling about it is 'extremely enjoyable book.... but....'. The narration is brilliant. I'll be looking out for this narrator in the future. She's up there with the best and springs the characters into vibrant life. Writing wise, full points to Val McDermid for a wonderfully lively book that is very different from any other of her books. It isn't a crime novel, instead she focuses on the world of reality tv. It isn't a book with a lot of tension, but it's very enjoyable. Thoroughly worth hearing, but unfortunately let down by the implausible end which sounded like the writer ran out of time or ideas for finishing the book.
Absolutely loved The Woodcutter and many of the Dalziel books, but I had to force myself to stick with this one all the way through. I'm not sure how much of the problem is attributable to the Writer and how much to the Narrator but the story doesn't gell. I guess it would be best described as a local history book, but it is fairly slow moving. I also had to go and check when it was written as it felt rather like a 1930s book that had been jarringly updated by mentioning laptops, sex and mobile phones at random moments. As it turns out, it is indeed written and set in current times but is an odd blend that feels very out of date. The central characters are meant to be in their 20s but as depicted they are implausible and the characterisation is wooden and does not get beyond caricature.
I've read the other books in this series and quite enjoyed them. The focus of the writer is normally as much on the emotions of the main character, Malin Fors, as on the crime at hand. In this book, however, the writer goes way too far in one direction. The book is mainly about Malin Fors' descent into alcoholism whilst giving up on every other aspect of her life. And boy, does the character wallow and moan! I was starting to loathe the main character within about 15 minutes and it didn't improve. I was hanging out for the crime novel elements but they were few and far between. The narrator does a game job but you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. The other books are far better.
This is a thoroughly entertaining scandi-crime tale. Very much in the Jo Nesbo mould (without the serial killers and with a more politically related storyline). There are some implausabilities every now and again but overall it is a rollicking and highly enjoyable story. Sean Barrett is one of my favourite narrators and he does another great job to boot.
I love Karin Slaughter's books and think it would be impossible for her to write badly, but this one didn't grab me. Maybe it is the focus on different characters than is the norm. Maybe it is the setting of gangs in Atlanta. Maybe it is the fact that some characters made me feel repulsed. Maybe it is the rather confusing plot. Maybe it is a mix of all of those plus the fact the narrator's delivery in a high pitched perky voice. I didn't hate this one but didn't love it either.
This was the first Karin Fossum book I've read and I enjoyed it so much I'm going to give the others a go. A very enjoyable, very well written book. If you enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction and writers such as Henning Mankell, you will like this - it has the Inspector Wallender novels feel about it. It has that calm aura whilst being engrossing. And David Rintoul is an excellent narrator - very engaging. He has that valuable attribute of making it more like hearing a play than listening to someone reading a book.
I totally enjoyed this book and hope they hurry up with the rest of the series, I'll be getting them all. It is very well written, kept my interest and you start to get a real feel for the cast of characters. The narration is terrific. I've never heard John Lee before but I'll be looking out for him in future. If you like Scandinavian crime fiction, this won't disappoint.
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