Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2007
Two of the most colorful characters in audio fiction are Dave Robicheaux and Cletus Purcel of James Lee Burke's Iberia Parrish. Contrast them with this novel's Billy Bob Holland and Doc Voss and the reader/listener of Bitterroot is left asking the question, "Why so flat?"
Holland and Voss might be good at slugging it out when pressed (or if the virtue of a female character has been besmirched), but their inept emotional responses to truly terrifying and painful traumas in the lives of loved ones makes them seem like a couple of dullards. Dave and Clete wear their emotions like tattoos on their biceps...that's what makes them compelling, particularly Clete whose "take no prisoners" response to threats on those he loves is raised to a unique art form.
Something else is missing from this story of Mafia Meets Western Motif; there is none of the painfully beautiful prose to describe the striking Montana landscape that listeners experience when they hear Burke's descriptions of Bayou Teche, Louisiana, or New Orleans (pre and post-Katrina). Montana may be a rugged and forested landscape in reality, but in Bitterroot it is a pancake-flat character. In Dave Robicheaux novels setting is character. In Bitterroot, Billy Bob, Doc, and the mountains from which the title derives are mere obstacles the reader must endure as he/she passes the hours waiting for the story to erode.
At first I took this audiobook for pulp si-fi and intended to listen with a modicum of disinterest as I went through my daily rituals, ear buds dangling in their usual position. Then, as the penultimate battle approached, I went into serious listener mode. 'This is going to be good,' I thought. Not!
The book ends without resolution and in the middle of a space battle where tactics (human) are pitted against overwhelming numbers (alien). What happened? Who knows? You have to buy the second book.
Unlike Jack Campbell, who resolves the dilemma before setting up a new one for readers to ponder, McGinnis churns pulp like an episode of "Orange is the New Black." Want to know what happens…tough luck buddy…spend another credit.
Well…not me…I am returning this wholly unsatisfying example of churn.
Having read this novel three decades ago, I recalled that I was enthralled with how the story unwound. Now, hearing it read by John Lee, I can tell my fellow listeners that this novel/audiobook is in my top 25 out of 1350.
First, don't be put off by the period sexism (circa 1970). You'll find the same stuff in Exodus (also by Uris). It's just the way he wrote. Keep focused on the motivations of the characters. Their extremes are tell-tale foreshadowing to a totally unexpected ending.
QB VII (or Queen's Bench 7) is the British courtroom where a trial takes place. The listener must serve as jury to answer the question: Is Abraham Cady (a reporter) guilty of libeling Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish physician, whom Cady accused of war crimes? The backdrop for this story is the Holocaust, but the drama plays out in British Courtroom two decades after WWII ended.
When you finish this book you will be a different person. Oh…one more thing…it is based on a true story!
This familiar and tragic tale epitomizes Western motif writing: a prairie family is massacred by Comanches and a young girl is kidnapped. Men track the Comanche, but struggle to find the band responsible for the deed.
The story morphs into a quest (the Holy Grail of sorts) for the girl. Years in the saddle and transformations within the main characters tell the reader that a quest, fruitless or not, is more destiny than circumstance. This book is a road trip (albeit on horseback), through landscape harsh and spectacular. If the High Plains do not kill a man (man in this case), it will redeem him.
This is a sure-fire listen for those appreciating a realistic Western novel. It could have happened and probably did many times just the way Alan LeMay said.
At the opening the premise was solid; there is a secret government organization responsible for monitoring and controlling global technological innovations. It is very powerful and deeply off the books. Then, just when you have bitten a big bite of the apple, enter the dark forces that mimic the evil characters in a Marvel comic sans the mutant superpowers (our antagonists use technology to that end).
Eventually the entire sic-fi thriller degrades into silly dialogue and revenge-driven mania.
This audiobook should only be downloaded in those desperate moments (from your Wish List) when you are late for work and your iPod is empty. If you have the time, search around for a more viable futuristic battle of good vs. holier-than-thou-technocrat.
This has happened to me previously. Audible brings another narrator's version of the story online, changes the title for the North American audience, and I end up buying it, unaware that I have already listened to the novel. I am a bit torqued over this because now I have to go through the hassle of returning the book. I have purchased 1257 audio books and I want to be able to rely on Audible to get this stuff right the first time.
