Phoenix, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is the 11th in the series. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!
No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)
Frankly, this is not the kind of book that I would ever have chosen. However, thanks to several Audible.com promotion and marketing strategies, in the past 5 years I've read quite a number of books in genres that I've never delved into in my more than half a century of reading - my favorite past-time since the age of 2. I was bored late one night and had gone through my very substantial monthly audiobook budget when I stumbled upon this free offering from Audible. Nothing in the synopsis lured me - only the fact that the book was FREE. Even then, it took me a while to actually start reading the book. I SO LOVED IT!!! It is well written, exciting, and intelligent. Main character, Courtland Gentry, is well-developed, admirable, strong, ruthless, brilliant at his craft, all while being sympathetic and likable. I didn't want the story to end. I am now in the middle of my second book in the "Gray Man" series, "Dead Eye". It is just too bad for several friends of mine that we are just 10 days away from Christmas. Several will not be getting gifts this year as I plan to treat myself to my "guilty pleasure" by purchasing the rest of this series. After all, I have been nice, not naughty, all year!!! I know my holiday will be great, all curled up as the "Gray Man" continues in his "Kill or Be Killed" saga as the greatest Black Ops agent ever!!! Happy Holidays To All & To All A Goodnight!!! 🎁🎉🎄🎍🎅.
I've always been a solid Ann Rule, buying every true crime book that she's written over the past 30 years. In print, Rule's books were compelling, well-researched, and hard to put down. However, this was BEFORE the general public became as savvy as this author in police procedure, forensics, and crime solving, thanks to the plethora of true crime and forensic science shows which "rule" today's television programming. Still, I purchased Ann Rule's Audible.com collections in spite of owning all of her main stories in hard copy. After listening to 5 or 6 of these compilations, I found that the longer "anchor" books are much better in the abridged versions because, rather than edit these stories for relevancy in the new millennium, Rule chose to retain information that was new and cutting edge in the 1980s but is now just repetitive and unnecessary. However, if you are new to Ann Rule, you will likely find her as entertaining as I did decades ago.
NOTE: I really wish Audible and Amazon would cease referring to Rule as a "former Seattle police woman" when the truth is that she was unable to pass the required eye test for the force. This misleading bit of info makes a reader think that a Rule gained some insider training as a policed officer and internal support as a member of the "the thin blue line". In actuality, she was just a good researcher and crime reporter during her prime which has long since ended as evidenced by these rehashed and out-dated entries in her "true crime files".
I bought this book because I had been blown away earlier this year by "Dust and Shadow" by the same author. But this book is tedious with flowery language that seems at odds with the subject matter. It took HOURS of back-stories using way too many prose-like sentences for the action to really get started. Plus the characters are just plain unlikeable, a flaw that comes from poor character development. Irish people come off as corrupt, criminal, lazy, and sexually exploitive of young unfortunate Irish children. The main thing that is so crappy about the writing is Faye's systemic use of the Irish slang term "kinchin" (young street urchins) throughout the book. Not once that I noticed did she ever use the word "children". All kinchin are children but all children are not kinchin so I don't get it. All the women are prostitutes or wannabe whores. It also appears that the same is true of all the Irish children, girls AND boys. Why?
Also I don't appreciate the cavalier way the author added in the interaction between the Irish and free blacks, while never talking about the other NYC ethnic groups - like Italians and Jews especially - who considered the huge influx of Irish famine refugees as America's "new niggers". As a black person, I felt as if the only reason the author threw in a few scenes with blacks was so the Irish characters could able to call the blacks "niggers" for absolutely no valid reason! At that time in history, the Irish were lowest in this country's pecking order - even blacks looked down on the Irish as poor white trash! I'm not at all sensitive to actual racism in literature but Faye seemed to have lost her way and figured that some unnecessary, poorly developed name-calling might add some spice to a faltering story line. She even tried to LYNCH the only black man in the book!! A well-spoken skilled working man who had done nothing wrong, as if the story took place in Mississippi. The black man wasn't even guilty of the age-old KKK allegation of the "reckless eyeballin'" of a white woman! Was that a secret fantasy of Lyndsay Faye???? This book is awful on so many levels. What a disappointment!!
I don't like to cook - that's why I have time to read as many books as I do. I don't know what this fraction of fiction fluff is trying to do but I don't want recipes in the middle of a murder mystery! This book reminds me of cotton candy - inviting sugary sweetness that disappears at the first bite! I only got through about 30 minutes before I felt cavities forming in my molars. If it wasn't so bogged down in recipes, this might have been a good book. As it stands now, it is "Hell's Kitchen" - WITHOUT the sexy Chef Ramsay.
