Some of the reviewers focus on the one-sided bashing of the food industry. Clearly the author is not a fan of fast food, slaughterhouses, lack of government regulation in this area and other things.
If that's all someone got of this book then the point was sorely missed.
First of all - what the author says is true. He is far from the only writer to point out the fact that the well being of Americans is NOT high on the priority list for the beef industry. Robin Cook, author of best sellers such as COMA, wrote about this very subject in his novel TOXIN. The fact is that slaughterhouses are terrible, unsafe places where abused workers are routinely injured and the meat they produce can be very unsafe.
Beyond that, however, the book is a fascinating chronicle of the evolution of an industry that has changed the world over the last 50 years. Maybe it's not quite as dismal as the author says but it certainly is different.
The consolidation of farming and ranching to the point where the number of independent potato farmers, chicken growers, cattle ranchers, slaughterhouses has dwindled to a microscopic fraction in the last 50 years is a staggering fact.
The fact that rental income from franchisees is the primary revenue stream for McDonald's is mind boggling. How much better definition of irony is there than to learn that food is almost secondary to one of the world's biggest sellers of food.
The story of how Ray Croc stumbled on the Macdonald brothers because they wanted a few extra mixmasters is compelling.
There's so much education in this book and if you have the intellect to filter out some of the bias of the author it's a great, great book.
The bias is clearly there but it absolutely does not get in the way of this being an outstanding way to learn some very interesting stuff.
Back to the original point - bias aside - this audio will raise your awareness of some issues that we can't continue to ignore.
Michael Connelly is an great writer. I think as he develops Mickey Haller in further books and he writes more lawer novels this series will be as enjoyable as the Bosch books.
In his first attempt at moving from police fiction to courtroom fiction I think he fell prey just a little bit to something that first-time authors often do. He spent a lot of time explaining lingo and "lawyer stuff" to the reader.
I think writers do this because they are just researching and learning some of these things themselves so they want to share with the readers. in 2005, the fact is that there has been so much exposure to courtroom novels, movies and TV shows that it is no necessary to go over all the basics with educated readers.
I found it a bit distracting, for example on how much time he spent describing the holding cell. All he had to do was say that the character met his lawyer in a holding cell just outside the courtroom and I think most of would have gotten it.Anyway - not to harp on it. There were a number of things like that in the book that could have been eliminated.
I also thought the portrayal of the cops as "lawyer haters" was a bit overdone and exxagerated.
All in all a good listen and I'm looking forward to Mickey having another case soon - perhaps one where he locks horns with the Boschman himself.
As far as the narrator. He was good - but not great. I didn't like his female voices too well.
Excellent mystery - keeps you guessing until the end. The narrator was one of the best I've heard. She was able to do many different types of female voices and not too bad of a job with the male voices either.
My only observation is that I think the author could have ended a bit sooner. One of the mistakes that I think many contemporary authors make is that they feel they have to tie up every loose end. I think the book would have been just as good without the final scene with the parents. I won't say more for fear of spoiling.
Don't miss this one, though if you like mysteries. Be aware though that it's not a typical "lawyer" book. I don't remember one scene that was actually in a courtroom.
Great listening experience.
There were just a few minor things that bothered me. The first is the the author pushed the envelope just a little too far in the area of coincidence. Suspension of reality is necessary in a novel - especially a mystery. I do understand that but there were just a couple of things that I though were tied together a bit too easily.
There were also one or two continiuty issues that bothered me. Don't want to say here - would spoil the plot. Nothing that would really change the structure of the book - just little things.
Scott Brick, as always us just fantastic. I can't say enough about his ability to bring a book to life. The only thing that bothered me about the performance may have been the fault of the producer or it might have been Scott's - not sure. IT has to do with pauses. The author tends to jump from one scene to another very frequently. In a written book the publisher can add an extra blank line to let you know the scene is changing. In this particular audio it seemed that Scott moved from one scene to another too quickly. Sometimes it wasn't clear that the scene had changed. I had to rewind frequently to see where I was in the story. With the creative Muvo not having a counter like the old OTIS player it was a challenge rewinding while driving.
None of these picayune complaints should stop you from this book. It is very, very enjoyable.
I am a Stephen King fan. When I first read SALEM'S LOT as a teenager I can remember thinking that this was the first book I'd ever read that scared me as much as 'scary movies'. CARRIE, THE SHINING, etc etc - wonderful books.
