I've never read any J.K. Rowling, since I don't really like children's literature (or even young adult), but thought her writing might have something to recommend it since so many youngsters rave about her books. Also, as a mystery/thriller fan, I'm usually bored by mere daily-life stories, so really stepped outside the box on this one. It starts with a death and ends with about the saddest funeral scene ever, which are commonplace enough; but what goes on between those pages was amazing. No murderers, but one serious plan and one guy who thought he himself was one. How did J.K. invent a personality like that? Plenty of intrigue, too, so I didn't really miss the mystery.
Plus, Tom Hollander is such a great reader I hardly noticed him at all, which is how it should be. I looked for more books read by him, but guess he's too busy being an actor to narrate much. Figured he must have something else going on, or there would be hundreds I think.
I don't know how J.K. could create a sequel, but will be looking for more like this.
I have several other Jennifer Crusie books that I really enjoyed, but this one, though some of the dialogue was fun, just dragged on way too long. I had thought Jennifer Crusie could probably make anything entertaining, but I guess there's only so much you can do with a bunch of dead people as your cast of characters. Kids that are either sulking or screaming most of the time don't help the situation, either. I got halfway through, though, so perhaps would have finished if most of the nonessential moaning and blubbering and bed-hopping were removed to make a book of half the current length. I guess I'll give up on Jennifer Crusie, though. Just not consistent enough to be in my "favorite author" category.
They say authors should write what they know, and I assume Marti Green did some of that, but not the parts that interested me. I thought the premise sounded promising, with murdered children in the woods and someone facing execution for it; but the parts dealing with the legal proceedings and private investigations were disappointingly weak, while most of the book focused on the humdrum dealings of working and stay-at-home moms dealing with disabled and diseased offspring. There are good books out there dealing with those subjects, but I wasn't expecting it in a murder mystery. All that aside, it was just appalling how inept virtually all the professionals seemed. Total amateurs. I like to learn something from legal, medical, and police procedural novels that I read, though I know they are fiction; but this one taught me nothing. And I knew whodunit almost from the start. No challenge.
As for the narrator: though I usually really like that kind of light fast-paced voice, NOT when it's having to strain that much to differentiate a bunch of male voices. It kinda hurts to listen to that. They do make computer equipment that can simulate voices, if she really thinks she needs to sound like a man. Seems like it would be a good investment, if for no other reason than to protect her own perfectly lovely voice. Really, you can get nodules on your vocal cords fooling around like that.
This was a really interesting book, but I never would have bought it if I hadn't realized how to deal with the reader. It wouldn't be the first time I'd have opted for the print version, or passed altogether based on a response to the audio. I really disliked her, and noticed some other reviewers had the same reaction. So I was going to put her on my list of readers to avoid, but then realized I had another book in my library read by her, and had rated her just fine. Then I realized that I'd accelerated the playback speed somewhere between 30 and 50 percent on that book, and for some reason that totally fixes her. That aside, I found that looking back on that era was quite sobering. Could it be only 50 years ago that this country was as bigoted as some of the countries we sneer at now for their backward societies? Well, shake it off. It was quite a story, and parts were even lighthearted and very entertaining.
I thought the story was pretty solid until the end, which got a little wobbly. However, I really didn't care for Kevin Collins' personification of the main character. His voice just didn't sound likely as a defense attorney. I know they all don't sound like Perry Mason, but I never heard one who came off so whiny and kind of pathetic. For that matter, I think it would have been a good idea to make friends with some lawyer or maybe just sit in one of their bars and start a conversation about what they might do to resolve a situation such as that at the end of the book. I think it needed more work.
I really think Dean Koontz is a very good writer, but why does he think he needs all the fantasy junk to make a good story? It's not like there isn't enough real evil in the world for him to write about. I kept listening up to the point that I figured there would be no natural or scientific explanation coming out of the woodwork, but really, there aren't enough hours in a day to spend 15 of them listening to something like this. I guess I'll keep it in my library for next Halloween, since I always like bizarre crap for that particular holiday, but really, I can't recommend this for anyone who thinks they want a good mystery/detective novel.
I'm willing to accept authors' fantasies about how dogs think about things most of the time, but this just looks like Paul Auster got tired of writing this book and decided to hack it off with a scene that is not only unpleasant, but carries the fantasy way too far. Though some humans apparently have played games like that, it's stretching too far to think that a dog would do it. I hate it when authors don't do their homework before starting to write.
When I find an author I like, I always check whether there are other audio books by the same author; and if not, I go to Amazon to find books not yet recorded. Nothing! How could he do such a good job the first time out? I take my hat off to you, Mr. McKenzie. Mark Bramhall really worked out well as the narrator, too. More, please!
I suppose this could appeal to the young adult action/adventure crowd, but I personally prefer more complexity to plots than just a bunch of mindless spooks running around the world torturing and killing each other in every imaginable way. Shallow character development and monotonous narrator presentation round out my top three criticisms. The one positive attribute is that it sure does make the life of an assassin sound unappealing. For what that's worth. Just plain gruesome.
I would have rated this book much higher if not for a couple of episodes that really put me off. First, there was the sex scene, which didn't seem quite plausible: that two educated, sophisticated professional people would jump into bed so casually. But then, the story was set in the '80's, so unprotected impulsive sex might be a way to reflect history, if it wasn't just that an agent told the author that some kind of sex was a contract requirement. I started to wonder if the book was written by committee, but the story picked up and moved on quite alright so I stopped being critical until the end. There, the protagonists, who had held the high moral ground to that point, suddenly became incredibly bloodthirsty and civically irresponsibly, leaving me with the notion that the author just got tired of writing and decided to wind it up any old way.
The only mystery was "why did I buy it?" I'd had a couple of other Koontz books that I liked well enough, but this one seems to be just an unending collection of every sort of teenage mutant zombie alien psycho nonsense that has ever been published. At least I'm guessing it's unending, since I wasn't able to finish it. There were a couple of characters whose fate I'd have liked to know, but just couldn't stick it out.
Sometimes I like to consider what could be done with a book by eliminating or altering characters or storylines or changing the narrator to make the book readable, but this one just wouldn't be worth the work. I wish Audible would screen it's categories better, so I wouldn't have to do so much research before purchasing.
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