This was an enjoyable mystery, although it tends to wander a bit and drones on too long about the plight of the Ojibwe tribe and their exploitation by whites, all of which is probably true but for the most part, tangential to the plot. On the other hand, his descriptions of the wilds of Minnesota and its history add to the drama. I understood that this was the first of a series with Cork O'Connor as the protagonist, so however dire his situation appeared to be at any point, I knew somehow he would survive. I liked that he and his wife were multidimensional, having both great strengths and evident weaknesses. Many of their adversaries, however, are more one-dimensional, purely cunning and evil, without any sign of conscience. The female leads are both very beautiful, and sex is always passionate, thrilling, and uncomplicated. The plot is intricate, but fairly predictable, and the ending was, for me, typical of the genre, not at all unexpected. I was rather surprised to learn that Iron Lake won the 1999 Anthony Award for best first novel. The quality of the prose does not compare to that of Louise Penny or Michael Connelly. However, from other reviews, I infer that the writing becomes stronger with time, and note that subsequent books in this series won Anthony Awards for best novel of the year in 2005 & 2006. His latest, Trickster's Point, the twelfth in the series, is currently #12 on the NY Times hardcover best sellers list. So I'd be willing to give a later book in the series a try sometime, but am in no rush to do so. David Chandler was an excellent narrator; I enjoyed listening to him.
This is the third in the series of 9 (through 2013.) These are like police procedurals, so the plot develops slowly. I enjoy the humor and the characters, but no doubt, some will find it slow. They are not action thrillers, but they are not as plodding as the Kurt Wallander series, for example. Walt Longmire is a complicated man, and his bond with Henry Standing Bear and relationship to his deputy Victoria Moretti are a continuing source of amazement. Walt has a penchant for noticing seemingly minor but revealing details. Invariably, I learn more about various subcultures and groups from these stories.
I gather that Longmire is now a TV series on A&E, going into its second season, but I haven't seen any of those episodes.
The author obviously did a lot of research about the gangster era in the Midwest in the 1930's, and cleverly weaves P.I. Nate Heller into a succession of actual characters and historical events. The gangsters in the story, Frank Nitti, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, the Barker brothers, Alvin Karpis, really existed and did the things related, as well as the federal agents Cowley & Purvis. Other characters, the Lady in Red, Anna Sage, and Dillinger's girl Polly Hamilton, were certainly at the Biograph Theatre shootout. Other colorful characters are Nate's friends, prizefighter Barney Ross and stripper Sally Rand. The author works Nate into this milieu in a very natural way. Nate espouses a theory about the demise of John Dillinger that has been put forth by author Jay Robert Nash, "The Dillinger Dossier," which is further elaborated on in the epilogue.
The narration by Dan Jay Miller was very good but not exceptional. I felt his attempts to portray female voices were not always appropriate, especially that of Sally Rand.
Regardless of the history, it is very well-written and engaging, offering a different type of mystery. I look forward to reading others in the series.
Having grown up in the rural midwest and graduated high school the same year as Homer Hickam, I couldn't help but personally relate to this story. Much of it seemed so familiar: the turbulent post-Sputnik years; the inspirational high school science teacher; the satisfaction of self-taught learning; the tensions within families; the dreams and insecurities of adolescence; the beginning of the Cold War.... It's all here together with the warmth of a band of boys growing together. This is not just an autobiography for young adults. The reading by Tom Stechschulte, in an accent that is true to West Virginia hills, truly enhanced the experience. I gather that the memoir was made into a movie entitled October Sky, but I'm sure it could not possibly capture the complexity of the book.
This is my first in the Kincaid/James series, homicide detectives from Scotland Yard. I liked the writing, and the narration by Michael Deehy (aka Gerard Doyle) is exceptionally good, both male and female. While I enjoyed the book, I found it slow and tedious at times. Further, the conclusion, while pulling together various characters and unresolved questions, also draws a rabbit out of the hat. I would read another only if both the narrator and the story were highly rated by her fans. BTW, this book is the second in the series which has reached 15 to date.
What do you call a book about detectives where you know the thief and the murderer essentially from the outset? The only element of mystery might be motive, but that's not hard to figure out. It's kind of a character study of Abe, his partner Bill Hanrahan, and a wide swath of Chicago demographics, including blacks, hispanic gangs, working class Jews, crazy rabbis, anti-Semitic gentiles. Having lived in and around Chicago for about 6 years, I just loved these descriptions, but I can imagine that others might find the book without suspense or a bit too stylized. The often corny humor and old jokes are right on, helping people get through each day. Abe addresses Catholic Bill as "Father," and Bill addresses Jewish Abe as "Rabbi." With very different cultural histories, they always have each other's back.
