John Lescroarts has written about Hardy and Glitsky for about twenty years now. He may feel like he needs to break out into new territory, but I humbly disagree. He has made real lives of these fictional characters. They have not stood still, as many other writers of thrillers have done. They get married, raise children, have tragedies and successes, and climb in their careers, although in the ways that ordinary people do, not as some kind of Supermen. This book may be the last of the duo. Gina Roake is the star here, and she has a real history herself. The widow of David Freeman, perhaps the best lawyer in the San Francisco Legal community, Gina, who is now a partner of the law firm that bears the names of the protagonists, withdrew after the death of her husband. She now has taken on a murder case. Her first, this is a case of many facets. Gina believes that her client is innocent, a rarity. Most defense lawyers tend not to want to hear whether their clients are guilty or innocent., There is a strong circumstantial case against Stuart Gorman. The courtroom scenes hold your attention. Lescroarts is certainly not Grisham, but he knows how to create believable characters, a murder case with truly complicated aspects, and he has a dramatic touch that keeps you rooting for Gina. If you have not read any of the Hardy-Glitsky books, I recommend all of them. Some are obviously better than others, but you will be drawn into the lives of these people.You can't go wrong here.
He could have cut it in half. Although his readers have come to expect lengthy tomes from him, chock full of rambling detail, I find myself losing interest. So much expostulation, so much narrative, such story-telling gifts immersed in books that are like whales...I think I'll step off this train. Just too much.
Not Mr. King. Probably something read by Edoardo Ballerini. I'm hoping desperately for some humor, which seems to be utterly lacking these days. Maybe Thomas Perry has something up his sleeve. Quite possibly Tim Hallinan's sixth Poke Rafferty outing. Tim has so much fun writing his books, and the humor is just extraordinary. Tell his editors to Leave the Jokes In!
Not really. Will Patton has a very nice voice, very "lived-in," gravelly; in this instance, I think the narration is better than the material itself, although this can be an invidious comparison.
The story has some "push." You do get involved in the lives of some of the characters.
First, if Edoardo Ballerini narrated the whole thing. Second, if the plot were not so cookie-cutter, with simplistic characters like brave cop Zach and stunningly beautiful and of course fabulously intelligent Kylie McDonald. Also, if Mr. Patterson would step aside (which he may already have done) and let a younger writer with new ideas do the heavy lifting.
Just about everything, as above. I think Mr. Patterson is on the downhill slide of his truly amazing career, and I am betting that he is a mighty fat cash cow for his publishers, agents, etc. who are thus pressuring him to push out a book a year. Is everybody happy? Uh, not me. Even as a "beach read," this book has little other than Mr. Ballerini to recommend it.
Mr. Ballerini only adds. He never subtracts. This, IMHO, is a dumb question.
Again, I love Mr. Ballerini narrating almost everything except the historical novels about Venice, and so forth. I am just not a history buff. But you give him a good story to read, and he magically transforms it into a great book.
There still could be good books coming out of this setup. The sexuakl energy between Zach and Kylie is enjoyable. New York is an endlessly fascinating city (no, really). Murder mysteries are fun to read, at least the good ones are. Keep trying, Mr. Patterson, Maybe you should work for two years on a book rather than one, in spite of the intense financial pressures on you. Be brave. You're already a gazillionaire.
A lot. The plot meanders all over the place, even though the book is set in a small lakeside town. Also, the science fiction, woo woo, voodoo aspects of the story. There are unknowable mysterious happenings all over the place, and seers who conduct seances, and lots of twists and turns which serve mainly to lose the reader, and thus eventually bore him; that is to say, me.
The least interesting is the above. The most interesting, I think, is the main character, John Howell, who leaves his upscale, wealthy wife and life to hide out in this tiny town in Georgia. I liked him enough to almost finish the entire book, and I may actually do that at some point. Also, the narrator, Tom Stechshulte. He is easy to listen to and handles the Southern accents very nicely.
Calm. Soothing. Genuine.
I am not at all wild about this restructuring of the reviews. in fact, I really hate it. As it was, the narrative structure allowed me to say what I needed to say, rather than forcing me into these arbitrary Q and As.This style is not an improvement. Bring back the old school, please! Let me be me! And various other perorations.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, and particularly to fans of Edoardo Ballerini, who is the best narrator alive, IMHO. This is the third book in the carla Windemere-Kirk Stevens series, and I think Mr. Laukkenan can continue to draw from this well for quite a while.