Buy the "Purity of Vengeance," narrated by Graeme Malcom…he is a much more compelling narrator.
The premise of this book is excellent; a Christian, Jew and Muslim play poker for twelve years to determine who gains control over Jerusalem. Where the plot lost me was the digressions into the extended metaphorical references to various historical villains whom have vied for control over the Middle East, but failed miserably. Perhaps it is the writer's former CIA cynicism rearing its head when he falls back on prurient cliche' to make his point that the French are inept theives (and pederasts), the Arabs are ignorant sodomites, and the Jews are clever business hands who take control of the world's riches by guile and ruthlessness. This is all silly type casting for an audience of former spooks and expatriates who drink Johnny Walker Red Label in smokey Third World bars under false identification papers that identify them as trade representatives (when you know that they all work for the "Company").
The author presents long digressions into the mundane minutia regarding the lives of minor characters only to tell us (after 30 minutes) that some tangential relation to the minor character is, in fact, a major player in the plot. Except, after falling asleep during the digression we no longer care about the tangential and irrelevant connections the author attempts to make to the overall story.
This could have been great literature with some decent editing. Alas, the author died at the height of his writing career before anyone took him serious enough to say, "Hey Edward, you need to say more by saying less."
Unlike Atkinson's first two extraordinary treatises on North Africa and Italy, The Guns of Last Light lacks previous compelling and well-developed personalities. Yes, the usual and important historical figures are there (Patton, Bradley, Ike, and Audie Murphy), it's just that they are lost in the details of Arden, The Bulge, and D-Day. And, this is why I was not enthralled with this historical fiction/non-fiction.
In the first two books we saw into individuals and their thinking, with all the appropriate disclaimers about 'this might have been said, but we don't know for sure.' In "Guns at Last Light" the author strays from risk-taking and speculative history to recite the facts and dates of battles already familiar to previous readers of WWII history. I felt like I was taking a military history course at an academy while listening to this final installment of Atkinson's trilogy.
Sooo…would I recommend this final installment? Yes, if you are new to WWII history, but No if you already know what happened before and after the allies crossed the Rhine.
Somehow I don't feel like I am the only listener who pines for the next installment of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (read by Lisette Lecat). Each new installment is like a visit by a lovely old friend.
Dang…I feel so positive when I am done listening to each book…if I needed therapy I would choose Mma Precious Ramotswe as my shrink…she can fix just about anyone except Violet Sephotho.
This series makes me want to do two things: rejoin the Peace Corps and drink Red Bush Tea (which I now have in my pantry). That picture to the left is me in Liberia in 1978.
Friends, here is another spectacular winner in a long series of great listens written by A.M. Smith.
If you find yourself saying, "Why did they do that?" -- or asking the question, "Wouldn't that kill them?" -- then you are listening to Black Cross. Naturally we expect commando missions are fraught with danger, but this venture is so far-fetched and ill-conceived that it could only be a work of fiction (even if that is the genre). There was absolutely nothing about the events in this story that made me say, "Yep, that's real!" At one point I found myself wondering, "Why would they do that when one bombing mission would address the whole problem."
The storyline probably had it's origins in a book about bombing a very bad Nazi place but the author realized that "death from the air" lacks all the emotional drama of hideous medical experiments on humans. Racking up up some ghoulish points for the reviewers and editors may have lead to some the very poor rewriting decisions (all surmise on my part of course). Add to the horror a concentration camp romance and you have all the makings for kitsch writing in very poor taste.
I am not going to recommend this book to my fellow listeners. It plays our emotions intentionally (and cheaply). Concentration Camp stories are best left for the tellers of non-fiction or those fiction writers that have the capacity to explain the truly horrid without the need to interject cheap romance to gain our sympathies.
Jo Nesbo can do gritty-city-OMG as well as any of the best contemporary writers publishing today. So, why in this novel do we have to experience the very predictable - "is he dead…not dead…dead…not dead" gimmicks of serialized comic strip writers. Of course he's not dead. If he were dead we would all pack it in and download Arnaldur Indridason instead of Jo Nesbo.
Serial killers are Nesbo's forte, but I am going to have to say (if reluctantly) that this Harry Hole Novel will leave you feeling a victim of serial manipulation. Please note that I own every Nesbo audiobook available and I know I will buy more. However, in the case of this audiobook (Police)…I am a victim and not a fan.
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