I admire Ms. Atkinson's ability to weave a simple sentence into a beautiful tapistry. She writes beatifully. But, I found this book difficult to keep up with. It jumped from one scene to another, from one time to another, and often seemed to have missed entire scenes until they appeared suddenly much later. At first, it felt like a series of exercises in a class for descriptive writing. The stories seemed totally disjointed and I found myself wondering if I even wanted to continue. But threads became evident, and eventually the connections were made. By the last 3rd of the book, I was no longer interested enough to care and when I fell asleep, I didn't bother to back it up to replay it. I, personally, was disappointed in it overall, but I must say again, the author has a beautiful technique and talent for description. Couple that with the voice of Susan Jameson, and the issues I found with the structure become tolerable.
I think I might have enjoyed this book more with a different narrator. Throughout most of the story, the main character sounded angry, hostile and just plain annoying. I think the narrator was not getting the connection with the character. It was not terrible or unbearable; just distracting. I found some valuable insight into the world of sociopaths, and how it clearly not all sociopaths are inherently dangerous. I appreciate this point of view. Add to that some inside views of a mortuary, and the story becomes that more tangible. The story progressed well, and it was not long before I was feeling a great deal of empathy for this teen and his plight. But, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the ending. I think maybe the author struggled with this story, and may have rushed to publication a bit. I would not discourage others outright against this book, as it does have some very energetic moments. I found myself crying for some of the characters. But, I will have to think twice about others written by Dab Wells or narrated by John Allen Nelson. It may be that they are just not a good combination together. Overall, it was a worthwhile listen for me.
This is my first Daniel Hecht experience, and now I am looking forward to more. I found the story riviting right up until the mystery was resolved. I admit, I was a little disappointed in the conclusion to the story, but that was a minor disappointment. This is the first of the Cree Black books, and I suspect that as the characters develop, the voids will be filled. That said, I would like to recommend this book to anyone who can appreciate the art of weaving words and phrases into a visual image of such color and vitality. For some, get your dictionary out, as you will want to understand the nuances of the terms so carefully chosen. You will see and hear a mystery, delicately and carefully tatted, and come away with a new view on ghosts and those who study the phenomena, on New Orleans, and how deeply and broadly childhood trauma can reach into a family. I found this a delightful and exciting book, and recommend it. I am especially taken by the narrator, Anna Fields. As with her other works, she does an OUTSTANDING job with this book, and the character Cree Black. Even if ghost stories do not interest you, I'd recommend you look for anything Ms. Fields reads.
I have listened to a number of Preston and Child books, but this one just didn't impress me that much. It is certainly not their best, but I think I might have enjoyed it better had I actually READ it instead of listening. At one point, I realized that the narraator was not contributing any emotion into his characters. I didn't realize what the problem was at first. I just felt impatient. I found myself wishing it was over, but I wasn't even through the 1st half. Then, by accident, I set the speed to 2x, and then it hit me... it was the slow, measured narration that was making it tedious. The story was not the problem, which is why I didn't want to stop listening. Once I had heard it at 2x speed, I listened to the rest of it at that speed, and had NO problems with understanding or following it, and it suddenly felt better. I was disappointed in the ending, however. It felt a bit like they ran out of time and had to settle for a hasty finish. It was a disappointment. Certainly, if you only read/listen to ONE of the Preston & Child novels, do NOT choose this one. You'll never want to bother with the rest, and you will miss some very good books.
I am a solid fan of the Agent Pendergast novels, and of the half dozen I have listened to, this is one of the best. It is the 4th in the series, and I think it is as good if not better than the first (Relic). Whle the books are not serial (you can start anywhere in the list), the progressive development of the character and the style is clearly demonstrated from one book to the next. I would not suggest these stories to young or easily frightened readers, as the imagry is very vivid and intense, and the characters can be terrifying to the more impressionable. The characters are well developed, and if the reader is attentive to the depth of the characters, the stories will become much more cohesive. Anyone who may aspire to write for a living, especially of this genre, these books are a good illustration of how it can be done well. As for the Narrator, Scott Brick... sometimes it gets a little hard to distinguish one character from another, especially when the action is intense, but regardless, his slightly New Orleans/Southern drawl makes a great listen. Very easy voice to listen to. I strongly recommend it.
I did not rate this as being one of my favorites, but I did enjoy it, all the same. I have a bit of personal interest in the locaton, off the coast of Maine, so that helped me get into the story. I found it to be well-crafted. The story evolved from beginning until the end, always keeping enough back to release fresh doses of new twists to keep me coming back for more. The imagary is critical for me to truly enjoy action/adventure stories, and this author did an excellent job of describing each scene fully without being tedious. I really do enjoy the art of such word-craft, and admire this author his skills. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, adventure, with a touch of meritime history thrown in. While the story was not especially thrilling, it was very well written and never lagged in interest. And I think you will enjoy the final discovery as well.
