On the face of it, the book didn't seem like my kind of mystery. Sherrif in Wyoming? Sounded a bit like a Tony Hillerman book. Tony Hillerman's books are good, don't get me wrong, but this book is really special. The characters are human and very real, not stereotypes, the plot unfolds naturally, the dialog is right on. Nice, dry humor (just my style). And there is a real, plausible mystery at the heart of the story. George Guidall, the narrator, reads everything with just the right touch of irony. I can't recommend this book enough.
The characters start out being unsympathetic -- well, silly and somewhat stereotypical -- but the author managers to turn them into real people you care about. The story is set in Texas, with the pretty rich girl and the former college football star. The author is making fun of the stereotypes of Texas. I grew up in Texas, so it was really fun to read. But the author clearly loves Texas and turns the stereotypes on their heads.
The book is not a suspense thriller with action and heroics, but the story is surprisingly compelling and you really want to find out how the plot unfolds and how the story turns out. There is a mystery in the plot, but it unfolds against the character development. It's secondary to the relationship of the rich girl and the former football player.
She has a perfect Texas accent and captures the personalities of the characters. The narrator brings the characters to life.
The plot of the book is surprising and different. It's not what I expected. I downloaded the book because of the reviews -- they were good -- but when I first started to listen, I thought it was going to too light and silly for my tastes. But I kept listening, and suddenly I found myself really caring about spoiled Daddy's little rich girl. This is not your usual heroine.
The unabridged audio book is fun, but it "reads" different than the printed version. I think this is due to the narrator. He interprets some of the characters differently than I would. For instance, he reads the female parts in a high falsetto, which sometimes makes the female characters seem silly or whining, instead of dark and manipulative, and capable of murder. However, this is a minor annoyance in an otherwise very good narration.
If you've only seen The Thin Man movie, the book version is a real treat. Whole subplots were left out of the movie. This is great little book and I've listened to it several times. Lot's of fun.
Sorry that I agree with the others giving this a poor review. My problem with the book is that if you've read other biographies of the period and other biographies of Franklin, this book lacks historical context. Yes, there's lots of detail--and maybe that's what history has become these days. But the lists of details don't add up to give a true picture of the man or the issues he dealt with. To me, you can't read this book and come away with the sense of why Franklin was such a great man.
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