This is my first encounter with Maugham's work and these are gems. Characters, suspense, humor and pathos in 30 minute --more or less--chunks. The narrator is first rate. Looking forward to volumes 2 and 3.
I am a fan of James Lee Burke and Will Patton, but unfortunately I could not finish this book. While Burke's novels all have a dark side, this one is a black hole that squeezes the joy out of reading/listening. Aside from the musings of Hackberry Holland on love and mortality, the book is an unremitting series of heinous episodes of murder, torture and mindless violence. When halfway through a minister is crucified by a shadowy Russian mobster, I was numb and really didn't care anymore. That's when I decided to turn it off. The battle between good and evil is at the heart of much great literature, but in this case evil overwhelms the talents of an otherwise great writer.
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