I've read, or listened to, most of the Stone Barrington books, and I enjoy them simply because I love the characters. The plots are usually quite simplistic, sometimes the conclusions seem abrupt or illogical, and the world in which the characters live is amazingly small (everyone knows everyone else, usually via some law enforcement or federal agency connection). But the characters are so endearing that I'm quite content to just let them do their thing, chatting away, as I look on, not really caring where the latest "case" takes them. I do read more serious detective ficton, such John Sanford's, but there's a time for everything, and Woods is the guy I turn to when I want to relax and just have some fun with Stone, Dino, and the gang.
No. The story was would have been far more enjoyable had the author not elected to use present tense the entire time. I could understand its usage when the author was describing what was going on in "real time", but he continued to use it even when characters were describing past events to other characters, which was really odd. If I asked a friend what he did over the weekend, he would not normally say, "I go to the football game. I watch it. My team scores. I go to the concession stand." Etc. My assumption is that the book was really intended to be a movie script, which would explain the universal present tense, and that script was then used to generate a book. I just found it very annoying.
It was clearly intended to be a movie.
Yes. I really loved the characters and dialogue.
Nate, the protagonist.
A captivating story. Love a good mystery, especially of the weird sci-fi variety. Only fault was that the eventual antagonist was stereotyped and way, way to predictable. Perhaps that was the author's intent, though.
I love apocalyptic stories, and I was intrigued by the premise of this book, yet was honestly a bit disappointed by it. It's not a bad story, though I could see where some would be put off by the abrupt ending. The characters are okay, the narration solid. Why didn't I enjoy it, then? Perhaps because from the start of the tale, the world is already falling apart, so when the event happens that REALLY sends things over the edge, I didn't really care. Also, the protagonist is not very likable. He tends toward self-pity, delusion, and second-guessing events he had no control over. It is never clear why he trounces around in a bed sheet, or why he has so few provisions, or why he lives in a tree instead of constructing or adapting better quarters. Perhaps because his state makes him more pitiable? I don't know. Also, all of humanity aside from a handful of characters was pretty much invisible and are treated as non-consequential, so when the world does start dying off, the event is abstract and impersonal. Since I didn't care for the main character, and humanity was a no-show for the plot, the end of the world was just not that moving. At least for me.
The concept behind Spin is fascinating. The spin, or the main event, is amazing in itself, but how humanity attempts to circumvent the spin, and the consequences that follow, are equally amazing. The characters are likable, the science intriguing, the narration perfect, and the plot solid. My only caveat: this is a thinking person's book. If you can't take the time to sit back and ponder what is being presented to you, but instead want the rapid pace of a 90 minute movie with a predictable storyline, you probably won't like this book.
I loved the premise of the book and enjoyed the read, overall. The idea of some ancient alien weapon (or is it?) on another planet is intriguing. I had just two small issues with the story. One is that the antagonist tracking the good guys is provided with a remarkably unlikely trail to follow. The other is that the author spends way to much time during the last quarter of the book describing the ordeal of boats in stormy waters. It would normally be interesting, but I kept wanting the author to get back to the ALIEN end-of-the-world plot. Overall, though, a fun story.
An indication of just how little this audiobook held my interest is that I had 15 minutes of the book remaining at one point, but it was a week before it occurred to me to finish it.
I spent the first 3/4 of the book mostly annoyed by the main character, who is what an anti-hero would be if you subtracted the "hero." He spends most of his time complaining ad nauseum how terrible his life is - work, family, the world in general. I mean, this goes on and on and on, paragraph after paragraph, to the point that you wish they guy would just walk off a cliff somewhere. And yet he admits to being lazy, unable to control his actions, bad with money, etc. It's really hard to like this guy.
Also, the author took the unusual approach of alternating between first person present tense and third person past tense. That didn't work for me.
I don't mind a slow build-up so long as there is some kind of identifiable progression of the plot, but in this book you realize early on that there are "haters" and that their numbers are rising, and you just end up in a holding pattern for most of the rest of the book, until at last something happens toward the last act or two. I can safely advise that if at any point you get bored in his story, just skip ahead to the next section, and you won't have missed any critical plot points. It's just more of the same.
The end was okay. No spoilers here, except to say I'd have liked more resolution after all that tedious, annoying build-up. I think the author was attempting some kind of philosophical argument about hate, but it's not clear what he was going for. Presumably the person who spontaneously kills people is on equal moral footing with those who try to kill him as a consequence, or something like that? Very murky.
Story is set in England so the reader is English. The accent was more Ricky Gervais than Hugh Grant, though. Suited the character.
This Flowers character is really growing on me. I had my doubts at first, being a big fan of the Prey series, but I've listened to all three Flowers books and have found them worthy successors. Sandford just can't put these out fast enough!
There aren't many constants in life, but the one thing I always thought I could depend on was a well-crafted, well-narrated novel by Jonathan Kellerman. Even those stories with marginal plots were entertaining because of the fun dialogue Kellerman furnished between Alex Deleware and Milo Sturgis.
But Alex and Milo are here replaced with two brothers, Moses (or "Mo", as he's referred to in the book, which never failed to summon images of the third stooge in my head, and the cartoon bartender from the Simpsons) and his half-brother Aaron. One is a detective, the other a private investigator, and they do not have the cordial relationship Alex and Milo have, nor the witty dialogue, and both are lacking any endearing qualities that might make a reader warm up to them.
I admit I did not finish this book. I made it a quarter way through before deciding it was just to painful to continue. I find it difficult to believe that Kellerman actually wrote this cold, unappealing work. I hope this is the last we ever hear of "Mo" and Aaron. Alex, Milo, Robin - we miss you!
I normally like this series, but this book disappointed me. First, because it is almost impossible to conceive that everyone at the police department is so computer illiterate. It's hard to believe that in this day and age a police detective wouldn't have even heard of Microsoft Excel. I can accept he might not know how to use it, but to not even know what it is? Less believable is that the police department's best computer gurus don't understand metatags. Or I guess for that matter, Google caches. I'd say more, but then I'd be giving out a spoiler.
My point is that almost anyone under 30 years of age (and some of us who are much older) will find the police department's computer illiteracy completely unbelievable. Consequently, it's hard to be impressed by the bad guy, who is cast as a genius but who could be any 14 year old kid in Southern California.
Also, about halfway through the narrative the story gets a bit sadistic. I realize this is the era of torture-porn movies, but personally, I don't enjoy reading about anyone, much less a named character with a sympathetic background, tortured to death. Up to that point, the story was unbelievable but mildly entertaining. As soon as the torturing and screaming started, I gave up on it. There's enough horror in the world already. I don't care to hear fictionalized versions of it on a business trip.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Granted, the cast of characters, all with Italian names, was not easy to follow, but after a few hours of listening things sort themselves out. The narrator was superb - I'd put him in the Scott Brick category. I give up on about 1/3 of the audio books I buy before getting to the end, but not this one. This book actually made me look forward to the next-day's drive down the Interstate.
My biggest disappointment was finishing it. I doubt I'll find an adequate replacement.
One minor quibble: I do not think it was necessary, really, for the narrator to use a fake Italian accent while reading an English translation of what Italians said. The book would have not have been "written" with an Italian accent, and that would have made it easier to understand. On the other hand, the accent was well-done and did add flavor to the story, so it was an artistic decision I probably shouldn't second-guess.
If you like A&E shows like Cold Case Files, and international thrillers, you'll probably like this.
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