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.
It's a tough book at times but a crackerjack of a story all the same. Stanley Townsend is an amazing narrator; he manages to have very distinct voices for each of the characters. I do sympathize with another reviewer's complaint about "Tommy"s voice. I didn't find it annoying but I can see how someone might.
The story is one of no little brutality, about how cruelty and betrayal is handed down from one generation to the next. There is a LOT of profanity as well as stories told of past child abuse, rape and violence. It might sound like there isn't much to recommend the book but, in spite of my usual squeamishness, I really did enjoy it. There are a lot of twists and turns to the plot and a lot of sardonic humour.
Declan Hughes paints a vivid tale that hooked me from the very beginning; I couldn't stop listening until it was finished and when I was, it took me a long time to return to here and now.
I have enjoyed many of Rhys Bowen's books but this particular series has been going downhill recently. This particular one is repetitive and is stepping over the line into pure silliness.
However, the worst part by a long shot is the narration. The exaggeration of each accent was truly painful. The English posh are okay but, lord love a duck, when she starts on the American and Spanish accents, it's unbearable. In addition, the narrator overacts many of the characters, making them into cartoons. Between the shrill shrieking of the "Queenie" character, the hollering of most of the American characters and then dropping her voice for a few of the male characters, I was constantly turning the volume up and down.
I know it's supposed to be comical but there is a difference between some broad comedy and knocking all the scenery over for a laugh.
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.
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.
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