This book is delightful, especially for M C Beaton fans, who have learned to suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the odd characters that inhabit Hamish Macbeth's life and the author's amazing imagination. I expect her books to be fraught with plot twists and turns and unusual characters. The humor in this book revolved around the highlanders' belief in fairies, and I howled with laughter when listening to the description of the kingfisher's funeral.
The plot didn't exactly keep me on the "edge of my seat," but I was certainly fascinated by the crafting of the action and introduction of new characters and their motives. I've read other readers'/listeners' criticism of the personality and actions of the flat, amoral children, but I've seen that facial affect in the televised interviews with children of gang life. (I did think that the European escape was a bit "over-the-top", but I dismiss devices like this as part of M.C. Beaton's charm.) As usual this plot is a mixture of the familiar (Hamish's troubles with his superiors, the village characters, the desire by Macbeth to keep his beloved friends out of the murder investigation) with unusual devices that make the action complicated and interesting (the Russian who wants the nursery property as a site for his mansion). I loved it. I don't require M.C. Beaton to be believable at all times.....how could you possibly believe Nessie and Jessie with their verbal repetition and outlandish accusations about Hamish's love life? But it works.
Malcolm has a sense of timing..pausing between scenes, changing voices in a subtle manner so the listener always knows when the speaker changes, but effecting the change in an unobtrusive manner....no screeching or phlegmy voices. His voices add a sense of continuity and realism to the Scottish brogue.
I will never forget the hilarity of the kingfisher's funeral.......so funny and outlandish.
Never. I require that authors not have a hidden agenda when they lay out the facts. This book touts the exteme intelligence of George W Bush, the cleverness of Ronald Reagan, lists the plethorra of books they read during the White House...then describes President Obama as "reading for public effect"..and, when his advisors are asked about the current reading material, the authorstates that his reading is "played out before the adoring media." The rest of this section is used to downgrade Obama's intelligence and literacy. This, after years of listening to former presidents utter semi-intelligent responses to questions, while the current president was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. I listened to nasty comments on virtually all of Obama's policies..and wondered who paid for the writing of this book.
I am offended that the author portrays Pres. Obama as simply a fabrication of the pop media....especially in light of how earlier presidents are treated...particularly the Republicans. This author even attacks the fund raising in the last elections, but not in any previous ones. He apparently forgot the brouhaha surrounding the funds spent in the Reagan White House. Obama's attraction to celebrities is criticized.....but not Ronald and Nancy Reagan"s. This is a political diatribe....against an outsider and a black man as well. Shame.
This book is so depressing that, even though I'm was a literature grad student, I will never listen to it again. Death, disease, infirmity, sadness, senility....if this pleases the reader, I would recommend the collection of stories. The authors have terrific reputations, but I ended up depressed and dreary.
Ms. Lockford reads the stories with as much life and energy as a good narrator could..but the stories are miserable....Her voice does give the difference in inflection and pitch so that the characters are differentiated. I'm sure that she had difficulty making her voice cheerful in the midst of death and misery.
I suppose the stories have literary merit, but I don't listen to books to analyze the authors use of plot, character, setting, and theme..which is what college students do with texts. I don't require that the books I purchase from Audible be all sweetness and light, but this was ridiculous.
If you're borderline depressed, avoid this book at all costs.
No I wouldn't read anything this self-absorbed and semi-educated author would decide to inflict on the public.
Because of his biography, I expected a literate, informed story. This author is so self-absorbed and arrogant that I winced constantly. If these stories reflect his outlook on life, I would travel half-way around the world to avoid having to listen or read about him in the future.
I can't imagine anyone listening to this narrator whose voice is atonal, lacking in inflection and irritating.
I don't know. Didn't get beyond the first 30 annoying minutes.
This book is boring....so sad after the three previous Keller tales. The characterization of Keller's wife is beyond ridiculous, and the conversations between the two droned on and on with the most idiotic convolutions that I simply couldn't finish listening.
The tediousness of the conversations bored me to death....In the other Keller books, the conversations advanced the story, but, in this book, the dialogues simply made me irritated. The description of the various "hit man" episodes were so minimal that I finally almost fell asleep. In addition, I don't believe the relationship between Keller and Julie for one moment.....her silliness in devising situations to test Keller and her participation in the murder for hire were ridiculous. (I also found it interesting that, on the cruise, Julia and Keller didn't mention their daughter's existence or the fact that they'd left her behind....not normal for the devoted parents that they are portrayed to be.) Interestingly, the philately and the information surrounding Keller's hobby was fascinating and not at all tedious.
