Indiana, USA | Member Since 2014
Dark Places is a fascinating story but not a fun read. The book takes pity on no one, least of all it's readers. This truly is the stuff of nightmares, one sadistic chapter bleeding over into the next. Although a work of fiction, Ms. Flynn's unflinching wordsmanship embues it with the realism of a true-crime whodunit. The saving grace, for me at least, was that I could repeat the mantra, "It's only make-believe" when the scenes became a little too intense for my sensitive nature.
Although I covet Ms. Flynn's talent, I wouldn't take it at any price if it meant having to live in her head (ditto Stephen King). Dark Places is not just an aptly-named novel, but probably an apt description of the author's warped imaginings. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stopped at "Gone Girl" and skipped this one entirely. And yet, as incongruous as it seems, I wholeheartedly recommend "Dark Places", just as I recommended "Gone Girl". The reason is simple: Despite the fact that they were dark and foreboding, that certain scenes will likely haunt me for a very long time, and that I can honestly say that I don't miss the characters (no, not a single one!), I am forced to admit that I thought they were riveting from start to finish. So, while I didn't like this book, I did love it.
And now, I'm going to run, not walk, to my bookshelf and find my copy of "Little Women" or "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and try to subdue some of the ghosts from "Dark Places".
I'm giving this book an average rating only because I've read much worse from other well-known authors but honestly, what a letdown. Coben's written some great thrillers (and also a few turkeys) but this isn't one of them. The storyline wasn't as much suspenseful as it was improbable and dull (I've had better scripted dreams), and I didn't particularly care about any of the characters either. The prologue just made matters worse.
The narration (NOT by Scott Brick, by the way, which one of the reviewers named) was average as well, but when you factor in what he had to work with, I can't fault him too much.
I could go down the line and list the holes and problems with this book (ie, EMS personnel do not hand out pills to patients to take home with them, for heaven's sake), but why bother. Simply put, not really worth a credit. Wait for a few years when it goes on sale, then spend $3 on it.
Omigosh, I hardly know what to do with myself now that I've finished this magnificent trilogy! After such a brilliantly written masterpiece performed to perfection by Simon Vance, I fear that any novel I pick up in the future will automatically fall short by comparison. I can't remember being so completely swept away by a story.
This novel continues the story of Lisabeth Salander and the conspiracy to silence her, leading to imprisonment in a mental institution in adolescence and under guardianship in adulthood. But Lisabeth is no shrinking violet...she has multiple talents and has developed resources, and she goes after her captors with a vengeance! In addition, she has attracted supporters from various sources who are also uncovering the multiple layers of this vast conspiracy.
The characters are richly developed and completely plausible, as is the storyline, and the narration by Simon Vance is perfection personified. Just as with the first two books, the action is taut and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I absolutely loved this story.
As most readers know, this trilogy was published posthumously as the author died prematurely and unexpectedly at the age of 50. I have read that he continued this story and had finished a fourth and fifth novel prior to his death, but due to lawsuits involving his estate between his relatives and his girlfriend of many years, they have yet to be published. I fervently hope they are able to resolve their differences as I'd love the chance to uncover the mystery behind Lisabeth's twin sister and her connection in the plot. This third book "finishes" the conspiracy satisfactorily, but knowing that the author had yet more surprises up his sleeve is driving me crazy!
Without a doubt, one of the most brilliantly written books I've ever read. I'm at a loss how to describe this trilogy without using the words magnificent, flawless, and brilliant. You will fall in love with the protagonists despite their many flaws, and you will despise the bad guys with a passion, of which there are many.
This story continues the saga of Lisabeth Salander and her hero, Mikael Blomquist, as they fight jointly and often separately to break the conspiracy that landed Lisabeth in a mental hospital at the age of 12 and now has her under guardianship. There are multiple layers to this juicy adventure, each more fascinating than the last. The action really gets going in this second book and if you're like me, you will find it nearly impossible to put down. I can't remember when I've had a better time listening to a book, and Simon Vance's performance is spot-on. He was absolutely the perfect choice, as flawless with his narration as the author was with his writing.
Hands down, one of the best thrillers I've ever read and it breaks my heart to know that this author is no longer with us. This trilogy, in fact, was published posthumously so he never knew the accolades he would receive for this magnificent work. His premature death at the age of 50 no doubt robbed us all of future literary masterpieces.
I don't possess enough superlatives to describe how in-love with this trilogy I am. The writing is so brilliant and Simon Vance was T-H-E perfect choice as narrator. If there is one word of caution, it would be this: Don't get bogged down with all of the lineage of the Vangor family, thinking I'll never be able to keep all of these relatives straight. For one thing, it eventually narrows to a relative few key players, and for another, it becomes easier as the plot develops. I only mention this because it was an initial concern for me but once I relaxed and just enjoyed the ride, the book became impossible for me to put down and I discovered that I was never lost. You will, however, get completely lost in this story and these delicious characters, divorced from your own life as the story takes wing and carries you away. And the best part? Books two and three are waiting for you, and they are every bit as artfully crafted and skillfully narrated as this one. I almost envy you the joy of discovery!
Will Robie continues to play the unlikely role of protagonist in this series as a top-line hitman, who is now tasked with taking out his female equivalent, Jessica Reel. Branded a traitor, Reel is following her own agenda and is acutely aware that Robie is on her trail. But is she a traitor, or are things not as they appear? You'll have to read it to find out.
