As one of the other reviewers noted, if I had to do it over again, I would have read this book instead of listening to it - not that there is anything wrong with the narration, which is excellent. It is, however, a very involved plot with lots of descriptions and lots of characters. I found that I had to stop whatever I was doing at the same time and really pay attention to it or I would start losing the thread.
It took some dedication to get through a slightly slow start but I'm glad I stuck with it. Stephenson manages to weave together wildly disparate themes. The book swings back and forth between very detailed explanations (with which I occasionally became impatient) and rocketing action. I normally would never recommend this but I think I might have gotten a bit more out of the book if I had read the WIkipedia precis first, so I had some lay of the futureland that Stephenson has created.
1. I found the protagonist, Billy Boyle, to be unlikeable. If I got into a conversation with him at a party, I'd be looking for an escape route in about 10 minutes. He's both rude and boring, an intolerable combination. He's not particularly intelligent, has no humor and is too shallow to make his obnoxiousness interesting.
2. The writing seems rather "entry-level" to me. The dialogue is dull, the characters and action predictable. There is very little character development. Billy Boyle is heavily drawn as a Yank in jolly olde England, all stereotypes dragged out. It seems like the author is trying to make sure that he sounds SO American, to the point where his dialogue strikes me as affected, rather than natural.
3. The narrator's Boston accent didn't work for me at all. It sounded to me like the accent I would do if I was trying to mock the Kennedy's, and I'm not much of an impressionist!
The idea for the series seems like a good one but the execution is lacking.
This might be a great book but I couldn't finish it. If you are squeamish about cruelty and graphic descriptions, you'll want to give this a miss.
I am not a person who requires car crashes or bodies dropping per minute in order to stay entertained. I enjoy a slower, thoughtful book. But this book is just too much. It is not slow and thoughtful, it is repetitive to the point of monotony.
It is a police procedural in the series featuring Inspector Joe Rafferty. He and Sergeant Llewellyn are stymied by a murder investigation that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. The problem for the reader is there is chapter after chapter of the same thing - going back to question the same people, having nothing to show for it, bemoaning the lack of movement. It's not remotely interesting.
I've read several books of this series and have become increasingly irritated by the characters, which are not all that likeable. Rafferty comes across as not only spineless but ridiculously illogical, dragging his feet taking action on something that any other person would have jumped into immediately. His fiancee nags him incessantly. I found myself muttering, "Explain to me again why you want to marry this woman?" Sergeant Llewellyn is constantly holier-than-thou, his cousin Nigel always untrustworthy and slimy. Honestly, I just wanted to bang all their heads together on a number of occasions. I can't find one character to relate to in this book.
I am done with this series. Some of the earlier books I found at least a bit amusing but this one was just a slog. The best thing I can say about it is that it is inoffensive - faint praise indeed. And life is just too short to waste on books that are this irritating.
I loved this book. I loved Amy. I loved her refusal to care about so many of the things our society worships. I loved her dog. I loved her ability and willingness to look at both herself and the absurdity of modern life, in particular the world of writers, with honesty.
If I was going to compare Willett's writing to anyone, it might be Fran Lebowitz, but not quite so cutting.
This may or may not be a great book for organizing your life but I can tell you after a couple of chapters - it is useless as an audiobook. The author suggests you do several writing exercises, answering a very long list of questions about your feelings with regards to "stuff" but goes through the list of questions very quickly. Later there is a long list of words you can choose from to decribe your core values. It wouldn't be so bad if there was an e-book companion, or if you could buy the Kindle book to go along with but that is not an option. If you want to give it a try, I strongly suggest you buy a hardcopy.
The most convoluted runaround I have waded through in a long time. Yes, I love the classic British mystery but by the end, I was ready to give Mr. Innes a good sound smack. As I said though, the series gets better. I heartily recommend skipping this one.
I don't mind a light mystery but my word, this was just intolerable. There is absolutely nothing even remotely natural about the characters or dialogue. The performance borders on histrionic and the accents near-mockery. I was looking for some light fare but this is unadulterated cotton candy and made me nauseous. I couldn't wait for it to be over.I have enjoyed other entries in this series which were silly but not sick-making.
There I was, making my way slowly through this series, enjoyable the affable, comical and thoughtful Albert Campion when suddenly this story rears its ugly head. While the plot is adequate, the author has gone out of her way to write some seriously weird dialogue that makes every character (except for the young boy) obnoxious in the extreme.
The female characters seem to be written solely for the author to set up in humiliating situations and the male characters are SO misogynist that it would almost be laughable if it wasn't so insulting to men and women. Yes, I know the book was published in 1938 but surely even then it would be considered shocking and revolting for a brother to suggest to his sister that she needs "a good rape"!
One of the men dumps his girlfriend to have a blatant affair with her friend and then, without a word of explanation or apology, returns to her to propose marriage, or perhaps indentured servitude would be a better description. She is a highly successful designer and the romantic bastard tells her he'll marry her on the condition that she gives up her entire life to him, become his possession (his exact words) and that this arrangement will be strictly a one-way street. She simply cannot wait to agree to this wonderful bargain. These are just a couple of examples; there are plenty more.
Francis Matthews does an excellent job of narrating, and he has my sympathy. There is not nearly enough story to distract from the grotesque relationships. I don't know what Ms. Allingham was ingesting while composing this one but I am going to do my best to forget it and hope that the next in the series will return to some semblance of reality.Thoroughly NOT recommended.
(Note: I use my stars sparingly; five stars is reserved for great, world-changing, timeless literature)
Interesting how individual and subjective humour is...I find Block's writing in the Burglar series very funny, enhanced IMMENSELY by Richard Ferrone's narration. Ferrone does a star turn at capturing the sardonic, self-deprecating character of Bernie Rhodenbarr. Though Rhodenbarr might have a slightly askew moral compass, he is essentially good-hearted and is (in his own words) "just another poor bastard working late." The story is engaging, with some nice twists and turns, but what really makes me want to come back again and again is Block's turn of phrase, his avoidance of the same old descriptions and his wise-ass humour.
While there are visits to some slightly seedy locations, there is no violence or graphic sex for those who prefer to avoid these things. This does not render the story bland, by any means. Highly recommended.
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