This is singularly the worse book I've listened to EVER! I had to skip over the prologue read by Simon Prebble - one of Audible's best narrators - because I couldn't figure out what he was saying. Then it just got worse! Narrator Katherine Kellgren really tried to make sense of this over-blown work, to no avail. No wonder this was Henry James' last work - his publisher probably killed him for submitting this mess! Or he passed out from the weight of way to many flowery unnecessary words. I'd seen the movie of the book before yet I still couldn't figure out what the story was about here. I only bought it because it was one of those Audible $4.95 pop-up offers. I didn't see the written reviews, only the star-accumulated rating of 3.5 - acceptable to me for a sale item. However, after torturing myself trying to listen to the first chapter, I went back online to read the WRITTEN reviews. 3 of the 4 were totally negative - with only 1 star each - and the reviewers urged others not to bother in the review subject line. No wonder Audible.com is trying to palm this mess on us at 75% off the original price. I'm at a loss as to how this book got such a high (and misleading) overall high star rating. Is Audible factoring in the Amazon.com reviews of its hard copy formats (hardback, paperback, ebook, Kindle, etc.)? If so, that's really unfair since audiobooks rely heavily on the quality, talent and skills of the narrator.
I've purchased almost 2,000 audiobooks in the past 5 years from various vendors - 300 thus far in 2013, 99% of the total from Audible.com alone. In my lifetime, I've read over 35,000 books in various formats. But this book stands out as the worse I've ever had the misfortune to "read". Henry James was a great writer for his time and several of his works are true classics. However, this is not the first of his books that I've found to be unreadable. I think his works just don't lend themselves well to audio format. His books should be first editions, bound in Moroccan leather, and gifted to people who don't care about the content - only the resale value in case of a major worldwide economic recession! 💵💣💸😟.
Stay far away from this "toxic" mess. Readers without an up-to-date high level HazMat cleanup certification need not apply!
I actually enjoyed this book after a spate of recent true crime books which were absolutely awful. Even veteran crime writer Ann Rule has lost her "mojo" after decades of dominating this genre. In this book you get good writing, research and narration - the must-have "triple crown" in audiobooks. Well worth the price of admission.
Fans of Alison Weir knows that her historical nonfiction works are better than Cliff Notes. She checks, double-checks, and triple-checks her facts. This work is probably a winner in hard copy. However, the narrator totally ruined this for me. For some reason she uses all of these mostly male voices to emphasize at least one word or phrase in every single sentence. Sometimes there's 4 to 5 of these "dramatic flairs" in just one sentence. On top of not sounding very good in a male voice, she uses all sorts of accents , from British to Italian to Spanish - but, with the archaic prose of that era, she sounds like Hitler - punching each word out like people who send text messages in capital letters. This book should have been narrated by a man since most of the source material quoted is from male chroniclers. Narrators Charleton Griffin or Simon Vance or John Lee could have pulled this off successfully. All Maggie Mash did was "MAKE A MASH" from an otherwise great book. Her narration made it hard to follow the story line because her delivery is so discordant. Mash should have just read the book in her own voice which is pleasant and comprehensible. The book is a factual historical account, not a Shakespearian play! I had to stop listening after Part 1 of 3.
After being an Ane Rule fan for 30 years, I'm have repeatedly been dissatisfied by her recent "True Crime Files" collections. This book, like most in her 18 or 19 book series, is nothing more than a bunch of regurgitated, rehashed, uninteresting crimes from the 1960s and 1970s. All usually about low self-esteem women with no sense at all. WHO CARES?!? There are a kazillion felony crimes perpetrated in the past 20 years that Rule could use her previous outstanding research and insight (Scott Peterson, Sandra Smith, even OJ Simpson). Now all she's doing is proselytizing and preaching to a generation like us who is as savvy as she is about criminals. Before the advent of forensic shows on television, Anne Rule had this genre sewed up tight. But now, all of us are "armchair" Drs. Michael Badens and Henry Lees, blood splatter experts, document examiners, pathologists, and FBI phychological profilers. Rule claims in her bios to have been a former police officer. Yet my research shows that she couldn't even pass the eye test! EX-SQUEEZE ME?! My daughter is a cop with 10 years on the job and she never would have been accepted into the grueling 20 week training in police academy if she couldn't SEE! How could any rookie be issued a firearm with bad vision? Yet we've bought into her fake background for decades. She also claimed to have hung around the jail during summer breaks. Sounds like a "Badge Bunny" to me (a female who is attracted to male police officers, like gold-diggers after Lil Wayne or Justin Timberlake with 1% of the "baby mama payoff!). Since Ann Rule looks like an Oompah Loomp in drag , it's easy to see that she had to find some other avenue to insinuate herself into crime fighting. I have to give her props for choosing crime writing instead - she was the best in the game for a very long time. But these awful compilations are ruining her heretofore unprecedented hold in this genre. I've tried several of these collections but had to stop because I couldn't take her philosophying and her constant inserting herself in the stories like Ophra Winfrey does (You got lupus, suddenly Ophrah's got lupus; You were molested as a child, Oprah reveals thar she was molested also; You get trampled by a herd do buffalo.....I think you get my drift....) Rule is now in her late 70s and the quality of her recent mid-20th century "crime stories" being released in the 21st century shows how much out of touch she is with the real world. I keep buying Rule's books hoping that she will release one with her usual great writing and that it is an account of a crime which happened sooner than a half century ago. But, so far I've been disappointed repeatedly.
