The Hot Rock, for my money, remains one of Westlake's funniest books. The introduction to Dortmunder, his ne'er-do-well thief and caper organizer, still makes me laugh out loud frequently.
I began to listen to Jeff Woodman's new narration with hesitation. I had previously listened to (several times, years ago) Michael Kramer's 1998 recording from Books-on-Tape, and thought that it couldn't possibly be surpassed. But about an hour into the listen, I knew that Woodman was doing a masterful job. Chuckles continue to escape from me as I listen.
If you are looking for a good listen that will make you laugh, try this one out. It has become a classic for me!
I enjoyed this book and was immediately engaged by the narrator. I felt the voice she used invited sympathy with the main character, Claire. The writing drew me in to the story and I found it an easy listen.
Interesting story about the art world and art forgery. The plot is cleverly built around a real historical figure (Isabella Stuart Gardner) and the unsolved theft in 1990 of a number of paintings from the museum in Boston that bears her name.
I would have given it 5 stars except for the fact that a number of phrases, sayings and other things are repeated in more than one place in the book. It's kind of like the author forgot that this had already been said and no editor picked it up. I'd say this happened about five times, which I found disconcerting.
Otherwise, a great read that grabbed my interest from the start!
As I began to listen, I had forgotten that this is a "prequel" and takes place in 1914, beginning on the day that the assassination in the Balkans takes place, "a fine summer's day" in England.
My first thought was "All those readers who keep saying they want to see the last of Hamish will get their wish, at least temporarily," while also thinking - will I like Ian Rutledge from before the war?
I have to admit that for the first couple of hours I was puzzled and confused because Rutledge has to go from case to case to case (Old Bowles on the rampage), and the cases are all over the country as well as involving different characters and local policemen. Consequently, the setup for this one is, like some of the recent books in the series, quite complex and may try your patience. But hang in there. There is a method to the madness, and once this first bit is out of the way, I thought this entry was superb. I had trouble stopping once it got going and will say no more about the mystery.
It is fun to meet some of the characters that you have previously been introduced to only as a look at the past, and I think it helped flesh out Ian Rutledge as a real person. We meet his Jean and her family and see much more of his relationship with sister Frances and family friend Melinda Crawford.
The narrator, Steven Crossley, is one of my favorites (he reads the Shardlake series), and does a creditable job of distinguishing most of the myriad of characters.
Kept me thoroughly engaged and I loved it!
I was curious when I saw the length of the book and wondered if an author could do justice to a good, complex thriller in that time frame.
The story was interesting, shifting from present day to 15th century and back many times. The shifts are well marked (important). Takes place in Germany (German author - good translation ). I found there's a nagging sense of the supernatural in the tone, and I was hoping the author could resolve it without going there.
So I listened to it. And as it's wrapping up, the one puzzler as to whether the supernatural or time travel was involved has not been answered.
And I swear, practically in the middle of a sentence that is beginning a next chapter, the narrator says: "to be continued..."
In my opinion, if the author had left it where Anna is wondering if she has imagined her encounters with Bastian, that would have been satisfactory. Kind of leave it to the reader to decide. That makes this book something that could stand alone, and I would have given it a better rating.
I don't know whether, all in all, I liked the story enough that I would want to continue with the series. I think a series based on a modern-day writer researching crimes of the past might be interesting, and I don't know whether that's where this author is going.
This was a cute, if very predictable, prequel short story for the Royal Spyness series. I know; it was free.
I must object to Kathryn Kellgren's narration of late. She continues to treat everything that happens (with her voice inflections) as if some momentous or horrible event is about to occur - when it definitely isn't. The last full book (Queen of Hearts) was full of these outbursts and got very tiresome. Previous to Queen of Hearts, I have greatly enjoyed all the books of this series, and laughed all through Georgie's adventures, cherishing Kathryn Kellgren's narration.
I hope Rhys Bowen and Kathryn Kellgren are both able to recover their earlier form in Georgie's next adventure!
Reading this book made me feel like coming home. Louise Penny's writing is so exquisite and her characters are so memorable, it is a real gift to be able to have a new one to read or listen to. And I love to listen to these books. I have listened to several of them over again, which I can't say of many other authors. Ralph Cosham's voice is just perfect for these stories and I love the way it slides over the French names and exclamations. His mastery of the many voices of French Canada is wonderful. The pacing and cadence of his voice is unmatched.
In The Long Way Home, Gamache has begun a new life in Three Pines, but of course we knew he wasn't finished detecting. The bonus is that all of our favorite characters become involved in this one to some degree. I don't need to say more than that, just get this one and enjoy.
If you are not already familiar with the Armand Gamache series, just go back and listen to the first one (Still Life) and proceed from there. You won't be disappointed.
