Proceed directly to "Go." Do not waste an audio book credit on this one. I downloaded "The Ruins" based on Stephen King's enthusiastic response to the print version.
By the time I finished the audio book I felt misled and disappointed. Misled because, unless I missed something, Mayan ruins had next to nothing to do with the content of the book. A more appropriate title would have been "The Plant"; however, that name probably would not have resulted in books leaping off store shelves. Or perhaps, the name could have been "The Hill" or "The Clearing" as most of the story takes place on a hill within a clearing in the jungle with no ruins in sight.
The other major flaw of the book is that it would have been better suited to a short story rather than a full-length book. There just isn't enough there to sustain your interest. I was expecting a previously undiscovered run down, jungle encrusted Mayan settlement with some mysterious malevolent presence protecting it and perhaps a treasure as well. Okay, so my plot is predictable, but with a few twists it would have worked better than what the author chose to do. The author should have had chosen a more complicated "villain" in order to sustain the suspense and crank up the fear.
As in "A Simple Plan" I thought the character development was good, even very good most of the time. I felt the characters acted the way most people of their age and background would have acted in the same situation. The character development was definitely much better than the author's attempts at creating fear and suspense. The tensions that developed between the characters as the novel progressed was credible.
Too bad because I really enjoyed the author's previous work "A Simple Plan."
I really enjoyed Joseph Finder's previous 3 audio titles, so when I heard that a new title was coming out at the end of August I downloaded it immediately.
Killer Instinct shares great dialogue, realistic characters and an uncanny ability to create and describe the politics and back-stabbing that go on at the upper levels of corporations with Finder's previous 3 titles Paranoia, Company Man and Killer Instinct. The major weakness of Power Play is in it's under developed plot. Not that the theme of the book is not engaging; it is, it is just not enough to create a book of any substantial length.
The book is based on the question "What would happen if the high level managers of a major corporation brought together for corporate team building adventure games suddenly found themselves in a life or death situation?" This is a great question, but I am not convinced that Finder extracted all that he could out of it. Also, near the start of the book he introduced a potentially interesting sub-plot related to the manufacturing of fiber reinforced plastics for airplanes that I felt could have been used more effectively through the rest of the book.
The weak plot is tragic because this book could have been so much more. If we were using a 10 point rating scale I would have given it a 7 out of 10. I still enjoyed it, but my favourite Finder audio book is Paranoia.
I hesitated a long time before pulling the trigger on this title. While I am a not a mountain climber I am a fan of classics on the topic such as Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." So I was interested in this book.
What had me worried was the fact that the book was based on second-hand accounts as no personal effects of any of the victims of the tragedy were recovered. More significantly, the tragedy happened over 40 years ago so the recollections and records of those involved can be expected to be further compromised. Finally several books and articles have been written about this event and I wondered what more this book could offer.
I just finished listening to the book and I can say that despite these challenges, the author met the objectives which he spelled out in the introduction. Mainly to objectively examine all the facts related to the incident to better understand excatly what happened and perhaps to better understand why.
I enjoyed the book for several reasons:
1. As always, Scott Brick's narration is excellent.
2. The author is a mountain climber and does a masterful job of filling in gaps in information and in describing what conditions on the mountain would have been like.
3. Reference to scientific and medical information related to leadership, team dynamics and high altitude physiology make what otherwise could have been a dry repetition of times and events enganging.
4. The author did an excellent job of summarizing a large amount of information, making it interesting and in the end helping the listener understand what happened on that fateful July in 1967.
A good listen for fans of mountaineering or real life drama stories.
I could not give this title more than two stars. Perhaps it was the reader who sounded like the comedian/actor Dan Aykroyd, but I couldn't take the book seriously!
Or perhaps it was the corny dialogue and the one-dimensional wooden characters. Or the predictable and over-the-top plot; kind of like a Harlequin Romance combined with Business Mystery.
If you think I am being overly harsh listen to "Paranoia", "Company Man" or "Killer Instinct" written by Joseph Finder and read by Scott Brick. Or "Blackbird" and "Mr Paradise" by Elmore Leonard, a true master of credible dialogue and character development.
