The setting and characters are compelling. It was easy to solve the whodunnit long before the story was over, but the characters and some plot twists kept it interesting.
I would be OK with a novel that was improbable and melodramatic if it didn't seem to be striving for psychological realism. The characters were very familiar "types", the plot events, including the plot "twists" were very predictable. Just formulaic.
These are some of the best stories King's done in a long time. They are all riveting. Oh yeah, and watch out for the rats.
I would have enjoyed the two from the woman's point of view even more than I did if the narration had been better. Jessica Hecht seemed to have been told by someone that she should smile while she read, a technique that really didn't work. I don't know if she thought the heroines were stupid, but she seemed almost to be mocking them, especially in the last story. The listener who described her as burbling and baby-talking really captured it. It's too bad, because both the characters could have been read as much more grown-up and intelligent people, and I wondered several times what they would sound like in my "mind's ear" if I was reading instead of listening. Craig Wasson, on the other hand, was very convincing as both characters, though they were quite different from each other.
There is something really sweet and innocent about this mystery set among lexicographers. Maybe it's the basically decent, mostly young characters. It doesn't have the level of violence you find in a lot of contemporary mysteries. It's a bit old fashioned in a good way. I found it compelling and very witty. One of the very few books I'd listen to again.
This book is loosely based on the real-life story of the Russian serial-killer, Andrei Chikitalo, the hunt for whom was portrayed in the excellent HBO movie "Citizen X." While the character of the lead detective in this novel is engaging, the plot quickly becomes ludicrous by the end. I felt sucked in by the hype that's accompanied by this book by the time the ending rolled around and wished I hadn't used my credits on it.
The Booklist review referring to the "second in the Tess Monaghan series" is not for this book but for "Charm City." I downloaded this from audible hoping for the second book because of that review.
Nonetheless, it's good, hon.
I really enjoyed the story of Preston and Spezi's involvement in the case of the "Monster of Florence," but I found the narration irritating. He used a very fake, cartoonish Italian accent for many of the characters, which was distracting. He also mispronounced certain basic words - like "trattoria" along with other more difficult ones , like the town where Preston lived, which includes the tricky "gli" sound. I had to keep reminding myself not to think Preston was a total idiot. It's really a shame that the publishers didn't choose a narrator more familiar with the language.
While I enjoyed the narrator of this book, I found the plot more than a little ridiculous. I wondered at one point if the author was playing a game to see how many absurd cliches he could fit into one novel, or whether he was following some kind of formula in the hope of producing a best-seller.
Don Cheadle is an excellent actor and he does a wonderful job with this book. It helps that Mosely is still great and Fearless, et al are great characters.
I couldn't stand this narrator - It made it hard to the believe in any of the characters. Also, Kellerman slips in bizarre right-wing commentary wherever he can. At least twice, the result is absurd, The cariacture of a leftist bookstore and the speech given there about Israel and Zionism were pure propaganda. Also, he tries to suggest that talk radio is run by anti-George Bush shock-jocks., oh yeah, and the villainous network of prison-reformers is another weird attempt to make progressives seem "outwardly nice" but secretly wicked and scheming. Since when did Richard Mellon Scaife begin paying Kellerman to depict a world in which none of us live?
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