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.
I enjoy the whimsical series about career criminal Dortmunder and his doing right by attempting wrongdoing. This is one of the most amusing of his capers, and his ability to escape from tight spots is seriously challenged. I found the narrator pleasant to listen to.
I like Camilleri's mysteries about Inspector Montalbano but this is a fun read, it is below average for this series. Who the villain is isn't too hard to figure out, although his precise motivation remains hidden for a long time. Grover Gardner performs his usual high quality narration.
This is the first of Berenson's novels I've read. If you like the sort of thrillers in which the only suspense is how the (super)hero will defeat his adversaries, then you probably will enjoy Night Ranger. I prefer stories with mystery in addition to adventure in which the identity of the villain and other adversaries isn't known. It was clear from the outset that Wells would somehow succeed; it is only a question of how. In this case, the high-tech superiority of the USA combines with Wells's cleverness and fighting skills to overwhelm relatively primitive, youthful Somalian militia. It is sort of believable but not at all surprising. The narrator George Guidall is one of my favorites.
I like Hager as a science writer. I had not known much about the Haber-Bosch process or its developers. It illustrates that, as usual, scientific and technological progress is a double-edged sword with potential for both good and evil. Of the two main characters, I found Bosch the engineer/businessman to be the more admirable, however brilliant a chemist Haber may have been. The narration is good, except that certain scientific or German words are completely mispronounced.
I liked the concept of the book. Chapters alternate between the PoV of the German boy and the French, blind girl, whose destinies ultimately intersect. Events were not presented chronologically but were also not simply a flashback or two, so it was sometimes hard to follow. After a certain point, the story kind of dragged. I have the feeling that the emotional impact of the book would have been greater if it were shorter. Nevertheless, the painful experience of growing up during the late 30's and 40's comes through clearly. The prose is very good; descriptions are vivid and lifelike. I could have done without the fantasies and dream sequences.
The narrator did a very good job. I wonder whether I would have finished without it.
I am far from being a YA, but I was sucked in by all the hype about this book even being a pleasurable read for adults. I have mixed feelings about it. Some of the prose is very good, and some of the scenes and dialog are funny. However, I felt the plot was by design manipulative of the reader's emotions, so much so that it was often hard to take seriously. Do teenagers today really talk like these protagonists? The plot was so predictable. It reminded me of the hugely successful "Love Story", a 1970 novel and movie by Erich Segal, from which my title was taken. When I read that book, I thought that it was a parody of romance novels, and, in fact, I recalled reading that some thought that was Segal's original intent. (Searching the internet, I find no evidence of that. Trick of memory?) I'm sure that John Green did not intend this to be satirical, but it was so overdone....
Had it not been for Rudd's excellent narration, I probably would not have finished it.
This is the second attempt at reading Green, the first being "An Abundance of Katherines." This one is better, but I doubt I'll try any others.
I enjoy the recurring characters, and this followed the usual pattern of earlier books in the series. I like Andy Carpenter's sense of humor, but I'm sure it is not for everybody. This is a better mystery than most, but I found the ending contrived. Still, it was a fun read (listen).
You will either like these corny mysteries and characters or you won't. I do, and I found this to be one of the funniest in the series. Richard Ferrone does an excellent job of giving voices and accents to the different main characters.
Molly Antopol is a wonderful first-time author with a clarity of expression and insight into human behavior that is astonishing. Time and again I was surprised by the unusual degree of self-awareness shown by her characters. This collection of stories mostly take place between about 1943-1953, long before she was born. Their locale varies from San Francisco to Jerusalem to Belarus. Although her themes surround WWII and its aftermath, especially for Jews, the stories encompass universal issues. The title refers obliquely to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, whose activities in the late 1940's resulted in the creation of Hollywood blacklists of professionals in the movie industry and the jailing of 10 men. One of her stories deals directly with the personal consequences of this tragedy.
Jennifer van Dyck's reading is good, but she makes no attempt to speak in character or to use different voices. It took me a little while to get used to men speaking in a female voice, and her range of emotion is limited. The strength of the writing comes through anyway. For those of you expecting more from a narrator, I encourage you to read the book instead since the narration adds little.
Finishing the book, I wanted to know more about this author. She wrote an interesting commentary on her namesake village, Antopol, in the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog (Jan. 29, 2014). There are interviews with her in "The Times of Israel" (Feb. 15, 2014) and The Rumpus (Feb. 17, 2014). She divides her time between San Francisco and Israel, when she isn't traveling elsewhere. I look forward to reading her first full-length novel.
This is an amusing story, but satire is difficult medium to sustain for the length of a novel. The protagonist, Allan Karlsson, is a lot like Forrest Gump, with similar attributes other than being mentally retarded, bumbling into situations in which he is regarded as brilliant. The style is also similar inasmuch as it is episodic. The author alternates between the present time (2005) and earlier periods of Allan's life, and it works for a while but also gets a bit stale. One difference from Gump is Allan's capacity to drink unlimited quantities of vodka and other forms of alcohol, but that is in character with his being Swedish, I suppose. In order to appreciate this book, you need to approach it like a cartoon or comic book, totally unrealistic machinations and unbelievable coincidences. I enjoyed many of the characters but after a while, I was ready for the book to end, and it took longer to get there than I expected.
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