When it's all said and done, Tana French's weakest novel - whichever one that turns out to be - will still be a lot better than just about any other writer's novels. In her first three books, she set such a high standard that although Broken Harbour is excellent, the plot has a problematic weakness.
It's nearly impossible to discuss this weakness without spoiling the story, so I won't. The weakness involves the downfall of a character, who has always been well able to handle life, but slides into utter ruin after a rough patch. French unsuccessfully attempts to provide a foundation for such a slide, but it's thin and in my mind, doesn't hold up well. The same scenario is played out in nearly every community every day, but without such disastrous results.
Nearly every other element of the book, however, is extremely well done. French excels at writing about less-than-perfect human beings dealing with very human problems, with the usual results. That she has done it so well in the past, and does it here with other characters, makes it even more puzzling that the cause-and-effect of the main plot doesn't seem to add up well. Others, in other reviews, don't seem to be bothered by it, but I work in an area that deals with families and their dysfunction, so maybe that's why it doesn't work as well for me. I see these things every day, and almost never does a rough patch in life lead where this one leads without an underlying issue such as alcoholism or drug addiction.
I still highly recommend the book, and if you're new to the series, I suggest you start with the first novel and work your way through them in order. Although the novels are connected, each is constructed to stand alone, so it won't cause a lot of confusion if you don't. French is a masterful writer, who unwinds her stories in a manner that makes the reader feel as if layers of character's lives are being peeled back, revealing ever more fascinating details as the character becomes more and more interesting and understandable. Like her other novels, this is a don't-miss read!
Mark Greaney is not Tom Clancy, and Clancy wasn't Greaney, either. If you picked up this book expecting the writing and the storytelling to be exactly the way Clancy would have done it, you aren't being realistic. No two people will write the same story the same way, and Mr. Clancy is gone.
This review is probably colored by the fact that I am a huge Greaney fan, and also by the fact that I was growing weary of Clancy's writing. I just finished Clancy's "The Bear and the Dragon" and it was over 40 hours long. I had to MAKE myself finish it. Clancy's writing had become ridiculously tedious and preachy.
Clancy fleshed out his characters a little more fully than Greaney tends to, and I hope Greaney will move in that direction in future titles. There's a reason John Clark, et al. are such beloved characters, and it's because Clancy took the time to delve into their souls.
This book was a fast-paced, excellent read, and I can't wait for the next one!
Let me say this up front: my political leanings are definitely liberal. I don't, however, mind a good intelligent discussion with those who disagree with me, as long as it's not the same old conservative platitudes. (I don't have much patience with liberal platitudes, either.) He's as entitled to his opinion as I am to mine, and actually I'd love it if he'd bring up some points I may not have considered before, and prompt me to reconsider my views. Unfortunately it's same-old, same-old, and it's tedious as hell.
The story is excellent. I don't have a problem with the narrator. What I have a problem with is the same shallow conservative-isms being repeated, ad nauseum, throughout the book. Clancy was pretty bad about this in Rainbow Six, and I think it's worse in this book. It's an insult to the reader's intelligence; it's as if Clancy thinks we need to hear the same concept several times before we can get it through our thick heads. That's too bad, because otherwise his stories are good, they move well, and the characters are people who readers care about. I have enjoyed following them throughout their lives and careers, but the author's knee-jerk conservative preaching is really getting in the way.
Unfortunately, Mr. Clancy is gone now. I certainly hope whoever takes over the series (PLEASE let it be Mark Greaney!) will not repeat Clancy's mistakes.
If you're considering buying the book and you're familiar with the Jack Ryan and John Clark characters, this one will satisfy as much as the others have. It's a good story, but one wonders if the editor was downright intimidated by the author. Some judicious editing could have left the story intact, the author's views stated, and the reader with a more enjoyable ride.
This was an extremely enjoyable story. If you love Clancy's books, the characters John Clark, Ding Chavez and their family almost become your own family. The novelty of the ending made it especially satisfying.
He's just an excellent narrator, period.
No way. That's my main beef with Clancy - the man could belabor a point, and he did plenty of that in this book. At nearly 36 hours long, listening all in one sitting isn't really even a consideration. I love his books but often wonder what happened to his editor. The repeated explanations of the beliefs and philosophies of the environmentalists became really tedious. Clancy doesn't hesitate to allow his political leanings show, and sometimes that turns into preaching, which eventually becomes a weakness in his storytelling.
I always like books that aren't predictable, and that's one of Clancy's strengths. This book was no exception.
All of Greaney's books are compelling reads - this one certainly was no exception. The characters are well-developed, the story moves at a fast pace, but not so fast that it's difficult to figure out where we are, what's happening, or who's talking. Greaney is extremely knowledgeable about his subject, and supplies enough details to keep it interesting but not enough to get tedious. They're all very, very good books and I always put the next release on my calendar as soon as a publication date is announced.
I'd say it was the very first altercation between the protagonist and the team hired to take him out. It includes a rooftop chase in a snowstorm, and it had me on the edge of my seat!
Snyder has done all of the Gray Man books, and his performance is always excellent.
This isn't a laugh or cry book - none of them are. My review title says it all - this series is addicting and this is a very satisfying fix.
I NEVER read books twice, but I'm going to go back and re-read this series. I've loved every minute of it!
(Mark: Court needs a girlfriend. For Pete's sake, give the guy a break!)
What can I say? I appreciate having stories that don't insult my intelligence or make me listen to a bunch of stilted, cliched dialogue. Couldn't put it down!
and the accents used by this narrator are extremely irritating and insulting. The narrator obviously didn't bother to do any research. We don't have Southern accents - except for the few of us who actually moved here from a Southern state. More importantly, the narrator's inflections make it obvious she believes we're illiterate hicks. She's the one who needs educating. It would have been fun to enjoy a story based in Kansas, but that fun was ruined by the ignorant narration.
I felt this book lost momentum at the end, but other than that I enjoyed it. I'm impressed with the author's ability to create fully-fleshed-out characters; she does a better job of it than certain other authors who are selling a lot more books. Still, while the ending wasn't bad or disappointing, it didn't seem to have the same quality of development as the rest of the book. It just sort of . . . ended, but it would have been far more satisfying had it been a bit more dramatic. After all, there's quite a bit of drama in this book. It's a good read and I recommend it, but a more compelling ending would have made it a much better book.
I went to Silva's website and found the list that showed the order in which his books were written, and that's the order in which I've read them. Silva is a good writer, and initially, the series was not only entertaining, but almost addictive. At this point, I'm getting bored. I don't know if he does it intentially, but Silva's books have become formulaic and almost predictable. Maybe if I had allowed more time to pass between books, they wouldn't have worn so thin. I wasn't interested enough to finish this one, and I probably won't buy another for a year or two. It's hard to decide how many stars to give it, and in some ways it deserves 5; and in other ways, only 3.
Even though this novel was written more than 40 years ago, it's lost little of its freshness or relevance. It has pay phones instead of cell phones, and none of the modern forensics we're used to reading about, but the story is very well written. Characters are not the best looking, most brilliant, most clever, etc. that are standard fare for this genre; they're human beings with strengths and flaws, just like the real thing, and that's what makes it so readable and so enjoyable. If you're weary of formulaic, predictable detective novels, you'll enjoy this one. I hope the rest in the series are this good.
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