I like scientific history, but this was difficult to get through. The story progresses in an odd manner. It is divided up into chapters on each poison, but it is also partly chronological and ultimately ends up being very confusing. The books main protagonists are poorly developed, so that you never really get a feeling of who they are. Much of the book quotes directly from the newspapers of the day- sometimes interesting, but it starts to feel like you're reading your neighbor's great-grandfather's scrapbook
The theme of lifelessness extends to the narrator. She sounds like she should be narrating the commands to my voicemail, Her use of different accents is comical and distracting at best. My favorite parts of the narration are when she makes mistakes (two second pauses, garbled pronunciations, etc). At least I know I'm not the only one who lost interest in the reading.
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