I took a flier on this book- there were no written reviews when I purchased it- and I'm very glad I did. The best book I've listened to in a very long time (I have hundreds of audiobooks)
Scott's tale crackles with energy, with a driven character who stops at nothing to achieve his ends. His thorough knowledge of sailing and the intense war his protagonist wages for survival at sea is enough by itself to keep you riveted.
Vietor's narration too is spot on- no wooden deliveries, no histrionics or overwrought voice acting, he strikes the perfect tone, allowing the listener to enjoy the story in a voice that seems perfectly in tune to the material. A reading one might imagine the author would have it read. Outstanding.
This is my second Robotham novel, having just finished Bombproof. Like that novel, "Watching You" is very well written and tightly plotted. Characters are three-dimensional, natural and interesting. Very little was predictable and the usual cliches avoided. Both books kept me turning the pages right to the end.
So, intelligent thrillers for readers who appreciate having their own intelligence respected. What's not to like?
For me, it's characters who don't control their own destiny and are instead buffeted around by circumstances or victims of a relentless string of poor choices. This was particularly true of Bombproof, but also largely the case with the chief protagonist in this novel, and while all this behavior is well supported by the plot, I find it frustrating. "Weak but interesting" just isn't enough for me.
I'm probably going to give Robotham another go because he's such a good writer and storyteller and those are all too thin on the ground. But if, again, I get repeatedly knocked around by circumstances as I follow the protagonist through the book, I'm done.
But that's me. Maybe you won't mind.
This book started off with great promise. A fast-paced story with a compelling premise and very well performed by Ballerini. There's just one problem- I don't enjoy reading about characters who are… stupid. Yup, the lead character styles himself and his gang as professional, but most professionals I know aren't, you know, stupid.
I could list all the points along the way where I was metaphorically slapping my forehead in slack-jawed wonderment at the various choices made by the "professionals", but who has the time? On the other hand, if you're a fan of unintentional comedy, there are lots of guffaws to be had in this novel, particularly as things spiral out of control in the book's second half. The plot wraps up in predictably maudlin fashion, but no need to worry as by then you will be long past caring.
It's too bad. Laukkanen knows how to keep things on the boil, and the first third or so doesn't stray too far from intelligent. If the author could have a bit more respect for his readers he could grow into a decent thriller writer. Wake me up when that happens.
When I read the other posts here, I have to assume the other reviewers have read a different book.
Characters behave stupidly and without proper motivation. You quickly grow to hate the accused, Katie, whom we presume the author would like us to sympathize with. As Katie is her own most determined enemy, doing everything imaginable to ruin her own case and credibility, that isn't easy. Furthermore, we are supposed to believe her constant, whiney self-justifications and endless prevarications neatly cohabitate with the honest and self-effacing character of the Amish. By the time the book is half done, I was so disgusted with this character (and others), I was actually rooting for the prosecution.
Worse, the author built such a fragile plot that a single question, one any intelligent five year old could have posed at any number of points, would have brought down the whole house of cards. The holes are too many to list, but suffice to say we're asked to believe a hot-shot lawyer couldn't see what is laughably apparent to the reader. We're also asked to believe that this lawyer, who didn't want the case in the first place, would put up with the constant lying and betrayals of her own client, making her equally unlikable as a character.
This book insulted my intelligence in almost every scene. It was not helped by the halting, melodramatic reading that made the characters appear even dumber than they might otherwise. But let's not blame the messenger. This isn't a 'who-dunnit' so much as a 'who cares'. The crime isn't in the book- the crime IS the book.
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