Badly written, replete with phrases that a schoolboy would be ashamed of, cliches galore, no noun goes without 1 or 2 adjectives. It goes nowhere and ever so slowly; I heard it in 35 minute spells (my journey to work) and it was insufferable - Elmore Leonard would have covered the same territory in 3 minutes. It was unbearable waiting for it to get moving. I can't believe this won an Edgar award for best first novel, it's terrible and needs a team of editors to reduce it to about 3 hours, not 12. Over-written, insubstantial, dull, the hero is not a hero, he's a whiner. Booklist said "Hart is a fine stylist, turning phrases with a panache that recalls Raymond Chandler." Rubbish, Chandler would have had Philip Marlowe kill the hero and the writer for murdering the English language!
This book was originally published in 1958 and this is revealed constantly in the writing style, the constant statement of so-called 'facts' (which aren't facts now and weren't then either) and the generally out-of-date information (it refers to zippers first appearing 25 years ago at one point). It is also long-winded and moves very slowly for anyone who has even a scant knowledge of the subject.
Despite this it could still be interesting (especially if there was a way of speeding it up - 13 hours is at least twice as long as it needs to be) except for the strange narration. I assume the narrator is an American trying to speak like an Englishman - but it is like no English accent ever heard in real life. About one word in every hundred, which is a lot, is such a bizarre pronunciation that you cannot understand at first what is trying to be said. Why not just narrate in his normal voice? The narrator also often just misstates words such as "ingenious" when it is obviously "ingenuous" that is meant. The latter mispronunciation also occurred in the narration of Somerset Maugham's short stories (vol 2 or 3) and I see that it is the same narrator who is responsible for that and also for a total of 44 books currently in Audible!! You need to be far more tolerant than me to tolerate either this 'book' or this narrator.
This title badly needs editing, it's 3-4 hours stretched to 11+ hours of filling (describing walking to the door, lighting cigarttes etc. and the 'love' tangles of three 85-year-old brothers - who cares!). There is no crime comitted in the first 4 hours! Is this a thriller at all? I read the first 4 or so books ages ago when they came out and they were OK. What's happened? If you like the crispness of Robert B Parker's Spenser novels you'll cringe at this effort.
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