Louise Penny is an obviously skilled writer, but many of her characters' actions require much credulity of the reader. I regret I cannot be as enthusiastic as previous reviewers.
Unlike other reviewers, I liked the author's reading. She speaks clearly and does not over-act the characters. This leaves more to the listener's imagination and calls more attention to the carefully crafted words. However, I advise other customers to try the audio preview to decide for themselves.
The novel itself is one of the best I've read/heard in the past year.
This is a well-written mystery, and I will likely try the next book by this author.
Unlike the previous reviewer, I thought Tony Britton reads rather well. The "crying, drunken man" character is perhaps excessive, but it is a tiny fraction of the total narration.
The plot has a brisk tempo and kept me interested. However, there are some flaws that may deter me from buying more books by this author.
The chief problem is that the characters' actions are simply illogical. When confronted with problems, they do not try the most obvious solutions that normal people would attempt. (I must be vague to avoid revealing any plot.) This makes the characters less believable and the story unrealistic.
It kept me amused during a long drive. I don't regret buying this audiobook, but will not buy anything else by this author.
It's unfortunate that there is not an alternate recording of this novel. Frederick Davidson has done excellent readings of other novels. But in this one, he is a serious detriment to the story.
It may not be so apparent from the sample recording, but Davidson chooses an oily, languid, effete tone for the third person narrator. He lazily draaaaws out syllables and ends phrases with rising inflections, making them sound like questions?
Perhaps he intends to portray some cynicism of the main character, but he really goes too far. An otherwise gripping first battle scene sounds almost satirical.
Audio quality is terrible for the first hour or so, but it is acceptable for the rest of the book.
The story itself is excellent -- le Carre at his best.
I usually don't pay too much attention to the readers of audiobooks, but this one almost ruined the experience for me. He speaks with exaggerated, unnatural inflections. At times he sounds like a TV commercial (one can imagine him saying,"Try new FlavorFresh(TM)!"). At other times, he sounds like he is telling camp stories to first graders ("and THEN, the scaaaaary monster JUMPED out of the closet!!").
I found this reading strangely incongruous because the narrator in the novel is supposed to be an introspective and thoughtful thirteen year old.
The novel was otherwise enjoyable, so I was almost tempted to just buy the paperback version.
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