Richard Poe's ability is excellent...He doesn't attempt to change his voice or use falsetto for female characters, and, yet, I found it interesting that I never questioned the identity of any of the characters.
I was so excited that Block had finally released a new Keller book, and this was a huge disappointment. It's almost like he didn't have a good editor to help him with the pacing of this book. If this had been the first Keller I'd read, I would never have attempted another.
Hire a different narrator. I read the hardback version of this book and was looking forward to listening to the audio version. I did not expect to be chronically irritated and distracted by Reynolds' phlegmy, gutteral, whiny versions of the voices...to the point that I removed my earplugs every time Jesse Ventura began to speak. Also, he mispronounced simple words in the text. What a shame. This is a terrific story that was ruined by a totally inept narrator.
Burt Reynolds was a charming actor, and I've heard him read one other Parker book. In the other novel, his voice didn't flummox me with its grating, unrealistic tone. In CHANCE the narration was so distracting that it was impossible to ignore its poor quality to listen to the story. It sounded as though he needed to clear his throat or nose. In addition, I resent the mispronunciation of words over and over again. Very unprofessional.
I would edit every scene in which Shirley Ventura appears. The scene between Spenser and Shirley in a restaurant was overly long and painful to read, and her drunken, loutish behavior didn't contribute to the story.
This is one of my favorite Robert Parker books and Robert Parker is one of my favorite audio book authors. This plot is different, because there isn't a murder mystery to be solved, but a complicated issue of seeing to it that a neglected, young boy is prepared to lead life as an adult---and, then, unraveling the sordid pasts of his parents so that he can live as he wishes with no interference from his miserable, self-absorbed mother and father. I loved this book.
The moment when Spenser admonishes Susan and tells her not to be "ordinary: because she's jealous of the time he has spent away from her. I enjoyed the fact that her reaction to Spenser's absorbing attempt to care for Paul (who appears in later books) was selfish and self-absorbed. I enjoyed the fact that Paul understands that she resents him. And I enjoyed the fact that she does "come around" but only with limitations. Parker does not go for the stereotypical "feel good" solutions.
My favorite scene occurred when Spenser tells Paul that he was right about his plan for the boy's future and Paul asks, "What..do you want a Nobel Prize?" The "smart" response showed his increase in self-confidence and his adaptation of Spenser's repartee for his own personality.
Jog a mile, punch the bag, expand your mind...grow up!
The character of Maddie made me laugh as she resisted Spenser's desire to help her/change her/improve her life. Her attitude toward life was both realistic and sad, but I giggled as she resisted Spenser and Susan's attempts to improve or change her approach to negotiating her days. She absolutely tolerated no coddling, no interference with what she perceived as the "right" approach to avenging her mother's death, and, yet, small insights about her feelings emerged with such hints as the fact that she had a toy tiara on her head when Spenser first visited her.
None of the characters reacted in a stereotypical fashion.....the convict was not grateful for Spenser's help, the "dirty" cops don't get their comeuppance, the old foe ends up being sympathetic at the end. But Hawk is always Hawk, and Spenser is always Spenser.
Maddie is spectacular. Mantegna does a good job with her cynical voice. I will always remember the scorn in his/her voice when she announced that the "cops" gave her a card so she could see someone to talk about "her feelings and crap."
Maddie is my favorite, but Mantegna does a great job with the by-play between Hawk and Spenser. His "Hawk" is, by far' the best of all the narrators.
Spenser Meets His Match.
I thoroughly enjoyed the snippets of parallel history that Parker inserts periodically and, because I'm a history buff, I considered that, because I was learning new and interesting historical connections, it was time well spent. I also liked the fact that Parker's characterization of Wyatt Earp dovetailed with his descriptions of Virgil Cole in his other western series. Unfortunately he peopled this story with rather colorless characters, unlike Pony Flores, Hitch, Allie and Laurel who made the Cole series crackle with life.
I might recommend this book to people who enjoy history, especially western history, because I know that Parker researched the Earp history carefully. I wouldn't recommend it based on a compelling narrative or spine-tingling action.
Unemotional, flat, mediocre
Perhaps, but the movie has already been made with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.....with variations to the story. The movie script was more compelling than this story.
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