Indiana, USA | Member Since 2014
After reading (and loving) his most recent novel, Safe House, I worked backwards and bought this book, the first of his "The Good Thief's Guide to...." and that's when I discovered that I also love Charlie Howard, Ewan's dashing, but hardly angelic, main character.
Charlie's a writer of crime mysteries, and it's no wonder because Charlie himself enjoys a little larceny in between writing projects. Although his moral compass is a tad off-kilter, he's basically a very likable fellow with a sharp wit and a non-violent streak. It's not about the haul really, but about the thrill and excitement. OK, so it's about the loot too, but that thrill and excitement stuff is important.
Charlie's currently in Amsterdam penning his latest book, but he's having trouble with it. So, while seeking inspiration, he takes a break to indulge in his favorite pasttime, but things go terribly awry, and as usual, Charlie gets involved in a spiderweb of tangled intrigue.
As I write this review, I'm finishing the final book in the Good Thief series, and I'm delighted to say that each book has been pure fun! I'm so thankful that I discovered Chris Ewan. It's been a wonderful journey.
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.
I just loved this book, period, and Scott Brick's performance was, as always, perfection. The storyline, with two brothers as the protagonists, a cast of questionable characters whose motives you're never entirely sure of until the end, and some goosebump-inducing villains who relentlessly chase our heroes, The Millionaires is pure edge-of-your-seat fun! This novel has it all...excellent character development, unique plot with the requisite twists-and-turns you'd expect from a great thriller, and wonderfully smart and witty dialogue.
I loved the relationship between the brothers, and Meltzer does an excellent job of making their relationship seem authentic and engaging. They aren't really the kind of guys you'd expect to conspire to stealing $3 million dollars but given the unique circumstances behind the money, it hardly even seems like a "crime" in this case. In fact, as one of the peripheral characters points out, there's only two kinds of "perfect" crimes: 1. One in which the criminal dies; or 2. One in which no one even knows a crime has been committed. The brothers are banking on the latter. But, of course, as these things have a way of doing, it goes awry right out of the gate. The action is fast-paced, relentless, and you won't want to put it down.
As far as the performance, Scott Brick is one of my most favorite narrators, and he was the perfect choice for this smart, sexy novel. He's got fantastic material to work with here, and doesn't disappoint.
If you waste a credit on "Tell Me You're Sorry", you'll be sorry alright. I plodded through 3 hrs of this turkey, hating nearly every minute of it, before I finally pulled the plug. This hot mess will have you saying, "God, this is awwwful!" every 5 mins. or so. The story, the performance, the everything about this, is boredom personified.
I wish I could find a silver lining, something positive to say, but honestly, I couldn't possibly care less who killed whom, let alone the why of it. And the narration...gah! It was like adding insult to injury. This guy can't do character voices, period. Everyone ends up sounding snobbish with only slight variations, even when they're supposed to be sympathetic. His performance was as ghastly as the author's work so, I suppose, in a horrible twist of fate, they were perfect for each other.
There are too many great novels out there to waste your time or money on this tripe. I don't know if this author has other works to his credit or not, as you couldn't pay me to try another one of his creations, but this one is simply awful.
I really enjoy Gillian Flynn's writing, and this is no exception. She creates characters who are deeply flawed and relatable, and her storylines are riveting and unique. This is a whodunit, and while the action isn't fast-paced, she does a great job of moving the plot so that it captures and retains your attention. The narrator gives a superb performance, creating distinct voices for each character that makes them easily recognizable.
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