While I think this book is credit-worthy, I think overall it's just average. I keep hoping Baldacci will rediscover the magic he had when he wrote "Absolute Power", which was such a superbly written story, with rich characters and an inspired, suspenseful plot. I've read several of his later books and none of them have recaptured the brilliance of that novel.
That said, it's a moderately entertaining story with some surprising twists and turns, and the pacing is good.
After reading the reviews comparing this to "Rear Window" and "Gone Girl", two of my favorite stories, how could I not check this out? I was delighted to discover that the reviewers were right on-target. While elements of both stories were there, the author put her own unique stamp on this book, making this story uniquely her own.
The main character, Rachel, is an unreliable train-wreck. She can't gain traction in the present because she's mired in the past. The few people in her life are becoming increasingly frustrated with her inertia, drinking, and behavior. As she rides the train every day, she obsesses over a couple she can view from her window seat who live in her old neighborhood. Then one day, she spots something unusual and the ride intensifies - for her and for the reader. There are so many wonderful twists and surprises, and I'll let you discover them for yourself as I did.
The narrators did a fabulous job as well, matching mood and inflection perfectly.
I highly recommend this novel!
As an SK fan, I never thought I'd advise anyone to skip one of his novels. Though they're all quite different - his talents really do run the gamut, unlike most authors - there's the King thread that winds through them all, and that's the Midas touch. This book, however, didn't contain that same thread or Midas touch. In fact, it didn't read like a King book at all. The character development, narrative flow, and descriptive flourishes were flat and lifeless. Nothing special, nothing memorable.
In brief, and without giving anything away, this story is about a pseudonym coming to life and creating havoc in it's wake, not the least of which is reserved for the author who inadvertently breathed life into him. Like a Stephen King novel, there's a protagonist who's surrounded by the supernatural and horror. Unlike a King novel, my reaction throughout was, "Is this thing ever going to end?" Talk about verbal flatulence...I thought some scenes, many of which took place only in the protagonist's head, would never end.
The dialogue, which contained little of the witty repartee and cleverness I've grown to know, love and recognize, seemed stilted and almost amateurish at points. And while you have to suspend most of the usual rules regarding order and logic with an SK book, characters still need convincing reasons to behave in certain ways. I had a lot of problems with the villain's actions, for instance. They seemed counterproductive to his ultimate aim.
The good news is, there's always a new SK book in the works. I'd save my money towards that one, and skip this particular odd lemon.
I hate giving bad reviews but I spent a credit on this turkey based on some of the positive reviews I read, and then felt misled. I was bored from start to finish, and the only light at the end of the tunnel was the promise of a kick-ass reveal in the end. Well, that most certainly didn't happen. I'd have bought any number of explanations...except the one given. But honestly, I'd mostly checked-out by then anyway.
In addition to a protagonist who I felt was never fully fleshed-out and therefore, unsympathetic, the storyline plodded along at the pace of paint drying. The writing was just average; not good enough to be inspired nor bad enough to be amateurish.
Regarding the narrator, he did a decent job given what he had to work with, so I can't fault him.
I love Gregg Hurwitz's books anyway but his writing just keeps getting better all the time. "Don't Look Back" is the ultimate, spine-tingling cat-and-mouse story, and will keep you glued to the pages. The protagonist is an unlikely heroine but proves her mettle when severely tested, and the bad guy, who is evil incarnate, is relentless. That's all of the storyline you're going to get from me...I wouldn't want to spoil a second of this adventure for anyone.
I devoured this book the first time through because I couldn't wait to find out how it ended, so I'm actually re-reading it already, this time savoring every delicious detail. "Don't Look Back" is definitely my favorite book on this summer's reading list.
Coming off a high after reading The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer, I had great expectations for "Dead Even". Alas, it was a big disappointment. New ADA Sara Tate, her job in peril from announced budget cuts, steals a case earmarked for a senior, highly-respected ADA in hopes of gaining attention and job security. Her husband, a defense attorney, winds up on the opposite side of the case when he is forced to represent the defendant and ordered to win the case by nefarious principals who threaten to kill his wife if he loses. Sara, in turn, is approached by her own thug, a "sunken-cheeked" man, who issues a similar threat, proposing to kill her husband if SHE loses the case. Uh-huh. And, of course, in order to protect the other, neither spouse reveals their respective threats to each other, setting up one debacle after another.
There are a number of things wrong with this book, starting with the fact that neither one of the protagonists are especially sympathetic or likable characters. They never felt "real" to me, they made incredibly dumb decisions for highly-educated people, and in the end, I wasn't invested in whether they triumphed or not. That's a huge problem to overcome. And the end of the story unraveled rather than unfolded. Everyone - protagonists and antagonists alike - started making ridiculous speeches and bone-headed moves (reminded me of the line of some movie: "If you're gonna talk, talk; if you're gonna shoot, shoot!"), and I didn't buy a second of it. The last hour was fairly excruciating but somehow, I slogged through it.
This book will undoubtedly appeal to some, and to you, I say I'm happy for you. But it didn't work at all for me. Especially from such a talented author as Brad Meltzer. Scott Brick does his best, as always, with the performance. I just wonder if he was as bored during the reading of it as I was with the listening.
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