My M.O. is to find a new (to me) author, then read all their books in chronological order. I get to witness their maturing as an author and in the case of character-based series like this, I can assess their growth as regards creative abilities.
I have had it with Mankell and Wallander. The protagonist starts as and remains an asocial depressive that trudges drearily through his miserable life, surrounded by melba toast character solving implausible crime line stories.
The few interesting folks that occur, he kills off almost immediately. These are dark, dark stories set in a dark cold world spun in a dreary, repetitive style.
i am astonished Mankell is as well known as he apparently is. These books leave me nearly suicidal.
To be honest, this book never had a chance. The reader was so inept and distracting, I put it aside and will go to my local independent bookseller!
From the viewpoint of writing skill and editing, Sheehan's books are somewhat amateurish and unsophisticated. By this I mean the style is stultified and unpolished. They read like an rough draft that has yet to have a professional editor knock off the rough edges.
While I believe the story line is not bad, it is just not been thought through completely and the story lurches along clumsily, constantly causing me to hesitate to consider plausibility. That is a quality that an editor should nullify.
I want to like Sheehan, and feel he could be vastly improved with some quality support. His work comes across as immature and unrefined.
The main characters are likable and believable with some glaring exceptions. Without giving away the plot, the Chief and his contribution herein needs some work.
So, keep at it James, but spend a few bucks a improve you editing.
Much of the flow and continuity of this story was lost in the translation from Swedish to English. Perhaps the translator was unaware of the proper English idioms or phrasing that kept the context of the dialogue moving smoothly. It came out as jerky and awkward at times and this became a serious distraction as I listened.
I found myself fairly consistently making adjustments, excuses really, that amplified or filled in the empty moments created in this novels momentum by clumsy word usage. I do not speak Swedish, but cannot imagine it being such a stultified and unexpressive language. Much of the quality of prose is in the artistry of the flow of ideas and descriptives. This book, at times, came across as an outline or rough draft.
The fact that it was written 50 years ago is no excuse for its poor communicative style.
The story was interesting but lost in the translation.
How this tripe ever got past the 'round file' astonishes me. Cartoonish characters, clumsy, stultified dialogue and a story so inane I did not know whether to laugh or cry.
The idiotic attempt to employ magic tricks as a serious literary element was so telegraphed and patently unsophisticated, I wonder if this manuscript ever saw an editor or any sort of literary agent or publisher.
Example: Magician/Lawyer uses carny-level switcheoo in a courtroom where a college student is apparently on trial for molesting a minor. While doing so, he employs a baggie of coke to "loosen up" a 13 year-old girl. He is caught redhanded (or red somethinged) by the coppers humping a child in his car with the dope on the seat. He manages to get his hands on the drugs, in full view of the judge, lawyers, bailiffs and spectators by having his client create a diversion during which he swaps in the baking soda. Then against any semblance of actual courtroom protocol, he gets the judge to allow him to haul in a plethora of drug lab testing chemicals and paraphernalia and "discovers", to everyone's horror, that the bag holds baking side. Flummoxed, the judge decides the only intelligent path is to dismiss all charges! Was not the perp attempting to rape a minor at the time? Coke be damned, he's remains a pedophile! But that just goes away, along with any link to reality demonstrated by this author.
Even the "young adult" crowd would be rolling their eyes with this dog. I'd ask for my money back, but I am too embarrassed by having been taken in by the marketing hype used to disguised Margolin's lack of writing skill.
Were it not for the rich texture of historical perspective, these (include Angels and Demons) books are terribly ordinary. The characters are underdeveloped and the plot simplistic, boring really. One dangerous vignette after another grows weary after a time. Mythical cult attacks Myth! Several die, boy doesn't realize that girl wants him. Pretty spine-tingling stuff, alright.
The revelation that the winners write the history may justify the price of admission, but just barely. The paucity of characters and the narrowness of the storyline make anticipating the true culprit far too easy. Just not that many possibilities. The presumptive clues indicating the Captain discount his culpability. After that, the choices are pretty thin re the "teacher".
Good historical vehicle, poor novel!
I tried Baldacci a few years ago, a book so unmemorable that I cannot remember its title. I thought I might give him another shot, based on his continued popularity.
Lesson: Do not rely on the general public's ability to elevate anything but common denominators in any realm they invade.
Sure, this is fiction, but Baldacci relentlessly challenges our ability to swallow endless improbable situations and remedies. While one's imagination struggles to paint his plot elements with even vague connectivity to credible reality, he solves problems by a string of intuitive leaps or epiphanies that are not necessarily composed of information that has gone before in the story line.
Combine this with super-human characters aplenty and you find yourself wondering why you continue to read (listen) this stuff. Baldacci is resting on his laurels, the existence of which evades me.
I is 'difficult' to keep such a compelling premise going. Might say 'impossible' if this dog is an indication. Based on the cut and dried character we know has Reacher, this series started to wane after a half dozen titles or so. Vital signs surged occasionally in the intervening issues, but this attempt at resuscitation failed badly. Many of the above reviews have touched on the tedious plot, the weak characters and missing "Reacherisms", but A Wanted Man certainly left me wanting, in a big way. With a 'bar' so impossibly high, this lemon went subterranean.
Like most Reacher addicts, I gobbled it down moments after release. Now, months later, I cannot tell you much if anything about this vacuum-packed embarrassment. Try as I may, I cannot recall reading the thing, let alone enjoying it. If this was Child's premiere episode in the legend that hoped to be "Reacher", Lee Child would be back writing TV scripts instead of owning homes on many of the world's rivieras.
Instead of struggling not to be repetitive (of others) in my critique, I will hitch my wagon on the literary hearse that is hauling this cadaver to its final resting place. Child has had quite a run, but we should have known that he'd left the track when he authorized Tom "Scientology-bot" Cruise to play the lead in the movie. A little like Wally Cox as Spenser for Hire. More than a simple 'omen'. The worst sort of arrogance delivered like a slap in the face.
I propose a boycott until we get Reached back in long pants surrounded by a story with some quality and muscle.
This book engages every gimmick in the 'mystery man as hero' genre while it fails to engage my interest. Formulaic and predictable, trite and ponderous, it fails to build the tension it sorely needs.
Garden variety villains spouting stilted dialogue as characters stutter start but never gain traction in the absurd premise.
Perhaps I have heard one too many Dick Hill renderings, as his lack of voices to accommodate the diverse players was glaringly obvious. Almost corny enough to be a parody, this tiresome attempt puts me off Hall for good. Hall just tries a little too hard to live up to his own high opinion of himself as an artist and the result is more than a little disappointing.
While good at what they otherwise accomplish as writers, this dialogue serves to degrade each of their accomplishments. Gladwell is an undocumented social observer and Finder writes improbable stories about a contemporary white knight. Why in the name of all meaningful things would anyone care whatever it was this conversation was about?
Utter waste of time.
I have enjoyed this series, improbable as it is. Doc's character is just human enough. His cluelessness around women is as spot on as it is pathetic.
My only gripe this time around is Dick Hill's Caribbean accent sounds too much like an Irish Brogue!
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