I am also a Frank Muller fan. He actually made me like John Grisham who I had always shunned. His narration of GREAT EXPECTATIONS is nothing less then brilliant.
This one just didn't cut it. Maybe it's not fair of me to give a review when I turned it off after about 3 hours but I couldn't keep going. I REALLY tried.
The story just reminded me so much of snippets from other books including THE CHRONICLES of NARNIA and A WRINKLE IN TIME. It just seems so predictable.
And Frank's narration seemed like an attempt to make every word sound sinsister with multiple hisses and low growling voices. THe thing that makes these kind of "travelling to a strange world" stories work is the juxtaposition of the "normal" life of the main character as he is thrust into a completely foreign dimension. The way it was read tells a story where both the "real" world and the alternate world are both strange
Anyway - I just couldn't keep going. I tried. I REALLY tried.
There isn't mucht to add from what the other reviewers have said except one thing.
I don't see this as a story about a hit man. It is yet another allegory about "everyman". The fact that Keller is a paid assassin is not the point of the story. It makes it very interesting to listen to because his occupation is very extreme.
The story is about who we are and what we become and how we end up looking back at our lives trying to decide if what we do defines who we are. I know that I never dreamed as a child of going into sales -- yet here I am at age 50 running a sales organization. Like Keller, I don't love what I do, but I don't hate it. It's not at all, though about who I am.
Being a hit man is not who Keller is, it's just what he does. This story has certainly been done before -- the mid-life crisis where a man gets a dog, a hobby, a much-younger girlfriend -- but doing it in this context is nothing short of brilliant.
And then when you add Robert Forster into the mix, magic happens. This narration is simply remarkable. Forster nailed this one dead on.
Don't be put off by the fact that this hit man isn't punished or thinking that this book will desensitize you to violence -- it won't. It's a great book and if you pass it up - you'll be missing a lot.
I started the Bosch series in the middle having picked out A Darkness More Than night primarily because it was sequel with Terry McCaleb.
I've gone in sequence since --I just finished THE NARROWS (another gem). Audible doesn't have the earlier ones but I bust bought cassettes and am listening to BLACK ECHO (the first Bosch) and I am totally amazed at the series.
There is certainly a formula: Harry starts on a case and is totally alone - no one believes that he's correct and he has to fight tooth and nail to get anybody's cooperation - badge or not. He's always proven right in the end but no one thanks him -- they're still angry at him for doing things 'his way'.
Formula aside, the characterization of Bosch is just so darned fascinating. Some might say it's been done before - the misunderstood, dark, brooding Vietnam vet fighting for a just casue - and they are right. It HAS been done before -- but never as well.
Harry is a real person in so many ways - and following him through the series is as interesting as the mysteries. The series spans 10 years so far. In the first book he's around 40 and by now he's around 50 and so many changes have happenned in those 10 years it's really like watching an acquaintance (I don't think Harry has too many real friends) as he hits middle age and beyond.
I understand Connelly is in the middle of yet ANOTHER Bosch story and I can't wait for it.
Tony Award winner Len Cariou does a GREAT job of reading. Some folks have said his voicing of Lawton Cross is grating - well it's supposed to be - if you've ever met anybody in that condition his interpretation is pretty dead on. it's not pleasant to listen to but it's realistic.
I love the 1st person reading also -- really lends itself to old film noir.
This is a must read. If you haven't read ANY Bosch books yet - start at the beginning. They are all stand alone but they're much richer if you follow the saga.
I liked the basic premise as much as The Da Vinci Code but Dan Brown went a little overboard in this one.
I love the way he managed to actually produce a textbook on religious history using a fictional narrative as the vehicle in which to tell it. This is the same thing he did with TDVC.
There were two things that bothered me about this one that he seems to have grown out of before his next book.
#1. TOO UNBELIEVABLE. There are two kinds of action heroes. The Superman Type and The Regular guy who is thrust into adventure reluctantly. The Superman type is expected to do outrageous feats and survive unbelievable things. The latter type is much less invulnerable.
Langdon is the regular guy. It creates a real problem when he keeps walking away from death as he does in this one. There is a certain license that is acceptable in this kind of thing ? it was crossed here big time.
