This is one of the best of Alan Bradley's books about Flavia de Luce and her adventures. As always, Flavia's precocious ways get her in and out of trouble but she always prevails. I have both read and listened to the books and as long as Jayne Entwistle is the narrator, I will always prefer listening to them. She is the perfect voice for Flavia.
This book had it all: Mystery, intrigue, history and humor. The surprise ending leaves Flavia fans anxious for the next book. Can't wait.
If Peter May's words could be turned into a painting, he would be considered a modern day master. And, Peter Forbes' compelling narration has convinced me that this book needs to be heard as long as Mr. Forbes is narrating it.
I could see the sky, feel the rain and the wind crashing on the shore and smell the peat. I wanted to reach out to comfort Talmod MacDonald who endured such hardships in his youth, only to relive those times in his confused state of dementia at the end of his life. The main character Fin, comes across as sensitive and strong. Mr. May and Mr. Forbes portray each character in the book to perfection.
The Blackhouse was excellent and as soon as I had read it, I promptly downloaded The Lewis Man and was delighted that it is unabridged. Like other reviewers, I agree with their assessment. While The Blackhouse is great, The Lewis Man is superb. I am looking forward to Book #3. Thank you Peter May and Peter Forbes for sharing your incredible talents.
Alan Bradley's precocious heroine, Flavia de Luce is refreshing. His books are definitely originals, including the titles. I have enjoyed all of Mr. Bradley's books, both in print and audio, and Jayne Entwistle's narration is flawless and perfect for all the characters, especially Flavia's. Please, whoever decided narrators, I beg you to do all possible to keep Ms. Entwistle as the narrator of this series.
For anyone who has not read any of the Flavia de Luce books by Mr. Bradley, I recommend starting with the first one, "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" and continue to read/listen to them in order. While each book can stand alone, a deeper appreciation for the characters is achieved by reading each book in the order they were written.
Previous Flavia adventures had her riding all over the countryside around Bishop's Lacy on her trusty bicycle, Gladys. I am Half Sick of Shadows is set almost entirely in the big, deteriorating mansion the de Luce's call home and Gladys has been put away for the winter. A parade of strangers and locals find themselves trapped in the mansion on Christmas Eve due to a huge snowstorm....and there is a murder to solve! Flavia does her usual magic with chemical concoctions and her keen deductive mind to come up with the answers, but not without some hard knocks along the way.
If there had been more stars to add to the ratings, I would have done so.
I have read or listened to all of the Cole/Pike books by Robert Crais and am a big fan. Taken was one of his best. Human trafficking is one of the most despicable offenses that man commits against his fellow man and Crais exposes it in all its ugliness. But with Cole's quirky personality, the book is not so dark as to be depressing. Like all of Crais' books, they keep moving, never becoming bogged down in sub-plots or details that take away from a book. Luke Daniels' narration was excellent,
I recommend this listen and recommend all books by Robert Crais.
Charles Finch's books are good for a light read. In A Stranger in Mayfair, the author seems to be trying to determine a way his main character, Charles Lennox, can be a Member of Parliament AND a private detective. This dilemma got in the way of an otherwise good story.
I have read all 5 in his Charles Lennox series and this one is my least favorite, although it is still a good listen and did not deter me from going back to listen to the latest in the series, Burial at Sea, which will keep me coming back for more.
While I have enjoyed James Langton's narration of books by other authors, for some reason his voice for Charles Lennox seems to contradict the strong, determined, yet gentlemanly character that Mr. Finch's writing portrays. With Langton's characterization, Lennox comes across as very mannerly, yet a bit weak. But since I have enjoyed several other books narrated by Mr. Langton, his narration of the Charles Lennox books will not deter me.
I would recommend listening/reading these books in the order written to enjoy the unfolding story of Charles Lennox's life.
Perhaps I do not understand pulp fiction but I found this a waste of time....yet I did listen to the entire book, which was mercifully short....hoping that it would improve. It didn't.
The writing was sophomoric, the characters were one-dimensional and the point that the main character was basically a bad person could probably have been made in a one-page essay.
I should not fault the performance of the narrator, considering the plot and the prose he had to work with, but the book was irritating and unfortunately the narrator, John McLain, did not have the advantage of a good plot or good dialog. I would give Mr. McLain another chance with a different author but regardless of how highly regarded Mr. Jim Thompson is held as an author by others, I would not waste my time or money reading another book written by him, although I do hate to speak ill of the departed. Thankfully this book was on sale and I purchased it rather than wasting a credit.
Many of Ngaio Marsh's books are perfect for light, fun listening. The elegant Superintendent Roderick Alleyn never disappoints. Death In Ecstasy delves into the strange world of alternative religion and those poor souls gullible enough to believe.
This book is typical of many of Ms. Marsh's plots....introduce the characters, someone dies under questionable circumstances and the police are called. Superintendent Alleyn appears on the scene with his loyal sidekick Inspector Fox. They interview all the witnesses and soon deduce the death is not by natural causes and call in their Scotland Yard scene of crime experts. Then everyone is gathered together for Mr. Alleyn to announce the murderer and the motive.
Not all of Ms. Marsh's books follow this formula, such as Artists in Crime or a Clutch of Constables, which are among the best of her books and feature in his lovely, famous artist wife, Agatha Troy. But even when they do follow the formula, they are still fun and light hearted. If you are looking for a deep, intriguing storyline with sub-plots, this book is not for you. But if you just want some light, fun listening, you will find this entertaining.
James Saxon narrates many of Ms. Marsh's audio books, and does an excellent job. I have sought out other books narrated by him and always enjoy his portrayals of the characters.
I enjoy Patricia Wentworth's books and believe Diana Bishop is an ideal narrator. Ms. Wentworth's main protagonist, Miss Maude Silver evokes visions of Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple. I always enjoy a bit of a light mystery after reading or listening to several more intense books and Ms. Wentworth's books fills that niche. The plots are usually predictable but the descriptions of the English countryside, villages or large cities are very well done and one can easily visualize Miss Silver.
If you are interested in reading books with thought provoking plots or prefer multi-layered sub-plots, then this book is not for you. Usually the "whodunit" is difficult enough to figure out but if you do, it is still pleasant reading. The Brading Collection was enjoyable and suited my mood at the time especially after reading several Minette Walters and Denise Mina books...both great but both a bit on the dark side.
I have been a Reginald Hill fan for many, many years and love his Dalziel and Pascoe books almost to the point that I am disappointed when he has a new novel that does not feature the two detectives. But, the Woodcutter is Hill at his best - and that really puts it high on the chart. Jonathan Keeble is an outstanding narrator and I will look for other books he narrates. This book kept me guessing up to the very end. Hill's love of words always ensures that I will have increased by vocabulary after reading or listening to one of his novels, and he writes both wonderfully descriptive prose as well as intriguing dialogs. His character developments are first rate.
My only complaint is now I have to wait a while until Hill's next book is on the market.
Wonderfully written by Jamie Ford and perfectly narrated by Feodor Chin, this was one of the best listens I've ever experienced. Mr. Chen's voice kept me interested and his voices were perfect. While the book's main characters were personally affected by the shameful and cruel treatment of the American Japanese during the World War II years, the book did not come across as accusatory, but more of a factual telling of how things were during those times.
There was a permanent "Relocation Center" near my home town and even though many young men from our area fought in WWII, the American Japanese earned the respect of the native residents for their quiet dignity as they endured their confinement. This book helped me to see things more clearly through the eyes of the American Japanese people.
I definitely recommend this book and will listen to it again.
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