This book reminds me of two classics: Raymond Chandler's 1954 mystery THE LONG GOODBYE and the Texas murder defense summed up as "He needed killin'."
If anyone else has written a murder mystery as thoroughly surprising in the last 55 years, I haven't read it. The very last sentence of THE BUTCHER'S BOY is both startling and funny.
The title is the nickname of the professional hit man readers follow throughout the novel. I think the murder defense explains why we wind up caring what happens to him. Everyone he kills is loathsome. We care about the Justice Dept. investigator trying to track him down, too. Which is why the suspense lasts through that funny final sentence.
All THE BUTCHER'S BOY lacks to make it a literary classic for the ages - besides being well-written and well-plotted - is eternal themes concerning humanity's great struggles. Two out of three is an excellent deal. If you like literature, I think you'll like this book.
I'm a conservative and no doubt agree with Laura Ingraham on most issues. But from Audible and Amazon reviews, I expected this book to be funny. It is, but only briefly and intermittently.
The funny parts are the satirical snippets of fictional diaries kept by Obama, Michelle, etc. But those make up only 5% or 10% of the book. The rest is heartfelt polemic, Laura analyzing America's greatness, the need for citizens to keep it great, and how dreadfully Obama and his cohorts fall short. But if you've been paying attention, you already know generally what the liberal left is up to and what Obama & Crew are up to in particular. If you're already conservative, you don't need Laura to explain the world to you.
Some people like to read, or listen to, expositions of their own and like-minded views. Nothing wrong with that! I happen to be not among them. From this book's title and the introduction you can hear as a sample, I expected it to be extended satire, something like Christopher Buckley's novels.
Bully for Laura Ingraham, her insights into current events, and her advocacy of conservative principles! Maybe if you're already a fan, and her sarcasm makes you chuckle, you find this an enjoyable book. This reader-listener doesn't.
Footnote: I tried to break this into paragraphs to make it more readable. Audible unaccountably won't let me.
There's a malady at the heart of this book. Problem is, the malady as depicted here has little to do with the malady as it exists in real life. Much occurs in the book that could and does not occur when actual humans have this malady.
I understand that readers are fascinated by the questions of good, evil, and volition raised by THR3E. For me, the fact that the plot is almost wholly removed from reality renders it irrelevant to genuine questions of good, evil, and volition.
Having stuck through almost all the way to the end leaves me feeling cheated. Life's too short to spend on thriller-mysteries that make no sense in the end.
Plot aside, the narration is inadequate. Rob Lamont cannot distinguish females' voices from males' and thus makes the tale harder to follow than it ought to be.
Spoiler alert! Since one problem is with the plot, I may be giving twists away.
I don't usually like alternate history, since the past is immutable. But I'm an ardent fan of the Ender and Bean novels about the future. Orson Scott Card thinks deeply about all he writes, and I was interested in his take on the Europeans' arrival in the Americas.
Problem is, we get multiple alternate histories in Pastwatch. The brilliant scientists in the story have evidently never heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
I willingly suspend disbelief for most novels. This one contains too many improbabilities for me and perhaps for the like-minded.
The narration is also inconsistent. I'd listen to Stefan Rudnicki read anything, but some of the other narrators are not very expressive.
But I'd have held on if not for the improbabilities.
You know a thriller is failing when its most vivid, interesting and sympathetic character is the villain, followed by the 12-year-old girl whose kidnapping he has orchestrated.
Everyone else here is boring, and the plot plods. The murder of Michelle's mother and its investigation - completely unrelated to the main plot - bogs the book down further.
The narrator is good, especially when giving voice to the villain. Not good enough to bring this novel up to a credit-worthy level.
My review title alludes to a reference in this novel to men having sex with chickens.
That's where I stopped the book. Readers shouldn't be forced to wonder whether such an act is possible, let alone whether it's happened outside the author's imagination.
The chicken sex reference is one of many passage in the book that made no sense to me. Not that I wouldn't behave that way - I can't imagine anyone behaving certain ways, making certain choices, that characters in this book do. I've read wild stuff from authors as different as Homer and Orson Scott Card and can't recall having been simply stumped before.
Life's too short to spend with inexplicable characters.
Scott Brick is like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart. No matter what words they were saying, they always sounded like themselves.
In this case, I hear Scott Brick sounding like himself, as always, instead of bringing the text to life. He can't bring himself even to be consistent about pronunciation. The name "Thierry" should be pronounced tee-air-EE. Brick says TEE-air-ee, TEE-ah-ree, tee-air-EE (correctly) and tee-air-ree, with no accented syllable.
I know this offends Scott Brick's many fans. But for me, instead of hearing the authors skillfully interweave characters and history, I hear Scott Brick's vocal patterns and ticks, which sound the same no matter whether he's reading a murder mystery or a thriller or, as in this case, financial nonfiction.
I hope he'll learn someday to suit his voice to the material rather than vice versa.
All the Toby Peters mysteries on Audible are enjoyable. They're light entertainment, with quirky, agreeable ongoing characters, serviceable plots, and interesting insights into life in the 1940s.
Of course, the obvious draw is the movie star or other celebrity for whom private eye Toby Peters works. In this case, W.C. Fields, who is depicted as a very funny and intrepid man with a sad, if satirical, outlook. His wit shows as Fields takes a sometimes dangerous road trip with Peters, chauffered by Peters's best friend, the midget Gunther Werthman. (I said quirky.)
One of the best aspects, though, is Tom Parker's narration. His imitation of W.C. Fields is spot-on - and his imitation of bad imitators of Fields's voice is terrific, too.
Parker's imitation of Fred Astaire in Dancing in the Dark is also excellent. Throughout the five Peters mysteries he narrates, he gives Gunther and other ongoing characters distinct and appropriate voices.
I hope Audible adds to the Toby Peters series, especially with Parker as narrator.
A writer of Chekhov's star caliber needs no rating. The narrator, however, can make all the difference. Of my three audiobooks of Chekhov short stories, this is by far the best narration.
For good reason. Branagh was a major and much-honored star of stage and screen, with four Oscar nominations for acting and directing.
Somebody PLEASE persuade Branagh to narrate more literary fiction for adults!
According to the publisher's summary, "George Barna has the numbers, and they indicate a revolution is already taking place within the Church: one that will impact every believer in America."
I wanted to hear those numbers, Barna's "years worth of research data," that is, what evidence Barna had that a revolution is actually occurring. But the book offers no clue as to this revolution's dimensions or where in this country or the world one can find large numbers of revolutionaries.
I can't blame him or his publisher that I didn't appreciate the subtitle. But I felt like a choir member being preached to. Great ideas -- useful, healthy ideas -- but not what the publisher promised.
Maybe it's the nature of the author-narrator's obsession - episodic television - but there are regular quiet spaces of a few seconds each. I'm used to pauses meaning something, and here they don't. Perhaps they're only meant to make the audiobook longer. Or not.
Listeners who are used to a smooth, or smoothly dramatized, flow of words may find the pauses as distracting as I do.
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