I really did enjoy this novel. It was intense in both action and intrugue. I found the characters believable and likeable... and it has a dog! How cool it that? It takes place in the icy Arctic, a location totally foreign to me, so the scenes painted with such care were totally plausable. The plot, itself, was a bit of a far reach, but that is true of most such stories ... some bit of reality, some bit of possibility and a huge dose of creative imagination. In this case the tapestry was quite enjoyable. I listened to most of it while doing yard work, and it kept me listening even after I had finished. I must admit, however, that I was not especially taken with the narrator's intrepretation of some of the dialog. I found his intonations, in many cases, to hinder the story a bit. But I soon got used to it, and his mannerisms became less noticable... or maybe he got into the story himself, and began to intuit the intent behind some of the author's words. Regardless, I would recommend this book.
This is a delightful insight into the world of animals, how they behave and why, and how we can come to understand them better. At the same time, it is a candid view of ourselves and how WE view these same animals. Some of what she describes may be hard to hear for some people, but stick with it. It is well worth hearing the animal industry facts-of-life to disclose how we can lessen some of our own pain and do what is right and best for both man and beast. It does require an open mind, for Temple Grandin has a mind that is wide open, and she is quite frank about many things.
For those who do not know Dr. Grandin, she is Autistic ... yes, AUTISTIC. Her accomplishments in the fields of animal behavior, psychology and the animal industry are clearly the best way to expose some of our prejudices about autism and other related "handicaps". She clearly is not handicapped, as she has been able to translate the animal point of view in a way that will help us understand why animals behave as they do. It is a MUST read for anyone interested in farming or ranching, any field involving animals, families, friends or teachers who do or may experience autism in their lives, and anyone who has said "I don't think the way you do...". This is one of several books she has written about animals and her insights based on her autistic talents as a VISUAL THINKER.
I recommend this or another, Animals in Translation, as MUST READS for everyone. It will open your eyes to worlds you may not even have known exists. For the families of autistic members, it will give hope and insight into an otherwise mysterious place. For animal activists, animal lovers, animal handlers and industry workers, it will present a point of view that could change your lives.
This is a fascinating book, one especially suited for audio delivery. The author uses a great deal of Lakota words that would be difficult to read, but the narrator(s) do a wonderful job of consistantly and clearly pronouncing the terms, which are then clearly explained in an unobtrusive manner. The book gave me a new insight into the world of Custer and the Indian Wars, as well as the early 20th century and the construction of the Mt. Rushmore monument. I thoroughly enjoyed it until it was nearing the end, or what I perceived would have been the end. Once the climax of the story had completed, and the issue at hand had been resolved, I expected it to soon end, and I felt a little disappointed, as I often do when I am in a good book/story. But the author did not stop. The story began to almost ramble and drone on into what seemed like hours of extraneous babble. While it was related to the primary characters, it really did little to contribute to the story; it felt like Mr. Simmons had moved into lecture mode, having a head still full of musing and thoughts and lessons he felt compelled to impart. I found myself increasing the speed, almost fast-forwarding, to get to the end. I was hoping he had something more to say, so I was reluctant to just stop listening. Even after the book was finally done, the epilog, which provided some additional information about the characters and a bit of history concerning the events in the book, it just refused to end. I finally did have to give it all up and admit I'd had enough.
But DO NOT LET THIS DETER YOU. This is a wonderful story, based on some real events and characters, and will give the reader/listener a great deal to ponder. I heard no preaching about the sins of the "White Man" or the "Victimization of the Native Peoples"; In fact, what I heard seemed well-balanced and considerd. But the insights into the thinkiing of the periods will make the entire story plausible and well worth the tedium at the end.
While the story may not be especially praise-worthy, the way it is written and presented IS. I love books about the religious life of the middle ages and have never read/heard one as fascinating as this. I have a totally new vision of what life in the 13th century might have been like. The author has a prosaic tenor to her story, which lends itself beautifully to the illusion. How I wish I had the command of our language she has.
It does appear that this is not the first in this series of books based on the characters central to this story, but it was not an unbearable problem. I must now, however, seek out the earlier books, for I truly loved the author's writing style. She is not only a thorough historian but a beautiful writer as well. I do recommend this book for those who enjoy visiting the distant past in a believable way.
(for the feminists in the crowd, it will reveal a bit about just how far we have come in these 8 centuries.)
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