Let me preface this by saying that this was my first Alafair Burke novel. I didn't know what to expect.
I was disappointed with Audible (or the publisher) that the "book details" gave away so much of the story. It seemed that I must have listened to over an hour of the book before I heard anything new!
My first impression as I listened was that it was set up the way Mary Higgins Clark frequently sets up her novels: several different threads begin and eventually come together as the story is woven into cloth. I didn't know at the time that Alafair Burke has written a series with Ms. Clark. I also didn't know that she is the daughter of James Lee Burke (whose beautifully-written series I found depressing, so I gave up after the first one).
That being said, I enjoyed this story, and liked the twists and turns. I empathized with Alice's bewilderment, and appreciated the use of a Facebook account as a plot device.
I find that the "separate threads" method is difficult when I am listening to a book, and means that I end up going back a lot and listening again when I realize the narrator is no longer talking about the same person or place. But I did get used to it and realized I had to pay closer attention.
Worth an attentive listen!
I'm so annoyed at myself for giving Faye Kellerman another chance. I have liked a number of her books in the past. I think that her point of view of a family living an Orthodox Jewish life (always in the background and often coming to the foreground) is an interesting and different addition to these character-based police procedurals. There is almost always a strong family story that is a component of Kellerman's books, which frequently lend a reality as well as contrast to the sometimes gruesome crimes that our hero, Lieutenant Peter Decker, investigates for the LAPD.
But this one, which had two basic story lines which fractured further into additional subplots, had an unsatisfactory ending that to me made no sense. I can't go into it further because it will spoil any other reader's journey through the story.
I felt this was an example of a really interesting book which was quite enjoyable as I was reading it, but was ruined for me by a lame ending.
I have to say that the first time I listened to this first book in the Phryne Fisher series, I wasn't crazy about Miss Fisher (an earlier review of mine states that emphatically). But I liked the setting of Australia in the 1920's enough to give Phryne another try, proceeding to listen to about 10 more of her stories so far over the past couple of years.
Through those books I've become very fond of Phryne and her quirks, her thoroughly modern point of view, and her escapades. I recently discovered that there was a television series made about her and watched the first episode. I was happy to have pictures of the period (the cars and the clothes, particularly), but I remembered nothing about the book from watching the first episode (also called Cocaine Blues).
So I decided to give the book another listen. I think that I enjoyed it so much more because it reminded me of where Phryne met and befriended Dot, Bert and Cec, and gave a little background on Dr. MacMillan. Since I'm now I'm aware of Phryne's quirks and attitudes, as well as her generous spirit, I was able to be more sympathetic to her and see her as a person.
I guess my point is: (1) If you are a Phryne Fisher fan but also recall the first book as unsympathetic, give it another try.
(2) If you are NOT a Phryne Fisher fan and decided not to proceed with the other books after reading this one, please give her other books a try and come back to this one after that!
This is my favorite of this series, not because the mystery is any better -- and let's face it, we really don't read Bernie for the mysteries. I love it because the introduction of Raffles the cat adds a whole new dimension to the characters of Bernie and Carolyn. As well as some really funny bits about cat owners in general and women cat owners in particular!
I read all of the Burglar books a number of years ago, and like many fans of this series, always hoped that Lawrence Block would write at least one more. Now a new one is coming out, so I thought I would listen to them all this time around. Block used to narrate these himself, but I definitely like the new narrator's voice. He does great character voices, which is so important for this series, which is all characters.
Very happy to be introduced to this new pair of investigators! Also like the fact that it is set in the Georgian period -- just a bit before Jane Austen. Harriet Westerman is the wife of a sea captain who spent time with her husband at sea and now is land-bound. Even though she has chilldren and a large house to supervise, she is eternally curious and likely to do things that women are not known for in her day, such as reading scientific tracts. Her neighbor Gabriel Crowther is an amateur anatomist. He has written one of these tracts proposing that human bodies can tell us about their manner of death, particularly in the case of murder. So when a murder occurs on Harriet's land, she seeks out her anatomist neighbor to help.
The language and portrayal of the customs of the day feel right and are not intrusive to the story. One reviewer I read was appalled by the author's use of water and lemonade as refreshments during that time -- however, that is a minor flaw. The rest of the book reads and sounds accurate.
The story is complex and has two story lines proceeding through almost the entire book. Listening only, I found myself getting lost occasionally. The story frequently switches from one setting and group of characters to another with little or no warning. Sometimes there will be a chapter heading with date and place, but often not. A slight pause in the narration would have been helpful each time the change takes place.
Overall a very good story and likeable characters -- I've put the next two books on my Wish List!
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