It's been a while since I've read a VI Warshawski book and I enjoyed this one a lot.
Recently, I've been disappointed at the quality of writing that I've encountered in a number of mystery novels. Not here. Sara Paretsky is an excellent writer.
The plot in this book relates to World War II and the Holocaust. It's not always the easiest material to listen to but it's clear that Paretsky has done her research well. The intricate plot weaves the current mystery with a back story that feels realistic and detailed.
It's also clear that the author has concerns and a position about current issues. She weaves them in but does not bludgeon the reader with them. As a result, I found the references to current issues like privacy and government surveillance added to the sense of depth.
I have one long-standing gripe with Ms. Paretsky that I had forgotten but which re-emerged when I "read" this book. Many of her characters are hard-edged and interactions are often nasty. Perhaps that is the way of the world but it's a bit of a downer. I am always amazed by VI's ability to maintain her cool in the face of verbal assault.
With all that, Critical Mass is a good and engaging listen. I found myself engaged and wanting to keep listening. The ending is satisfying and the author ties up a lot of lose threads -- another grip I have about many books that seem to end far too abruptly.
I give this book 4.5 stars. It's well worth a listen.
As with many relationships, getting to know Claire DeWitt was not easy.
I purchased this book in July and made three attempts to listen to it. Each time I gave up in irritation. Seven months later, I've finally connected with the book. I finished it today and immediately purchased the next volume in the series. Clearly my feelings have changed.
Claire DeWiit and the City of the Dead is a well-written, interesting and very quirky book. Be warned -- if you don't like foul language and dislike drug use, you will find the book offensive. The heroine is not a clean living character through she is deeply moral and even heroic.
I don't really agree with those who classify this book as noir or even as a mystery. While there are stylistic elements that suggest it, this is not hard-boiled stuff. The goal is not to figure out a puzzle. It's closer, in my mind to Harry Dresden but with far less emphasis on the supernatural. Just a bit of something beyond the rational is always present at Claire DeWitt's core.
Claire does not choose to be a detective. She has been fated to become one. And detectives like Claire DeWitt are very different kind from police officers. For Claire the search for truth is mystical, a philosophy and a calling that requires her to jack into a plane of reality that's different from everyday experience. Bits of truth will come to you in dreams, when you are high, when you meet others whose journeys intersect yours. And knowing how few people value truth will make you cynical. You won't be well-liked either.
As a detective, you are compelled to search for truth but you will pay a price (again, much like Harry Dresden does). Being a detective DeWitt style is not a happy choice and I very much doubt that she will live a long and healthy life. Surely not a conventional one.
The book is set in post Katrina New Orleans. It's a city I love and I really enjoyed her take on the city which I also visited after the hurricane. The story effectively alternates with a back story that reveals who Claire is and how she came to her calling. It's good writing and the narration by Carol Monda is superb.
If you are a concrete-thinking person who is looking for a good mystery novel, you will probably not enjoy this book. If you enjoy fantasy and sarcasm and are willing to play along with the author and suspend disbelief, you may (as I did) find the book a really enjoyable experience.
It took me seven months to get into the first book and seven minutes to purchase the second volume. And I'm now 12 chapters into the second book and enjoying it a lot.
Obviously some people loved it. I didn't. Paper thin characters. Plot is weak. Men are unrelentingly racist, sexist and mean. No matter how much violence the women are unaffected. Book is a downer. I'd give it a pass.
Light-hearted but with depth this is the best Neil Gaiman I've read to date. The story is good natured - the characters likeable. Based on West African myths but set in London, Florida, and a fictional Caribbean island called St. Andrews.
Lenny Henry is superb, shifting among British and island accents.
Rarely do I give a book give stars but this one merits it.
When I first started listening to this book I was very hopeful. It has an interesting conceit - a world which contains a force that responds to human thoughts and shapes the physical environment accordingly. I found the protagonist, a warrior-priest with a mission, a refreshing change from the usual.
Alas, I got bogged down in the book and found getting to the end difficult. The development of the plot and the characters did not fulfill the original promise. Instead, the story became tedious and repetitive. Motivations were not clear. By the end I didn't care anymore.
Too bad, because it had a great concept.
That being said, others seem to like the book so read the reviews carefully. Perhaps it will be your cuppa tea. Sadly, it was not mine.
14 is a fun book and a worthwhile listen. It might have been a deeper and more powerful book but many questions are not explored and the conclusion is rather swift and sketchy, That's why I left off the 5th star.
But it is enjoyable, light-hearted (for a supernatural thriller) and good-natured.
Worth a listen., especially if you are looking for escape and you don't want to slog through a 30 hour fantasy novel.
Books like this remind me of TV shows. The characters are not deep and the plot is not realistic. If you really thought about it you would find lots of holes in the story.
That being said, the characters are interesting and the story engaging.
If you are looking to shut off your mind and listen to a good, if implausible, story you should enjoy the book (assuming you like mystery and horror).
If you want something more, you might be disappointed.
I must admit that I purchased this book with some trepidation. I thought that the concept of time travel and changing history was a bit strained and the book was likely to be hokey.
I was wrong.
Stephen King has written an engaging novel which, in some ways, is reminiscent of the Dark Tower series (although much shorter). What makes the book, in my opinion, are the wonderful characterizations and level of detail. For example, there is one scene in which the protagonist, Jake Epping, has a migraine headache. Rather than just mentioning it, King weaves the throbbing pain into the narrative in a way that any migraine sufferer will relate to.
The book is well-researched. The novel revolves around events related to the Kennedy assassination and it is clear that the author did his homework. He talks about the research in an afterward.
The ending of the book is satisfying. I often feel that novels end far too abruptly. Not this one. The ending takes a good hour and ties up a lot of loose ends. I thoroughly enjoyed this listen.
If you are someone who enjoys the fantasy genre and Patricia Briggs. this first novel is worth a listen. It is far from her best work but it is pleasant and you can see the seeds of her later work in it.
I really enjoyed this book. It is the first published novel of Jim Butcher and (according to Wikipedia) he had a heck of a time getting it published. Not clear why because the book is well-written and kept me engaged.Often in this type of urban noir fantasy mysteries the characterization is superficial. Here there was depth and interesting twists.Neither the author nor the protagonist seems to take themselves overly seriously and that is all to the good. Is it a perfect book or a classic -- no. But it's fun and engaging. I plan to read the rest of the series.My one complaint is the heavy breathing that James Marsters indulges in. Not sure if this was deliberate or poor audio editing but I found it distracting and annoying. Too bad because his reading is otherwise fine.
Report Inappropriate Content