#2. SILLY CIRCULAR NARRATIVE I don?t know if that?s the right term but here is my own perception of a dialogue passage that thematically occurred at least 6 or 7 times in the story. This is not a quote - just an impression. This would all occur within a two-minute segment probably all on one page in the book
Roberts last hopes faded
A new glimmer of hope hit him
The answer was so clear now that he saw it
His heart sank when he realized that he was in the wrong place
Robert smiled and suddenly felt renewed when Vittoria showed him what she had in her hand?
Then his hopes sank and he knew this was the end when he saw the locked door
Suddenly he rebounded with new faith when he realized what it meant
His hopes were dashed when the light went out
and on and on and on. After the third or fourth go around like this I actually laughed out loud.
All in all the story was interesting and I loved learning the history but it doesnt seem that Dan had honed his writing skills just yet when he put this one together.
This was my second Harry Bosch reading. After listening to A DARKNESS MORE THAN NIGHT, I picked this to follow the Harry Bosch trail - I thought he was an interestng character.
There were some flaws in the plot. I don't see a detective such as Bosch leaving Julis'a back story where it was. I think he would have spent a little more time chekcing out her past after the tragedy.
I also agree that the Dr's character was a little too superficial as another reviewer said.
I think Bosch is an interesting, complex character, though. He's got a brilliant mind but he misses some very obvious things until he stumbles on the right answer later on.
There are two more Bosch stories written since this one (LOST LIGHT and THE NARROWS which is coming out in May in print) but I'm going to go back to the beginning and read the earlier ones first. Hopefully the newer ones will be out on Audible by that time.
This isn't a perfect book but definitely worth listening to.
This audio is even better than the book. Hearing the story in his own voice really brought it to life.
This is partly a history of CBS news and the world since 1950; partly an auto-biography; and partly an overview of how network news in has fit into and sometimes participated in the shaping of world and national events.
The anecdotes are priceless such as how Lyndon Johnson could afford to throw an expensive Stetson hat into the crowd at the end of every campaign appearance during his 1948 Senate campaign as he boarded his helicopter.
When we learn more about him as a person it makes you realize that those in the public eye are not just 2 dimensional characters but real people with real emotions and real lives.
In 1981 Bob realized that he would never achieve his "ultimate" job when Dan Rather took the reigns from Walter Cronkite as anchor of the CBS Evening News. He knew he would be a clear heir apparent to Dan except that he was simply too close in age to ever succeed him. In the 20 years since then he has grown to equal stature with Rather and become as much of a force in CBS news as if he HAD gotten the anchor job. He doesn't brag about this at all but there are so many other people who would have simply coasted from that point forward instead of continuing on to become everything that he is today.
His observations about the state of the world are so on target. He observed that while many felt that the U.S.A became a stronger nation after the 9/11 tragedy he ammended that to say that in his opinion we weren't a new nation but merely a nation that had again become what it once was.
He is straighforward and gives his opinions of newsmakers objectively even if they were his friends.
He is equally objective in his treatment of CBS and also of the entire fraternity of network news people. He tells the good with the bad - and the embarrassing.
If you like history, TV or America - don't miss this one.
There is so much going on in this story that it really forces the listener to pay attention - which is a GOOD thing. The double-edged sword here is that it went too far.
Good writing is supposed to challenge the reader. I don't just want eye(ear)candy in books. On the other hand I use reading as lesiure. This book took a lot of effort. Perhaps it's my own shortcomings and I should welcome the challenge.
At the end of the day, though, a lot of effort might be worth it for Tolstoy, or Shakespeare, et al, but is a Dave Robicheaux novel worth the effort? Perhaps it is for some but for me it wasn't.
The narrator did an excellent job, I think, of conveying the feel of this book. He read very slowly, but Dave is clearly a methodical plodding thinker who is very bright but thinks things through carefullly and considers many factors when making decisions.
Dave is a dark, dark character. My only other exposure to this character was in the medicore flick with Alec Baldwin a few years ago HEAVEN's PRISONERS. The best thing about that movie was the supporting cast including a much under-rated Eric Roberts and Teri Hatcher who was great. Based on listening to this book, Baldwin didn't come close to capturing Robicheaux.
I'm probably not going to read or listen to any other Robicheaux books. It was far from the worst thing I've ever heard but it was simply to over done for my tastes. Perhaps if 2 or 3 of the subplots had been eliminated I could have handled it but it was just too much for me. I haven' actually counted but I'll bet there were 5 or 6 completly developed plots taking place simultaneously and while the author does manage to tie them all up quite well, I prefer things a little more simple.
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