Boulder, CO, United States | Member Since 2010
I didn't want this one to end. Le Carré is so refreshing after all the pointless schlock the espionage genre seems to kick out these days - mostly a contest to see how many bad guys can get blowed up in the shortest possible time. in contrast, this is an actual novel, with actual characters who actually develop! the only problem is that you'll find yourself wishing this was more like fiction and less like how the world is actually being run. if the novel doesn't make you uncomfortable, you might want to check if you still have a working conscience.
never heard of the author, so this was a crapshoot for me. I kept expecting it to be awful or at best mediocre. but it just kept getting better. what a happy surprise. and the narrator is first rate. if you're looking for an engaging sci-fi/mystery that won't insult your intelligence, try this one.
So, what was the thinking here, do you suppose? Hmmm, Ballard was English, so let's get a narrator who can do a really REALLY bad British accent? Did the producer think it would what? maybe cute-up this dark novel? it makes the book seem the epitome of what its author was so caustically satirizing. and it utterly wrecks Ballard's final novel, which is a shame.
the narration seriously distracts from the story. when he tries to do British, the reader is merely affected. when he tries to do women, he is laughable. this is unfortunate, to say the least. I was looking forward to a Ballard novel, but I sure the author would be rolling in his grave - or at least in the aisles - if he heard this.
Maybe it's great writing, though I doubt it; some of the lines were so hackneyed they made me laugh. This wasn't helped by Jim Frangione's melodramatic lilt, which made it all sound like a very bad SNL sendup. Maybe I'd have been able to take it seriously with another narrator, but not with this one.
Sanford is one of the few American mystery writers who can actually write. Crais, Lehane, a few others maybe, but too many seem to be putting their names on stuff written by aspiring English majors who went to too many writing workshops. Rant off, sorry.
But Virgil is always fun, ever ready with a felicitous turn of phrase, like "she had a fondness for little white truck driver pills she bought from little white truck drivers." And later, over a cheeseburger and fries after being on the receiving end of a major asskicking, he feels guilty: "When you get released from a hospital, shouldn't you eat something healthy? Lettuce or something?" ROFL
Eric Conger's narration is pitch perfect -- one of those magic books (in this case, a whole series) where the audio version is way better than reading it yourself.
The decision to have two narrators -- one male, one female -- read this book seems to me a bad production call. The guy says something, then the woman reader interjects (in her simpering delivery) "...he said. Then he sighed..." and the guy continues to read the male part. The material seems trite enough to begin with, but this tradeoff between dueling narrators -- in the course of a single *sentence* for crying out loud -- made this unlistenable for me. I remember enjoying several of Catherine Coulter's earlier novels so I gave this one a try. Maybe if it had been more professionally produced I would have liked this one too. But I'll never know. I deleted it after 30 minutes of "...he said..." alternate-reader interruptions.
maybe it's just me, but I can't stand narrators who embellish what they're reading as if to give themselves a self-important air. it's hard to explain, but this guy does it bigtime. on a more concrete note, there are all kinds of YouTube examples one could listen to -- if one were a supposedly professional narrator -- and an online dictionary even gives a clickable audio pronunciation, so why does Peter Berkrot continually say OlduVAY? Here's a free tip, Pete: if you want to sound self-important and super-knowledgeable, don't telegraph your ignorance like that. Olduvai Gorge isn't just any old place. It's the "The Cradle of Mankind.” You could look it up. Maybe this seems like a nit, but when a narrator clearly -- and literally -- doesn't know what he's talking about, the credibility of the book as a whole takes a serious hit. That may be subjective, but hey, these are AUDIObooks, and the experience of listening *is* subjective.
...and one of the best books on Audible. Brilliantly narrated -- and this is a difficult book to get all brilliant with, trust me -- The Cold Six Thousand will rearrange your sense of second-half 20th century American history. James Ellroy writes like an avenging angel on meth. And in this case, that's a good thing. Can't recommend this one highly enough.
"Broome looked at the remains of what had been a furnace two hundred years ago." Only Scott Brick's overwrought elegiac delivery could make that sound like the saddest thing in the world. Of course, it's not. It's just a physical detail of a crime scene. Brick constantly skews the sense of the sentences he reads, spinning them with a histrionic emotional english that distorts whatever it was the author intended them to mean -- and you're left to figure out what that might have been. But while you're figuring, he's off to bemoaning the cracks in the sidewalk or some x-random character's party dress as if it were the biggest tragedy ever to befall humankind. I thought maybe he'd gotten the message from readers to tone it down, but apparently not.
As to the book, if strip-mall philosophy stops you in your tracks and re-calibrates your sense of self, this is deep stuff indeed. Otherwise, it's all rather pedestrian -- except for the torture and psychosexual depravity, which I guess is to take the embarrassingly bourgeois edge off. Look, I love mysteries and thrillers and my standards aren't all that high, really, but whoever writes the treacly mainstream reviews for stuff like this are either tone-deaf or on the take. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book.
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