Gorky Park is a detective novel set in the former Soviet Union. It is a dense book with many characters and a plot that seems to plod along - never boring but also never truly exciting. What made this story good, however, was the author's imagery. So many times I thought, "Wow that is a great description!" Also, the author's knowledge and understanding of the Soviet Union seemed very deep. I only hope that the bleakness described has been been lifted since the story was written. It was a fascinating novel if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of this.
The low part of this book, which lead to the title of this review, was the narration. The narrator was more a reader and less a performer. He needed better timing, better intonation, and better character voices for this story to work as an audio book. I felt lost sometimes in scene transitions and in dialogue.
This is a clever book in so many ways and it attempts to confront so many social and philosophical questions - questions all the way up to the meaning of life.
I read this story in high school and remember it being pretty good, so I decided to read it again. What I found was a much different book. Now I know why there were rumors about it being provocative. I must have read the cleaned up version, with none of the main character's sexual hang-ups. This book is tragic, sad, and thought provoking. I recommend it for a book club.
Pretty good story that celebrates doing the right thing when nobody is watching and when it would be easy to not do anything instead. The story concerns a simple man that is comfortable with his life as a machine model maker until a tragedy forces him into an adventure of a lifetime.
This is a sweet story and the hero is very likable. My only problem was with the story climax - it wasn't very climatic. Still I found this book very enjoyable. It made me long for simpler times when the world was a much bigger place.
Tell no lies is not bad - much better than other thrillers I've read (even by much more well known authors).
I almost put this book down early on, however, because I felt that it was sanctimonious. There seemed to be a hostile tone towards wealthy people that was hypocritical based on the actions of some of the characters. While this tone was very strong at first, it was moderated somewhat later on. I am not sure what the author was trying to say here (if anything) so I tended to ignore it.
The mystery was very good except for a few surprising clues that emerged towards the end that immediately ruled out suspects and made others fit. Also, I found the endings of the side story lines trite and saccharine. Overall though, the plot was well crafted and MOST characters were believable. I feel like this novel is worth reading if you have the time.You'll especially like this novel if you know details of San Francisco geography. Hurwitz has peaked my interest as an author.
I must admit that I've had Defending Jacob on my media player for a long time. I started this book several times. I found it slow and centered on suburban life with kids (something I don't know much about), and I just couldn't get into it. I am so glad that I gave this book one more chance. It was excellent.
The story starts with the murder of a middle school child. The asst. district attorney takes the case only to realize that his son may be involved. The story follows the trial of the son and raises some interesting questions, such as, "how far would you go to protect your child", "can violence be inherited and are we doomed to commit the sins of our fathers."
This book becomes a real page turner, and I could not put it down, which is rare for me. The book will keep you guessing until the very last moment. If you're like me, you won't see the ending coming. The story is told in retrospect and is mysterious in certain ways (perhaps a little too mysterious in some aspects).
I liked this book and I will be reading more of Landay soon. The style reminded me of Scott Turow. The narration was excellent and the narrator's style was well suited to court room dialogue, which was a large part of this book.
Shipkiller is an action novel that tells the story of a man who, upon being run over by a giant tanker named "Leviathan," loses his wife and almost his life. This event sets him on a quest to sink the giant ship.
The hero's quest is leads him to link up with a woman who's character is largely there to reveal things about the hero and so is drawn in pretty 1-dimensional terms. The hero also links up with the Mossad, which I still don't completely understand as to why. This linkage brings him in conflict with entire countries and allows for some political intrigue that I felt was a little out of step with the rest of the story. I wish that the author had stayed closer to a modern version of Moby Dick and played on the idea that obsession consumes. Instead this is more of a James Bond story where the hero has a mission that brings him in peril and political intrigue (and in love with a woman).
I think that this was a pretty fun story and the first two chapters cannot be beat as examples of how to start an action novel. The narration was good but very slow. I wish that the narrator would have talked faster and paused less often.
When I look back on the Harry Potter books it seems obvious to me now that Rowling (Galbraith) would move into mystery writing. The Potter books were all, at their heart, mystery novels.
This 2nd installment of the Cormoran Strike mystery series is even better than the first (which I also ranked as 5stars). The recurring characters continue to develop and become more complex and the scenes/imagery are rich and easy to become immersed in. I found this book difficult to put down.
I think that Galbraith (Rowling) is a great writer. Her characters come to life and in that way she reminds me of Charles Dickens.
This is an historical account of money/econonmics in all of its shapes and forms. The book is arranged in chapters that discuss:
1. The rise of money in society, credit and debt and how hard currency was replaced with paper.
2. The rise of the bond market and the Rothschild family
3. The stock market and the bubbles that it has produced (e.g., Enron)
4. The start of insurance and the management of risk
5. Housing an mortgages
6. The effects of globalization (e.g., China's economic development)
I found this book enjoyable to listen too, but there were times when I wish it had gone into more depth with the explanation of certain economic topics. Still the scope was large enough to give a layman like myself a good survey of topics. I especially liked chapters 1, 3, and 4 but I felt that some of the parts in the (chap5) housing discussion were a little preachy about social inequalities. Also I found the discussion on globalization a little dated - this book was written in 2008.
The afterward of this book was also interesting but raced through the topic of behavior economics (the irrationality of economics due to human nature) way too fast for me.
I would recommend this book to those of you that have like popular economic books (e.g., freakonomics, predictably irrational) AND also like history. You must like listening to history books to enjoy this.
This book had two distinct parts.
The first part, which I found very interesting, was a historical account of the philosophical arguments about reality. I think that I had heard most of these at one time or the other, but this author did an excellent job summarizing and tying them together.
The second part of the book I found less interesting. It was mostly a scientific discussion of quantum mechanics and other theories.
I suppose that the author intended to show that in these details of science we are back to the same old philosophical arguments that we couldn't answer before. This was an interesting argument but all of the details of all the science (e.g., quantum entanglement) started to bore me.
If you were born after 1980, believe that computers can do everything, and worship Google with awe and reverence then this story may be for you. This novel grew from a story posted on a website.
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