Hey! It's another espionage/art history novel! Except for theological musings in Da Vinci Code, there are some pretty major similarities between the two. Of course, here the emphasis is on the espionage. The art history is more incidental in this one.
Unlike an earlier reviewer, I did not like the narrator. The accents kept on coming, which is authentic and all, but not always pleasing to the ear, and I got a little sick of listening to them. His regular narration is also laid on a bit thickly. Given it's high rating, Mr. Lee was not a problem for most listeners, but if you are careful in your purchases, you might want to give the sample a listen.
Another minor point. I don't find the title to be very descriptive of the major narrative thread. I would have thought the English assassin to be more central to the plot based on the title. If you are dying to here a lot about British people who kill, you may want to check out something by Ian Fleming.
I am interested in listening to more stories about Gabriel, but I might check for a different narrator and see if that helps.
A number of the fictitious thrillers have a definite liberal bent. This one takes a decidedly more pragmatic view of enhanced interrogation and how the debate is played out in the public arena. I liked hearing the conservative viewpoint.
The story is particularly interesting in light of our nation's recent tussle over waterboarding.
Think of a season of 24 in book format, and substitute the legislative branch for the executive branch, and you will get a pretty close approximation of Extreme Measures. On the other hand, I think that 24 has much more developed characters than this piece.
Clearly, this isn't great writing, but it is fun storytelling with a political bent.
First of all, complaining that the book is too close to The Count of Monte Cristo is unfair. The book is meant to be a modern retelling of the same story. For those who missed it, he references that book and its author, Dumas, multiple times. He talks about the book in the interview at the end of the book. If you do not want to retread the Count of Monte Cristo, stay away. It probably should be mentioned in the publisher's description, but saying that the author is ripping off or stealing the plot is unfair. He is trying to say how that story might work today.
I enjoyed the book, but I was never surprised. I predicted all but half of one twist. However, that did not bother me. It's like a good summer movie. You know where it is going, so you just kick back and enjoy the ride.
I seriously do not know what everybody's deal is about this book. I have listened to all the other Koontz books that Aubible has, and I quite like this one. I put off listening to it because of the low rating, but now I can't figure out why.
In my mind, it has the creepiest parts of any that I have heard from Audible (I have read creepier stuff from him.) It has definitely got Koontz's Christian flava, but that's not new to a Koontz fan. Maybe that was a big turn off for some, but I think it makes him unique.
There are two reasons why I didn't give it five stars. Here they are:
1. The narrator is not my favorite. She does little girl parts well, and she does a super creepy doll voice. However, I really didn't like her male voices, and her typical narration voice didn't thrill me, either.
2. There is no quirky villain. Koontz usually has some quirky villain that always surprises you with upsetting world views. Not so much in this one.
Admittedly, the story is similar to typical movie fare, but that is one of the points that he is making. He really does have an interesting perspective on a fairly standard sci fi plot. It's true that he only fully develops one character, but he typically centers narration in a handful of characters, like the villain and a couple of good guys. Here, he doesn't need to switch off.
Do not let the bad reviews scare you off. This is some serious Koontz, and you won't regret it.
This is my second Dean Koontz download and my favorite Audible download so far. If his earlier books are so much better, I need to give them a try.
The villain in this book is such an interesting one that it may merit your attention alone. I am not sure if he is believable or even deep, but I really liked hearing his thoughts and malevolent intentions. How can you not love a deeply evil English professor named Corky?
The rest of the story is solid and suspenseful. I wasn?t actually scared, but I couldn?t stop listening once I hit the book?s final moments. For me, this is what listening to a book is all about. It?s just a good yarn. When I want something substantive, I will read the book.
As for the long descriptions, they truly didn?t bother me. I like Koontz?s wry observations. This one is full of some pretty funny thoughts about politics and literary criticism.
As an important note, the book hits on some religious notes. I realize that some of the horror fans may not be looking for religion. I realize that some believers might get uptight about the theology. If it offends you in either way, you seriously need to relax. Further, this part of the story is predictable, but I do not think that faith is supposed to be suspenseful. For me, I was touched by this element.
Enjoy this. It is probably my favorite download so far.
I liked Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons; this work was not nearly as good.
One of the things I liked about the other series is the assortment of trivia that permeates the story. I didn?t find the factoids about cryptology or the NSA conspiracy theories as compelling. This, however, is a minor flaw.
The big problem with this book is that I found it sooooooo predictable. Within the first 2-3 hours of the book, I had figured out the mastermind/villain twist. Much worse was the ending, where the characters agonized over a code for 15 minutes that I had mostly deciphered upon hearing. It?s pretty unsatisfying to be that much smarter than the NSA cryptologists.
If you are a Dan Brown fan, it is worth a listen. I finished the book, which is much better than I can say for a few books that I have downloaded. On the other hand, I have listened to much better.
I got this book because I was intrigued by the whole Poe connection. In spite of the pitch and some very bald self-explication at the end of the book, the Poe boy is not a very important figure in the novel. Further, young Poe isn't made into a very fascinating of a character.
While I'm dogging, just let me add that this isn't very thrilling for a thriller. Not that any murder is pardonable, but I certainly can think of less pardonable ways to perpetrate it. Thinking of Poe, I was looking for something that would aspire for some real creepiness. The characters, however, seemed more like Austen characters. shorn of their wit, meandering through a
So let me tell you what it is... a nice period piece. The writing really did seem to capture the spirit of the times. The story was involving. It wasn't too complex, but that's OK for a book that is heard instead of read. Once I started it, I certainly wanted to finish it, but I wasn't compelled.
Get the book, enjoy the book, but don't expect Poe.
Don't waste your credit or money. The big plot twist is so obvious that it will leave you completely underwhelmed. So the story wasn't really worth it. I didn't feel that I came to understand the medieval times, so the history wasn't worth it for me.
Believe me. I do not make the predictable charge lightly. If you read a Patterson book and are looking for something really unique, it's your fault. However, if the book offers no surprises, that's his.
This one was all his.
Plus, this may be prudish, but I felt it was needlessly obscene. People walk in on others having sex three times (different position each time). If that turns you on, listen on, but I was looking for exciting historical fiction, and this was not it.
Grisham meanders a lot in this book. Get ready for a lot of detours here. They aren't red herrings; they aren't local color; they're just what Grisham seemed to be thinking about on the day of writing.
I liked the book. It was filled with a lot of Grisham stock characters. (Look, Elroy! It's another rumpled drunk Southern lawyer.) Then again reading (listening to) Grisham and complaining about conventionality is like going to McDonald's and complaining about Big Macs.
If you are looking at getting the book, you will probably enjoy it, but I might suggest gettting the abridged version. Believe me there's a lot to skip.
This book is a fun listen. The author does a good job of mixing historical and symbological knickknacks and theories with a standard mystery format. My favorite part was trying to sort out what part of the history was fiction and what was real.
Now the story is not that creative and the narrator's many affected accents are certainly mockable. The prose is truly cliche. To criticize the artistry of it all is, frankly, not understanding the genre. I had been through many of these twists and turns before, but I was still entertained by them.
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