The reading by Colacci enhances the pleasure of the writing. I will certainly read others in this series, but I fear he spoiled me for any other narrator.
This is the third of the series that I have read and the least engaging thus far. The story is dragged out to indulge Montalbano's sexual appetite in addition to his familiar palette, his bureaucratic intrigues, and comical neuroses about aging, surrounded by passing references to the case at hand. Worse, it was easy to determine the villain and the motive before I was half way through. Montalbano, whose abilities to see beneath the surface are legendary, is incapable of seeing beyond the end of his nose in this book. This episode in the series is much over-rated.
Grover Gardner was an entertaining narrator, as usual.
These Inspector Montalbano mysteries are what I call travel quality; short enough to finish on a long ride or while waiting in an airport; engaging characters with a story that does not require intense concentration. It was sometimes LOL funny; I imagine it is even more entertaining in Italian. My biggest disappointment was with the ending. Past a certain point, it was out of character for Montalbano.
I enjoy listening to Grover Gardner's narration-good accents, clear enunciation, distinct characterizations.
This is the 10th in a series of 20 mysteries that, looking at reader reviews elsewhere, vary quite a bit in quality. This is only my third but is considered one of the best, which is why took advantage of a sale to buy it. To date, it appears that only the first 15 have been translated into English. The series has been made into a very popular Italian TV show. Separately, it has been scripted and performed in English, now in its second season on BBC Four, I think.
Check out the wikipedia article about the author. Now 87, he published the first of this popular series when he was 69. He's no fool.
I felt the characters thinly drawn, quite one-dimensional except for the outfitter Smoke. Joe seems more naive than usual and cannot resist putting his foot in his mouth at every opportunity. While he is devoted to his family, he can't find a time or a way to call his wife for extended periods. Once again, when his family is threatened, Joe's mysterious friend Nate Romanowski comes to their rescue. You know from the outset who the bad guys are, and it isn't hard to figure out how they got to his colleague Will Jensen. The circumstances surrounding his suicide, and the ultimate explanation of how it was done simply wasn't credible. The mysterious, beautiful Stella is about as real as a runway model and just not believable. In sum, Box is a good writer, but the plot was weak.
David Chandler's narration was excellent, as usual.
OK, so Nate Romanowski is not the adult version of the child detective, and this is once again more of an adventure than a mystery! Nate is somewhat like a comic book superhero, but I liked the story nevertheless. The underlying motive for his adversary isn't revealed until rather late in the book, and the involvement of Joe Pickett and his family is somewhat peripheral and secondary. The narration was great, as usual, and the descriptions of the scenery and wildlife in Wyoming and nearby states are wonderful, as always. A good story.
Like many one- and two-star print reviewers on amazon or goodreads, I never could get into reading McCarthy because of his minimalist punctuation and his polysyndetic syntax, producing seemingly never-ending sentences. I don't know whether McCarthy intended for it to seem biblical, but I couldn't stand reading it. On the other hand, Frank Muller's fabulous narration is a pleasure to the ear. His rendition of dialect and Spanish is amazing, giving each character has a distinct voice. To succeed, he must also be like an editor who parses the writing to give it the correct pace and voice, supplying all the missing commas and quotation marks. Six stars all around.
The writing is classic prose, sure and profound, and the story addresses the deepest emotions of love and death. I recognize the inherent nostalgia for a simpler time and place. There are some conceits that are a little hard to describe without spoiling the story, so I won't go into detail. One is Dueña Alfonsa's self-assured, lengthy monologue about her life and the history of Mexico, which strikes me as out of place in context. Another is John Grady's conversation with the judge at his home, which seems out of character. His self-expressed motivation rings hollow--as the judge suggests, only Jesus himself could be that ethical.
The story balances coming-of-age romanticism and social Darwinism, all rolled up into a coherent whole. To me, the conclusion is fitting and realistic, but I have not yet read the rest of the trilogy.
The book is a fine piece of literature that could never be faithfully transformed into a movie. In 2000, Billy Bob Thornton directed Matt Damon and Penélope Cruz in the lead roles and, by most accounts, failed. If they did not succeed, I doubt even the Coen brothers could.
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