There are much better books in this genre.
Maybe I listened to a different book than those who hated "Next", or maybe I was looking for something different than they were. Personally one of the things I most enjoyed about the book was the multiple related plots. To me it was like watching a "Seinfeld" episode. I also like the fact that in this novel Crichton injected alot more humor than is typical for him. I thought the tone of the novel was like that of many of John Grisham's where you we see the thinly disguised vanity and greed that get the characters involved in all kinds of trouble. I thought the characters were accurately portrayed.
If you are looking for an entertaining read and are not afraid of trying a different story approach give this book a look.
Oh, and I also thought the narration was well done.
I thought this book was fantastic. Brilliantly written and expertly read I found it hard to put it aside. As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who has begun to seriously question the authenticity of the organization, I found several parallels between my experiences and those of Mrs. Beck. Like the author, my doubts began when I experienced the endowment and marriage rituals in the temple. Also, as time went on I began to realize that the church was organized and run more like a giant corporation whose purpose was to create and sustain a false image rather than a self-sustaining religious organization based on truth. It can be argued that the LDS church was founded with lies and is sustained by lies, hence the great ongoing efforts required by its leaders to sustain it's momentum. This message comes across clearly in this book.
If you are considering becoming a member of the LDS church or if you are currently a member who wants to experience a non-church endorsed viewpoint I highly recommend this book. Also, I would recommend "No Man Knows my History" by Fawn S. Brodie.
One year ago I listened to Jack Welch's first book "Straight From the Gut". Since I thought that the book was okay but not really applicable to me I was reluctant to try Jack's new book "Winning". Well, I'm glad I did. Over the years I've read and listened to several books on career management, time planning and success and in that time I can count on one hand the number of titles that I would consider worth the time I invested in them. "Winning" is definitely in the category of keepers.
Written from the perspective of someone who has "been there and done that" and done it very successfully, Welch's book contains a wealth of practical first-hand information on how to manage one's career. Everything in the book I have either experienced first-hand or have seen happen to others. I wish this book had been available at the start of my career 10 years ago.
Highly recommended, especially for recent graduates.
I enjoy Nelson DeMille's books immensely, especially when read by Scott Brick. The first DeMille book I listened to was "Mayday" (co-authored with Thomas Block). In DeMille's books the characters are believable, the dialog engaging and entertaining and the plots current and fast-paced. I especially liked John Corey's (spelling?) character. When Corey is brought to life by Scott Brick the outcome is magical.
As for Night Fall I was drawn into the story from page one and literally could not stop listening. TWA Flight 800 is a mystery that remains unsolved and was a can't miss topic for a engaging story. As the story progresses and Corey delves deeper into the mystery we are drawn back to the events around Flight 800 and DeMille does a masterful job of cranking the suspense and keeping us on the edge of our seat as it looks like he will reveal not only who was behind the crash but also possibly why they caused the tragedy.
The ending is critical to this novel so I will not say much other than I was hugely disappointed by how DeMille chose to close this story. At the end I felt cheated. Having said that; however, the rest of the novel is so good that I recommend this title, especially if you are a fan of DeMille's character John Corey.
I downloaded this book mainly on Stephen King's recommendation. This has worked in the past but twenty minutes into the story I was wondering if I had made a mistake. Happily, it wasn't long before I was fully engrossed in the story and by the end of the book I was hoping for more. Like others I found myself cheering for Smithson Ide and his incredibly sad and incredibly engaging life.
Some have called this book "boring" with "shallow" characters. I found neither to be true. Older listeners will likely relate better to the plot, especially if they've had disappointments and tragedies of their own. A dominant theme running throughout the book is that terrible things can happen to people but people needn't become terrible as a result.
I would like to compare this book to Yann Martel's excellent "Life of Pi". Reviewers have said that the Life of Pi would make you believe in God. Similarly, McLarty's "Memories of Running" will make you believe in the goodness of people and the strength of the human spirit.
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