The story was outstanding and the author placed the listener into the Post-WW2 era of occupied Germany and Austria. The characters were also excellent and the author took full advantage of the mix of nationalities and occupational personalities. The tenor of the narrative was a little too harsh at times and this was enhanced by the cadences of the narrator. However, this is a part of the "gumshoe" persona, so most folks who enjoy this kind of detective story would not be put off by it. For me, the book was set well and the characters were vivid and entertaining, so it was well worth the purchase and the time.
This tale is excellent and the narration is perfect. Along with Wolves Eat Dogs and Gorky Park this is Smith at his finest.
The narration and story in this one is very good to excellent. However Renko's credibility is bit undermined by inconsistent behavior in his dealings with people and situations.. Primarily this involves his reactions in dealing with one particular character and is not as much a problem for the story a gripe about consistency. I believe the author sort of forced this onto the story so he could fashion the end as he wanted and not as the story would have played out on its own/. I don't want to give anything away so I will leave it at that. Still worth reading just not up to the standards of the other Renko novels I have read. For others I would have given the story 4 stars, because it is a great story, but based upon what I expect from Smith, - but Smith I rate according to what I expect and this is 3 star story for him.
Covers the decline of the Wiemar Republic very well, especially as regards the rise of the NAZI movement. It is a little weaker on the short period of stability Wiemar achieved during the middle of the 20s and it is not as heavy on the political leadership in the early years of the republic as in Shirer's classic work, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and several others. But this is well covered in other general histories of the period. In addition, you get a better feel for the milieu of the 20s with this text. The best political coverage centers upon government decisions toward the end of Wiemar; as with Hindenburg's and von Papen's decisions and actions to name Hitler Chancellor. This shortfall is more than made up for by the inclusion of the economic setting of Wiemar and by a greater inclusion of the cultural and social developments. A great deal has been accomplished in many monologues by historians on the social and cultural material of this period and it was time to see it in a broader, well-written general history of the period between the end of the First World War and the collapse of the First German Republic.
The writing is clear and direct, and the author's selection of specific individuals when wishing to stress a point is done excellently. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a broad study of this period. I have not yet listened to the second and third parts of Evans' history on the Third Reich, but I am looking forward to the remaining two volumes.
Harris has written an excellent fiction set inside one of modern Europe's most intense, and foreboding dramas, the Dreyfus Affair, known simply as "the Affair" at the time. Without going into the details of the book, I found Harris' characterizations and presentations of the main players in this story compelling and in keeping with the real historical drama. He is able to apply the novelists license in molding historical details and personalities to fit the story without sacrificing the facts of the history or the appropriate perspectives of the day. He tells the tale from the perspective of Colonel Georges Picquart, the man who first noticed the problems with the evidence used to convict Dreyfus of treason. The only thing lacking in the story which I had hoped for was the intensity of the cultural clash that took place outside of the courts and beyond the personal dramas of individual players. But I do not believe it was his intent to delve deeply into those things but to remain focused upon the personal dramas at the center of the storm. However, the author does include the anti-semitic flavor which arises as the Affair proceeds, so the listener is able to appreciate the tension and depth of the cultural war fought in France around the Dreyfus case. In addition, the narrator's read for the voices and characters was pitched well and was perfect for this particular book.
I enjoyed "The Snowman" from several angles. One of the most appealing characteristics of this detective is that he fails to check things out that you know he is smart enough to have considered but didn't. It is frustrating if you see a path which appears clear but which he does not ponder, but that also makes his character more believable and appealing than most fictional detectives. And he character is at least a third of the story with Hole. This makes his slips an appealing part of the story most of the time. In any event, it is a great read to follow his endeavors to solve the case. Perhaps I did not enjoy this book as much as I did "The Rebreast" because "Redbreast" dipped into a past which has received scant coverage in the US. Setting that aside, "The Snowman" proved an excellent listen and had some very eerie and tense scenes in it. Nesbo developed a compelling plot and Hole is terribly interesting character. I like Sach's reading too. His syncopated rhythm fits the narrative so well that the story seems to flow perfectly with the cadence. Some of his pronunciations are questionable, but overall if I could only keep the one, I would keep his clipped words and drum-beat meter. Overall, this is a great story. Sach's reading is perfect for Hole and Harry is a great fictional character to follow. The other characters have a keen development in the story line. The scenes are well-developed and very tight. The settings could be improved in some instances, but overall they are well-done (again, as compared to "Redbreast," they are not outstanding. I highly recommend this book though, I did not find it as appealing as some of Nesbo's other efforts.
The book started out kind of even/even as far as what I expected. I puzzled out the guilt pretty quickly as far as the story went, however, there were twists I did not see coming at all. As the story developed, it simply just kept getting better. Same with the settings.
As in my last review of a Gunther novel, the reader seemed terse and brisk. In this tale it was less of a problem for me though. It fit very well with the story line. Again, Kerr has made a historical setting come alive in his narrative. Many of the characters were not as developed or as interesting as those in "A German Requiem" and the period does not interest me as much. But the story is as great, if not better than the latter. So far, Kerr's Gunther novels have been worth the money and the time spent.
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