The first thing that annoyed me is wow, the author takes a LONG time to get this story going. I am not a person who requires a lot of action in a book to enjoy it; I enjoy thoughtful, relaxed-paced books but I really had to slog through this one. The story meandered all over the place with little reason for doing so.
The other thing that grated on my nerves were the numerous offensive remarks in the book. I know that will recommend it to many people but I had a hard time with what struck me as disdain for homosexuals, dismissiveness of women and the references throughout the book to "ragheads." There is only one woman in the book who has any action in the story and she is portrayed as insecure, opportunistic, both manipulative and easily manipulated. Granted, there are women like this, but there is lots of other language in the book that feels chauvinistic to me.
The main character is portrayed as irresistible to women but there is almost nothing to support this. He has an interesting background but is not is not an interesting character. He is touted as being super-smart but there is no evidence of that. I had a hard time figuring out what any women would find noteworthy, let alone compelling. The dialogue between the main character and the women he encounters is banal in the extreme.
I was left with the feeling that Griffin has a secret wish to be Mickey Spillane or possibly Ian Fleming but he's got a long way to go.
Dick Hill did a good job of narrating the book. I can't say I found anything remarkable about his narration but I would certainly buy another book that he narrated. Possibly he would do better with better material.
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.
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.
The story itself is mildly entertaining. This is lightweight fiction, very down-home, everybody's cousin and relative in a small town. It starts off slow and gets a bit more interesting as the book progresses.
Of course, we all have different tastes in narrators. This narrator (C.J. Critt) doesn't work for me on many levels. She reads FAR too slow for me. The pauses after every sentence, after every phrase drove me a bit mad. The pause between chapters was long enough that I kept thinking there was something wrong with my iPod. She injects a lot of drama into every word, even when it is background description or a casual conversation, considerably more than is called for in my opinion. The singsong emphasis really got on my nerves after awhile. I'm not that keen on her interpretations of men's voices.
It may work for you - just make sure you listen to a sample first, which is a wonderful feature of Audible. Sadly, I listened to the sample but accidentally put the book in my cart with several others and ended up purchasing it before I realized what I had done!
I have been really enjoying this series so thought I would pick up the .5 prequel. I found it very disappointing.
The book started out well enough and then got bogged down into painfully detailed descriptions of what are supposed to be exciting chases and battles, detailed to the point of describing EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Every blow. Every "new bloom of pain." Every counter-blow. Every stagger. Every rising back up. Every counter move. Falling down again. Another pounce. Then another. Another blow. Another recovery. Plus every thought that occurs to him though the entire sequence.
Yes, it was just as boring as what I have described here. I suspect that it would have been exciting if filmed but this sounded like a director's blocking out of every bit of action. To be fair, it was not helped by Luke Daniels matter-of-fact delivery of the chase and/or fight scenes, but I believe the main fault was with the editor. They should have advised Hearne to cut it by at LEAST half.
The rest of the books are much better so I would advise just skipping over this one and going right to Book 1.
I love the Campion series and the plot is satisfyingly full of twists. Good story but, most especially, the narrator is truly wonderful! David Thorpe captures all the different characters well with a really impressive repertoire of different voices for each. His delivery adds a great deal of well-placed comedic touches to the story. I am definitely looking for more books narrated by Mr. Thorpe.
There are SO many wonderful English narrators out there - why choose to ruin an Audible book by using an American narrator who is unable to produce even a reasonable facsimile of an English accent? Bernadette Dunne might be a wonderful narrator in her own native accent but not for this series. She lapses at times into Southern USA inflection. It is distracting in the extreme and basically ruined the story for me.
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