I received this audiobook from the author, R.E. McDermott, as I have begun participating in a GoodReads group - AudioBooks. I read/listen constantly, so a new book from an author new to me is truly a treat.
This book did not disappoint, not one bit. I've read/listen to the entire Patrick O'Brian series so I am familiar to a small degree with the intricacies of mystery-thrillers cast upon a sea. The technical exposition McDermott uses brings what might be mundane to some, alive and exciting to the reader/listener. I was enthralled. Having the time, I read the book almost non-stop. (Using the Audible.com iPhone app you can set a book to play for x minutes and stop. At 4 am, I simply had to stop resetting the timer and get some sleep.)
McDermott's characters are drawn richly. The plots are multiple and multi-layered. The author draws from current day geo-political themes much in the same way as a Clancy techno-military thriller does. Tom Dugan, the main protagonist, is compelling in his knowledge of shipping and ships; and how to use that knowledge as a weapon. Dugan's many antagonists are portrayed as heinous, uncaring beings, easy to despise.
I cannot wait to read the next in the series - Deadly Coast.
One caution, this is my first listen of Todd Haberkorn as Narrator. I was unfamiliar with his style and pacing. As the book progressed, I appreciated his initial low-key delivery, which became increasingly passionate as the plot developed. Don't be put off by his initial, under-played characterizations. He helps build tension adroitly as the plot develops and has a nice range of voices with which to paint McDermott's vivid characters.
Simply told, in black and white. You never know their names - that doesn't matter. You never know their destination - that doesn't matter. What does matter, are the gifts of courage this father leaves with his son - on The Road.
This is my first sample of Cormac McCarthy and it leaves me hungry, no ravenous for more. Survival in a post-apocalyptic world becomes the medium through which McCarthy touches the fears and wounds we certainly bear as we raise our children in a less challenging but far more complex world.
Tom Stechschulte's lyrical voice flows easily from a rumbling Midwestern texture up to a clear, clean, pre-adolescent boy and back to rumble. I've treasured the experience of listening to quite a few of Stechschulte's narrations, and I have yet to be disappointed.
This is not a book for the faint of heart. Nesbo's Harry Hole is Everyman, a flawed, guilt-ridden alcoholic who holds life precious, but sees it taken away from him in tragic circumstance. He's brilliant, though not quick. Nesbo's plot plods. Layer after layer of detail, that seems to make no sense until it all culminates in climax.
This is a book that I need to read/listen to a second time, and it is good enough to hold me through again. Robin Sachs has a voice like Isle of Islay whisky - dark, smokey and smooth as glass. My only difficulty with this book came with the unfamiliar Norwegian names. If I was reading it in print, I'm sure that difficulty would have been lessened, but I would have missed the whisky voice. I will see if it is available on WhisperSync. That would be an excellent coupling.
Michael Connelly writes with an authentic crime beat reporter's voice, because he was one. Perhaps better known for his Lincoln Lawyer series, I find the Harry Bosch series even more provocative. Connelly peels back the facades of the homicide detective, the LAPD and the seamy side of Hollywood with an anti-hero - Harry. This book's importance lies in the base it provides the reader for how Harry thinks about a crime and a tiny bit about how fearful he is about his own darker side. Not nearly as violently dark as James Lee Burke's protagonists - Dave Robechieux and Clete Purcell, but driven by the same hellish experiences in Vietnam. Connelly's plot will have you turning in circles to see which direction the investigation will take next. The tenderness of Harry's relationship has you hoping it won't all come to ruin - will it?
Dick Hill provides outstanding voice and character images with his usual aplomb.
Pick it up. Read it know. It will be a movie in the next couple of years. And enjoy!
I took a chance on the first of this series ("At Home in Mitford") and despite myself, brecame enthralled. When my local library no longer had the Audio CD's, I had to dip into my Audible.com credits to continue the journey. Well worth the investment. Jan Karon spins delightful characters who act with compassion to create a delightful tableau of small town life.
Having read, and loved Preston's later book in this series - Cold Vengeance, I looked forward to starting at the beginning of the series. I enjoyed the premise of the story line - mysterious, gruesome deaths in the Museum of Natural History, but was bogged down by the pacing of the book - laboriously complex and layered. Don't get me wrong - I love long complex novels - Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is one of my favorites and it is nothing if not complex.
But this novel took so much time developing cartoon-like antagonists, while leaving the murder lightly defined until the climax. The blood and gore was aplenty - that's fine, it is a part of the genre.
I will try one more of Preston's books, but not with relish after this unappetizing starter.
Wow, certainly not an elegant comment or review, but it clearly expresses how I felt as I came to the end of this book. I have read a fair number of crime/mystery/police procedural novels. This book ranks among the best. Not because of the twists and turns, though Ms. French surprises at nearly every turn. What struck me was the evocation of raw emotion these characters built up to. Loyalty to a friend, to a partner, to a family member is a character trait of high value to me and I think to many. Ms. French tests your assumptions about personal loyalty using what comes naturally in a mystery novel - our presumptions and assumptions. My need to solve the mystery of whodunit, led to my own presumptions and guesses. These were led to a crescendo of feeling in the climax.
Along the way, character development through terrific dialogue was delivered superbly by the narrator, Stephen Hogan. He slipped fluidly from male to female voice and back again. From upper, middle-class to hard-scrabble working class and to those on the dole. I can't wait to pick up on the rest of the series. My only hesitation is that I see that Stephen Hogan does not narrate any others in the series. I can only hope the other readers bring as much style to the ear as he does.
I am finding out that Scalzi's books are more than a little bit unorthodox. This book was great fun and the ardent SciFi reader will be laughing like crazy.
But there is an intense complexity that underlies his banal prose. John cares about his characters. All authors do, to some extent, but in this book Scalzi's passion for the personas he creates eventually hits the black and white, and can actually touch the reader.
Wil Wheaton's narration is incredible. He has a wide range of characters and an ability to convey the excitement, the frightening intensity of the moment and still have room to deliver tenderness. Yuck, too sacharine! But you get the idea, he's good.
This book might have been a Five Star, but I was totally confused at some points by the turns and twists. The Codas at the end clarified the story, but I was left baffled by the need for these as separate sections.
Hilariously upbeat, Peter Bales' rendition of American history tickles me so I want more. Having listened to Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" and Wil Durant's "Greatest Minds of All Times" I needed something to keep the passion for more history aflame. Peter makes the Founders of our country truly alive today, though perhaps a bit smelly.
For those opposed to pithy humor at the expense of many, this might not be for you. For a parent of a soon to be middle-schooler, this book brings all the fun and passion for history the goes with the "Horrible Histories" series of books.
Keep them coming Peter!
By the way Peter, have someone improve your audio engineering. But for that, you would score 5 stars instead of 4.
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