This is a well-researched, enlightening and entertaining account of the life of the 22nd (AND 24th) President. But it is horrible indictment on this country's political machinations and the unequal rights for women in the late 19th century. The fact that President Cleveland fathered a child out of wedlock is not nearly as shocking as his conduct after the fact. He tried to destroy the lives of a respected widow and the child of his body. His treatment and continued abuse he heaped on his "baby mama" was unconscionable even by our current and less stringent standards. It's sad to see that, at any time in the history of this nation, that a man guilty of rape, kidnapping, fraud, slander, liable, and lies could be elected to the highest office in the land. Here, Grover Cleveland is exposed as the sociopath that he was. Not only did he rape a woman before he won the White House, he married his 21 year-old ward when he was 48. The disturbing thing about the latter offense is that Cleveland had bounced the beautiful baby girl of his BFF on his sloppy fat knees and later lusted for her until she barely reached the age of consent. In the meantime, the politicians and this country's citizens brushed the rape under rug, labeling it "a consensual act perpetrated while a young man was sowing wild oats" (Grover was almost 40 years old at the time of the assault, a Sheriff, and respected lawyer - hardly a testosterone-fueled teenage). Nor did any find it inappropriate for a world leader to marry a young woman over whom he'd excercised a great deal of power and control since the day she wa born. His "courtship" began with extravagant gifts as soon as the girl was born and continued when he became her ward at age 11. (Ewww! Just thinking about it made me throw up in my mouth!!! 👎😧 He even held his wedding to his "PYT" (pretty young thing) in the White House!!! Fast forward 100 years or so when President William Clinton was damn near run out of that same venerable building over an admittedly consenting, albeit unattractive, female intern and a Havana cigar 😎. I don't get it. But YOU should get this book! It is highly informative and very entertaining considering the subject matter - The President if a the United States - is probably the most boring thing an author can choose. Unless it's a fictional character like Martin Sheen's role in "West Wing", most of our presidents are rather forgettable unless they got assassinated in office or were involved in a major sex scandal.
NOTE: The only thing that prevented me from giving this book 5-stars is after listening to well written book for 10 hours, it suddenly goes awry with an overly long uninteresting court case which seems to be "gavel to gavel" in boring testimony).
First, let me state that this is a book "best served abridged"! After sloshing through the first 2 parts, I gave up and discovered everything about this man in Wikipedia. Andrew Carnegie was part of history but not a very interesting one. He got stuck on one theme and just stayed there, refusing or unable to really grasp the world around him. He didn't marry or really date until his mother died when he was 50. He hated his father for being weak. Carnegie reminded me of a highly functional idiot savant whose "savant" was knowing how to make something out of nothing. I'm not mad at him for that. What is disturbing is that this man was a vocal abolitionist who hated slavery. Yet he basically enslaved his own people in his iron and steel mills. His drive came, not from an outstanding work ethic, but from being 5 feet tall - he decided at some point he could overcome his short stature by standing on his wallet! By the time he died, he could have been a power forward in the NBA!! Again, I ain't mad at him for conning over here from Scotland and becoming a stupid rich robber baron. What bothers me is that he was aware of the devastation that his mills did in Pennsylvania, yet his idea of "giving his money away to the less fortunate" was building libraries, concert halls, and universities. Tell me how that helped the disenfranchised whom worked 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week, with not breaks? Who had time to read a book or go to a symphony? Yet he fought down striking workers who only wanted to allowed to work a regular 8-hour day in grueling, hot, unsafe conditions. He felt that he had some kind of entitlement as he raped the country who gave him a chance. Carnegie's mills only hired African-Americans as strike breakers and our people had been here about 200 years before his family! I don't get this guy at all. At least Cornelius Vanderbilt and the rest of that era's industrialists made no excuses for the bad they did nor did they try to act like they were humanitarians. I can't give this book 1-star because it does have its moments. But save your money and look "Shorty" up in Wikipedia. Way too long with no skeletons in the closet.
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