First off: please ignore the many reviewers who seem hysterical about a little atmospheric music in the recording. It is simply the usual amount at the beginning and ending of large sections or major turns in the story. Their vehemence makes me think that they listened only to the first few minutes and gave up on the book. That is too bad. As in most audio books, the music fades away quickly and we just have the reader. Yes, the music is kind of dissonant and unpleasant and unnecessary, but I'd say the music is in maybe 3% of the audiobook.
It is certainly no reason to miss out on this intelligent performance of an intriguing book. It kept me engaged and at times on edge for hours of driving and walking. Pure King-ly pleasure. My pleasure was enhanced by having read or listened to all of the Dark Tower books twice or more, one of the most important reading experiences of my life. This story relates to those worlds. But the story is not dependent on the DT books and is highly engaging on its own. I also love the occasional bumping into story material from King's IT, another favorite of mine, as this takes place in Derry, Maine, and acknowledges the earlier events from the limited perspective of the new character.
Eli Wallach is an ideal choice as reader, since the protagonist is an elderly man. Wallach is a superb actor and just the perfect interpreter of this long, rewarding story.
This dark story is very engrossing and hard to put down. The story lines of the hero and his assistant deepen and move forward in a satisfying way. There is so much bad writing out there in the detective fiction genre that to find such craft as is found here is a refreshing quaff. The narration is first rate, with distinct and unstrained characterizations. Please keep them coming, Ms. Rowling, and I will keep listening!
I have enjoyed earlier books in the Jack Reacher series. Child seems to be losing it. The book is in the "Reacher is unjustly jailed as part of a big conspiracy" mode yet again (yawn). What's worse is the cartoonish, nonsensical actions that Reacher and the other characters take, as if the author feels no responsibility toward plausibility, just randomly writing down whatever comes to mind. Reacher and his companion are fleeing the police, FBI, and MPs on a winter's night in rural Virginia in a stolen Corvette and so they--of course--put the top down for kicks--because that is a sure way to avoid notice, right? It's like that over and over again. Simply junk.
I heard an interview with William Boyd discussing the book on The Guardian Books podcast. He was intelligent, witty, and I couldn't wait to read it. What a disappointment. The thin excuse for a plot takes an hour of listening before it begins, then meanders around without direction until it terminates with a whimper on an absurdly implausible note. The indeterminate ending is apparently a tee-up for a sequel. I won't be buying that one. The writing here is close to complete incompetence.
The writing is similar to the style I see from high school students attempting to write fiction--belabored exposition, assuming the reader is an imbecile; everything is explained and then over-explained and I just feel dragged into mud. There is no spark. There is nothing for the reader to do. He should learn to show action (as does a good writer like Ian Rankin, PD James, Ruth Rendell, James Ellroy) and let the reader get engaged and figure things out for himself or herself.
Speaking of imbeciles--what Einstein had the idea to make the narrator attempt "Danish accents" for all these Danish characters? That is just absurdly stupid, as if they are all speaking English to each other, with grotesque accents? The stupidity of that artistic choice--plus the painful inability of the narrator to pull of the bad idea--makes this very close to completely unlistenable.
Cartoonish action. Absurd dialogue pushing exposition. Just an implausible and incompetent mess of a book.
I love detective fiction. I am devoted to Robert Bloch, John D. MacDonald, Ross Macdonald, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and a few others. But I have read all they have written, and I have been disappointed with so many attempts to find new writers. They are often cutesy (hate cutesy), implausible, self-indulgent, badly written.
So I would not have tried this one had I not found out it was by J.K. Rowling, whose work I have always enjoyed. I was not disappointed. The story is original (not easy in detective fiction as the paths are so well-worn), the hero and his sidekick are intriguing, complex, and likable. The writing is--as you might expect--deft, elegant, and engaging.
I greatly hope that Rowling makes this a series. I can't wait to get back into that world and see how the lives of these characters develop.
I have been following the plan now for three weeks (male, 5'10" 215 lbs) and have lost 6 pounds. I was afraid of the idea of fasting, but the authors' assurances that it is okay and one is not going to drop dead are helpful, and they are right. It is not really that hard after the first day, which of course feels weird as a change in habit. I have also noticed the improved mental acuity and upbeat mood that research shows the intermittent fasting can enable.
Dr. Mosley's explanations of the science behind fasting and how it is natural for humans is first-rate and very accessible. The book is narrated by the authors; both have intelligent and pleasant voices. I am looking forward to reaching my goal weight in 40-45 weeks, and enjoying the health benefits of this simple program as I get there.
I was hoping for a more engagingly told story behind the science. It was fairly tedious and I gave up on it.
For some reason, I had avoided this book for years. Maybe it was the length, maybe just the odd title. I am so glad I broke down and chose it. It is a long, entertaining, wild ride. It is rather campy, cartoony, compared to other King books, and I was delighted to see that facet of his amazing talent.
It is a compilation of well-crafted and entertaining columns about quirky places and people in California. As has been said elsewhere, Hillinger works in a styles similar to Charles Kuralt or his successors at CBS Sunday Morning. I really enjoyed this book on a long drive.
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