I went back read some of Grafton's earlier work. The stories were nicely plotted, pleasingly intricate and punchy. Those "Kinsey moments" we all love were pithy and somewhat surprising.
However, W and, frankly, maybe the last 10 or so mysteries are just bloated with more "Kinsey moments" than I ever needed or cared about.
The stories are about the same in terms of plot and intricacy, so what fills up the extra 100 pages? Instead of a hard bitten, hard nosed Kinsey, we get an introverted, self absorbed, self doubting detective who lets events control her instead of the other way around. We get long, completely unrealistic sequences of conversation and events.
It's been pretty obvious, ever since the Millhone series started to break the 200 page limit, that Sue is tired of Kinsey. It's time for Grafton to re-hire her editors so that they can re-invigorate and harden up the series for the final episodes.
This is a comprehensive story of the British offensive on the Somme. It is rich in historical detail. A great part of this detail consists of excerpts from diaries and reports of the actual participants, from generals to privates.
It helped me expand my knowledge of this important part of WW1 and gave me some insight into some of the appalling decisions made by the British general command as well as the motivations and courage of those tasked with carrying those decisions.
The author provides sources for his many excerpts of original material. Unfortunately he chose to provide these attributions in the body of the text instead of in a footnote. This lead the producer of this book to include these attributions in the reading of the text. This interrupts the narrative flow with frequent and repetitive citations. These attributions are fine in a printed work, but the producer should have omitted them in the audio recording.
While I am a fan of Dreamworks, especially their animation efforts, I found that the inside story of personalities and money far from compelling. Those who enjoy the inside Hollywood stuff will probably be more interested in the ins and outs described in this book. For me, it didn't take long before the story sounded like random syllables coupled with the author's outrage.
Super human American good guy. Check.
Cowardly blood thirsty A_rab terrorists. Check.
Know how it will end after the first paragraph. Check.
Loving microscopic examination of blood soaked scenes. Check.
The story of three WWII era submarines starts off well. There's a discussion of the state of the war after Pearl Harbor. In the time period between Dec. 8 and Midway, submarines were just about the only offensive weapon available to the fleet. However, subs were not used primarily against combatant vessels, but against freighters and oil tankers. This mission was a second prong, along with fleet actions, that reduced Japan's ability to conduct war.
The stories told here are short biographies of the crews and commanders, their tactics and victories. It is in telling these stories that the book starts to go astray. None of the stories are especially detailed and those that are covered more extensively border on hagiography.
The final chapters cover the fates of the crewmen of the Tang, survivors of a defective torpedo fired by their own boat. It details their capture and subsequent internment in Japan. Here, the book looses its focus. It lovingly chronicles how the prisoners were treated and the torture and hardship they underwent. It details other atrocities inflicted on allied prisoners not connected with these submarines. While these are important stories, the way they are presented apes books about the lives of martyrs.
The actions of the guards are breathlessly detailed, their evilness lingered over. The tortures they inflicted are enthusiastically detailed. The final part of this book borders on torture porn.
Crais tells the story of the rehabilitation of a military bomb sniffing / guard dog. From the death of his handler in Afghanistan to the mutual healing of the dog and his new handler, you can write the rest of the story. All the cliches are there. Tough but compassionate head dog trainer - check. Solving crimes while suspended from duty - check. Harrowing final scene with a life or death cliffhanger - check. Plus, talking dogs.
A decent beach novel, especially the talking dogs.
Jack Aubrey is a more believable character.
Hornblower is a pale foreshadowing of the lusty, commanding, confident commander in Patrick Moore's series.
Hornblower as a Master and Commander is introspective and virginal. He's just not compelling.
Lt. Bush takes the place of Dr. Maturin as Hornblower's foil. He's a more convincing character than Hornblower.
The story itself revolves around the usual naval daring-do. The episode of the capture of the semaphore is an example of the bloodlessness and just too much convenient genius of Hornblower.
I'll probably stay with the series for a while, depending on how tired I get of Hornblower's saccharine personality.
An audio book is the wrong format for this book. It's essentially a list and short bio of various diseases and/or their vectors. An audio presentation is way too linear and cannot be indexed for what you want to see.
This abridgment is very choppy. It's difficult to track of the characters or follow the flow of action. It's like watching an abridgment of
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