I found this book fascinating. Much of it was a detailed, true account of dozens of the individual people that Richard Kuklinski killed. And yet I never found the writing repetitive. I couldn't stop listening. The subject matter is obviously dark and gruesome. But it's a rare glimpse into the life and mind of cold killer with no feelings of remorse.
The narrator did a very good job. At first I found him a little flat, but he grew on me.
I think some of the negative reviews that I’ve read online are reviewing the subject matter and Richard Kuklinski himself, who is obviously reprehensible, rather than the quality of the writing and the research, which I thought was excellent.
And the narrative really picks up speed in the last third, as the authorities get wind of Richard K. and make their efforts to capture and convict him.
P.S. The last hour or so of the book is an actual interview with Richard Kuklinski, which I found to be very flat. If you are interested in taped interviews and photos, I recommend, “Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman” available for rent on DVD.
The opening stories during the first hour held my attention, without enthralling me. But then the book really took off when Steve Martin began discussing his standup career, and all the jobs (writing on the Smothers Brothers' Show, etc.) that led up to it. And he discusses the inner workings of his mind during those years, sharing with us the conscious thought process that went into developing his standup persona. All of that was fantastic.
My only complaint is that I wish the book had been longer. (It’s just over 4 hours). I could have easily listened to him discuss his film career, as well. But this is a memoir about his standup days. And it's an interesting one. It also has a very warm quality. And it's a pleasure to hear Steve Martin deliver various jokes he has made over the years. I’m glad he chose to read his book himself. He did a very good job.
If you're a fan of Steve Martin, I don't see how you could be disappointed, other than, as I said, it could have been longer.
I just finished listening to all three books written by Barry Eisler, involving the assassin Rain. They all hold your attention from page one. You can’t wait to find out how the story gets resolved. And yet, you don’t want it to end, because you enjoy the ride so much.
I do recommend reading the books in the order they were written. While it’s not crucial, there are story elements that are given away in the later books about the earlier ones. While it wouldn’t exactly spoil it, it would be better not to know anything before it happens.
The order is: “Killing Rain,” then “The Last Assassin” and finally “Requiem for an Assassin.”
It’s a different reader on the last one, Scott Brick. Though he’s excellent as usual, it took an hour or so to get used to, because Michael McConnohie’s reading brought the characters so vividly to life in his own way.
I highly recommend these books for suspense, plot and characters. It’s hard to describe, but you are just highly interested the whole time, and you never think, “Why would they do that?” Very intelligent and well-crafted. This applies equally to all three books!
I normally like Michael Crichton's work. But this is not really a novel. It's a series of interspersed short stories on the topic of the science of gene therapy and research. Not one of the individual stories was interesting, but what's worse, the sheer number of them and the frequency of alternating among them, left me constantly wondering for several minutes which storyline we were back to.
Again, the subject matter was interesting. But the execution was dull and often struck me as if it were written for a much younger audience, like readers 10 – 14 years old.
This isn’t helped by the reader. Usually, the readers I don't like sound like they are half asleep. This reader is the only one I've come across that is actually overly animated, to the point of being distracting, annoying, and again, as if aimed at young teenagers. Many of his voices just sound winy.
This is just not worth the money. But it’s an even bigger waste of time. I regret finishing it.
This is the best book on the subject of Religion that I have ever read. I have shared the author's point of view for years, prior to reading this, but he has opened my eyes to new arguments.
For instance, I never considered the role that religious moderates play in permitting the religious extremists a viable platform that cannot be challenged, for they are all based on the same origins and principles.
The case he makes is extremely well presented, intelligent and logical. This book is dense with ideas. It compels you to contemplate on each well-crafted sentence. I think it’s a very important book. It’s a shame that the people who really should read it will probably never pick it up.
I find the reader a little dry, but the subject matter and the text far outweigh this. And the reader is certainly adequate.
I could have stopped listening at any point, including the last few hours, and never wondered about how it ended.
That said, it was well read, and parts of the book I found well-written and interesting. But at least half the time, I was not engaged.
Also, if you don't believe in the actual, true power of religious symbols, as I do not, then it's hard to buy into the thrust of the plot.
This book was very well written and presented. With lots of good tips. I haven't followed any of them. But I wish I would.
I am a sitcom writer, interested in writing screenplays.
I found these two lectures to be okay to listen to, but more on a motivational level. There was very little substance and very few practical suggestions. In the end, I thought there was really no merit. (And I found the first lecturer actually annoying).
More useful books on writing from Audible I found to be:
Stein on Writing - for fiction and non-fiction
Story by Robert McKee - for screenplays
The Hero's 2 Journeys - screenplays, Hauge & Vogler
I am a sitcom writer, interested in writing screenplays. I found this lecture to be worthless.
Most of the time is spent convincing you how important it is to have a good plot. Almost no time spent on how to accomplish this.
More useful books on writing I found to be:
Stein on writing - for fiction and non-fiction
Story by Robert McKee - for screenplays
Worth listening to. I'm a television writer. I found it mildly interesting. I thought Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing" was more worthwhile, giving more pratical suggestions. Still, it was okay.
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