Disappointing. I like Baldacci, but not this one. Characters are flat and laughable--the villain revels in being gruesome, and the hero pulls off superhuman feats. No intricate plot either - it has only one direction to go: this uber evil man has to be killed. In each skirmish the outcome is predictable (bad guys will win this one, and this one, now good guys prevail). The narration didn't bother me as it did others, though his accents were inconsistent at times. Hope DB's next one is better.
Maybe - I liked Richard North Patterson's earlier books, but this was an unfortunate departure into romance and a preachy, ham-handed evocation of the sixties.
Would definitely listen to Julia Whelan perform another book.
Characters were cardboard and either admirable or despicable--absolutely without subtlety. And much about these people was not shown or developed but lengthily described and explained. The period setting was shaky and the plot was completely predictable. There were a couple little anachronisms that should have been caught in editing, The political point of view, which I happen to agree with, was delivered with bludgeoning preachiness. Perfunctory, but unconvincing sex scenes. Awful. Much of it read like a bad historical romance. I could not believe it was the same writer I previously enjoyed.
Good variation of voices (though her Bobby Kennedy bits were rough, but that's not a big part of the book)
Barely. Some bits describing the sixties were almost okay...
Male narrator uses grating falsetto for women's voices. I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks and good narrators of either gender can make the various voices work well, without forcing it. But this guy was awful and spoiled the book for me. The rest of his performance was amateurish also, with some stilted phrasing and a clunky reading style. He was okay only when doing dialogue for male characters. Too bad.
I have read and enjoyed most of Stephen White's Alan Gregory books, and I have enjoyed Dick Hill as the narrator of many other books...But I think Hill is a bad choice for these books where he delivers the voice of Alan Gregory. This series has a lot of ruminations by the protagonist. In Dick Hill's performance these thoughts are excruciating - breathy, overly dramatic and endless. Another character, Sam Purdy, gives a long talk about a recent crime and trial also which is tedious and annoying in this narration. The female characters sound nasal and whining. I recommend reading these books in print. Sadly - they should be great audiobooks.
As long as you are willing to completely relax your standards of plausibility (and don't compare too closely to earlier books of Baldacci) this book is entertaining. Rather like a preposterous summer movie thriller. Cartoonish characters, ridiculous circumstances, but it moves right along.
This story lacks the light touch and comic banter that make later Susan Elizabeth Phillips books enjoyable. Some of the same elements are there--a spunky heroine, gorgeous famous man, etc, but the book is sentimental and overburdened with incongruous plot. Also this one costs 2 credits--not worth it in my opinion! But Anna Fields was great as always!
Lorrie Moore is a terrific writer of short stories. I found many of the qualities of those stories in this book - funny, ironic, fierce and clear-eyed about people, close observation of social norms, and dead-on dialogue. But this novel didn't work for me. It hung on plot devices and characters' backstories that were unbelievable - and not in an intentional absurdist way - just out there. The connection to 9/11 seemed very thin, and most of the characters felt underdeveloped over the length of the book - keenly portrayed for a few scenes but not with much depth. Still, I kept thinking wow can Lorrie Moore write! Sometimes sad, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Narration was well-suited to the main character's voice. Looking forward to more short story masterpieces from Moore.
This book works especially well as an audiobook because it is a first person rendering - the thoughts of a happy, successful doctor as he lives through a series of very unsettling events. Literary fiction can be tough to follow in audio, but in this case the insights and descriptive passages came clearly through the voice of the key character.
I found this book funny, tragic, different, and compelling. I don't understand Spanish and I wished I did, but the context usually carried me through. It is a quirky, unusual, sometimes profane book with real literary ambition. The characters are vivid but not always likeable. I understand why it won prizes, but also how it will not be to everyone's taste.
I would give 4-5 stars to the first 5 parts but only 1 to the sixth. It was wonderful to be back in the company of these characters, narrated by the excellent Davina Porter. True there is a lot of battle and history explained, but I was fine with that. I enjoyed the way she expanded on some of the minor characters as well.
However I found the ending downright annoying. The last part felt as if it was written in a rush to meet a deadline, left far too many things hanging, and included utterly unbelievable behavior by Claire. I don't need loose ends to propel me to purchase the next book - she has me hooked on Jamie, Claire and company. I also felt a little manipulated, as if she wants us to read more of her Lord John series (which I don't find very compelling), so she included elements which didn't make sense to the story--or maybe I'm just a bit disgruntled by the bizarre behavior she wrote in for Claire and Lord John.
I wouldn't miss a segment of the remarkable Outlander series, but I hope the author treats her legions of fans with a bit more respect on the next book. Sure we are eager for the next installment, but let's hope she takes as long as she needs to write it.
btw(I was glad to see the publisher's note about the earlier two books - will gladly buy those when they show up on Audible, unabridged with Davina Porter.)
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