Simply put: The story, characters, venue and performance of this book were predictable, threadbare and ultimately boring. The dialogue was so laden with crime novel cliches that I had to occasionally take a break to avoid the temptation to erase the entire book before continuing. Predictable tough guys with no depth of character litter this work throughout. Lecturing tomes about "how to", " only two ways to do", etc., ripped off from Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series, here fell flat and came across as condescending.
Geeky descriptions of fearsome weapons and unnecessarily graphic descriptions of grisly acts of violence could not compensate for shallow characters, shaky story line and cringe-inducing dialogue.
Jake Weber's performance was more distraction than entertainment. His efforts to portray hardened criminals as well as world-weary but soft-harted characters from society's fringe lacked subtlety and resulted in caricatures of criminals instead of believable persons. To be fair, the dialogue he was forced to work with inexorably led to this result.
Mr. Hobb's literary agent turned in the best performance here by somehow convincing Audible to showcase this first book as a must-read, breakout thriller.
The opening segment of this work claimed that James J. "Whitey" Bulger was, after Osama bin-Laden, "America's most notorious criminal."
That attempt at puffing up Whitey's imprint on our country, however, did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. This is the third in a trilogy of works devoted to the life and times of Whitey. This final installment, like the previous "Black Mass", is more an indictment of FBI corruption than a frightening account of a notorious Irish gangster.
In fact, rather than a "criminal mastermind" as described by the authors, Whitey turns out to be simply a local Boston-based hoodlum, with a penchant for hands-on violence, surrounded by a gang that couldn't shoot straight.
The authors' discursions into topical events of the 1960s, 70s and 80s are enjoyable and do not detract from the pace or direction of the story. Whitey's participation in CIA backed LSD experimentation on prisoners is one example of hidden nuggets in this work, otherwise freighted with minutia about Whitey, his family and criminal associates.
John Rubenstein does an outstanding job of reading this work. His delivery carried me over passages bloated with detail and historical data that, after a while, left me overwhelmed and numb.
In sum, a good story about a small time crook, whose grasp eventually exceeded his reach.
Worth the money and time.
I liked this 2008 work by Preston and Child. The plot was a bit freighted with bio-tech and IT jargon before hitting air speed about 1/3 of the way in. It's an exciting story, with unpredictable plot twists and an all-too-frightening resemblance to our modern world. If the reader is willing to devote time and patience as the book sets up, the subsequent ride is well worth the effort.
With a few exceptions, the protagonist Guy Carson and his friends and foes are well- placed, believable characters deftly manipulated by the authors to maximum effect. The sole exception is Guy's female sidekick, whose ethnic rants and extraneous social commentary were an irritating distraction after a while.
All in all, a great book and a good read too by David Colacci.
Gideon's Corpse is Preston and Child's latest foray into global apocalyptic threats. It's an exciting ride and the authors again demonstrated their proven ability to introduce the plot in a subtle, engaging and ingenious manner.
The auathors have teed up Gideon Crew as an alternative to Aloysius Pendergast, the albino FBI agent whose eccentricities and unusual skills have propped up the Pendergast mystery series. Crew emerges as a complex, anti-hero hero who, like Pendergast, has an unusual and sorrowful history but who possesses unique skills that are brought to bear.
The novel is a real "page-turner" and I found myself several times unwilling pause my iPod and put the story on hold. That said, several of the action scenes were belabored, unnecessarily long and seemed to be used to pad the length of the story. Shorter, in this case, would have been sweeter.
The reader David Collins struggled to put life into some of the characters. This was most evident in his portrayal of Gideon's sidekick, FBI agent Stone Fordyce (great name!), who came across as a lifeless automaton who spoke in monotones devoid of emotional affect. Stone was a key character to the story and a better reading of his lines would have added to the tale.
In short, a good book, a good story and well-worth the price and time.
This is the second installment of the Helen Pendergast saga. It is a good story but I hope this series ends with "Two Graves" ? This is particularly so, as the series seems to require reading all 3 books (so far) to get the gist of what's going on. Other references to earlier novels are also included but not required reading. What began as an enjoyable multi--book story is now evolving into an undergraduate course on Pendergast, that requires juggling much information, and with no end in sight.
On the upside, Rene Auberjonois does a terrific job with portraying Pendergast, a complicated hero with a multitude of skills, as well as the other myriad characters who come and go in this novel and series.
On the downside, the authors' effort to portray Pendergast's love for his elusive wife Helen was clumsy and amateurish. Gazing together upon a "buttery moon" was one of many cringe-inducing scenes that showed the authors are far better at writing fast-paced thrillers with subtle twists than syrupy teenage romances.
Bottom line: Still a good read, but let's hope a satisfying conclusion is not too far over the horizon.
It's unusual that works read by the author actually turn out well. Rakoff 's (RIP) reading of Half Empty added and did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book- a collection of hilarious essays on issues of the day. Rakoff's droll narration matched the witty and enjoyably cynical commentary.
Rakoff is much like the other "David", David Sedaris, who has entertained us for years on NPR.
This is a quick and enjoyable listen.
I'm an unabashed fan of Preston and Child's Pendergast novels. Simply stated, using a cultured, albino, FBI agent who specializes in serial killers as an exoskeleton for a series of works is, at the least, a unique and courageous strategic act.
That being said, The Wheel Of Darkness stretched plausibility well beyond normal fictional constraints and launched me, the reader, into the Wild Blue Yonder. For the first time, I found myself exclaiming aloud, "Come On...", several times, as the book turned one improbable corner after another. The sheer improbability of the plot as it unfolded had a corrosive effect on the character of Pendergast, whose strings were pulled by Preston and Child to get the authors out of a corner into which they had painted themselves.
Without giving too much away, my impression was Preston and Child began this work with an interesting premise (indeed, the initial venue was subtle and attractive) but failed to decide how to end the story before launching into writing it.
Rene Auberjonois did a terrific job in performing this book. Without hysteria, he created a sense of foreboding that was palpable at key points. His version of Pendergast was likewise very good, capturing the thoughtful, eccentric, cultured FBI agent hidden just behind the Louisiana drawl.
The premise for this work, global apocalypse with paranormal overtones, is well tilled soil in the world of fiction; particularly so as we approach December 2012 and the end-of-the-Mayan-calendar crazies "spin like propellers", to borrow a phrase from Yitzhak Rabin. The plot of this work, then, was disappointingly predictable as the book lurched forward. Characters were unidimensional, dialogue was cliche-ish.
On the upside, the narration was good, but, overall, I would give this a pass.
I've been reading Dr. Dwyer's books since the 1970's, beginning with Pulling Your Own Strings. We even share the same alma mater (WSU). His skill at describing complex social interactions in terms at once both understandable and genuine are unparalled. This book, however, seems to be an unsuccessful reach for new material. What results is the same basic concepts repackaged into an ostensibly new format. I wonder if Dr. Dwyer is placing
production over thoughtfulness?
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