The ending, Im think, is just right. Often authors cannot create excellent endings for their books, but here the author keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat, and wraps the novel in a very satisfying conclusion. We know that Carla and Kirk are never going to cross over the line, but Laukkenan tantalizes us with just enough buzz to keep that going.
I like absolutely everything this man does. At one point I thought that no one would ever surpass Frank Muller, but now I think the case is closed. Listening to Mr. Ballerini's narration is soothing in the best possible way, even when he is reading a thriller. He is a unique talent, and we are lucky to have him reading for a long (I hope) and illustrious career. He is just the best.
I think that the pathos of the young men who return from Iraq and are trained to become murderers for hire; this concept may have been done by others, but it rings particularly true here. These young men have been ruined, and then the villain brainwashes them into consciousless killers.
The book is quite long. 250 chapters is way too many, even if many of them are very brief. I didn't feel that there was much wasted narrative, even so. If you haven't read the first two books in this series, I recommend them very highly. There is talent in abundance here.
Faithful readers of mine will have heard me rave on at length about these two guys. I'm gonna do it again. Mr. Majestyk is both Leonard and Muller at the peaks of their careers, in the mid-70's. Both of them continued to do great work for several more decades. Mr. Majestyk appears in a later book by Leonard, when he is a seedy, broken down old judge in Detroit, if memory serves. In this book Vince Majestyk is a strong, brave, healthy young man who just wants to raise melons, have them picked by migrants and then sold to food brokers. His peaceful life is busted in on by gangsters who want him to use boozehounds to do the picking, rather than the skilled Mexican workers who follow ripening crops all over the country, earning enough money to send back to their families, but leading a nomadic, roaming life. Leonard sketches out his hero and several of the workers, in particular one very attractive young woman. It takes Leonard a few paragraphs to establish what lesser writers take chapters to accomplish. As I have quoted Leonard before, when asked why his books are so short, says, "I leave out the stuff that people don't read."
Mr. Majestyk resists the encroachment of these lowlifes onto his fields, and he soon runs afoul of one very fowl gangster, Frank Renda. The cat and mouse chase that the two men lead is so thrilling that you will genuinely have trouble stopping to do anything else before you finish this. THIS is why we read audiobooks.
Frank Muller was my favorite narrator for years, until he died, and then along came Edoardo Ballerini. Muller's voice is what we talk about when we say "mellifluous," that is, if we say that. His phrasing, pauses, voicing, nuances of individual characters: I could go on praising him for a long time. The book manages to be funny in addition to being everything else that it is. I won't spoil the ending, but you will probably see it coming from a mile away. The enjoyment is in the getting there. Majestyk's heroics are not overblown or cartoonish, although he does manage to off about a dozen bums in the book. The romance is very briefly sketched, but charming nonetheless. I was somewhere in the middle of about five books when I spotted this one: I dropped all the others and read this one start-to-finish without even thinking about the others. Not everything Leonard ever wrote was spectacularly good. A lot of it was. The same is true for Frank Muller. Once you have read Polar Star (please!) you will forgive Mr. Muller any lesser works, particularly since he is not the guy writing the books. The hit TV series Justified is based on a book by Leonard called Raylan. Any book involving Raylan Givens is well worth your time. I hope you have as much fun as I do with these gentlemen. It is a unique pleasure.
I think the only spook book I've ever read was The Spy who came in from the cold, and I read it because I had seen the movie, which I loved, and also because Frank Muller narrated it. I will listen to it again. I bought this book primarily because I love Edoardo Ballerini, who can, in my view, do virtually no wrong. However, the entire genre just does not appeal to me. Liars lying to liars, with multiple layers of lying above and below; cloak and dagger plots which are so convoluted that they are almost impossible to follow; characters who turn out to be uninteresting drones, living the expat life and being pushed all over the world so that they can't live normal domestic lives: you put this all together and it just bores me to tears. Mr. Steinhauer can write, and Mr. Ballerini is simply a delight to listen to. The book takes place mostly in Cairo, as the title indicates. There are a number of people who work in the CIA office in Cairo, and the plot centers on their involvement with a spook operation called Stumbler. Stumbler is a project whose intent is apparently to kidnap the Libyan revolution against Qaddafi by moving in at key moments and plaacing American personnel in positions of power, so that Libya post-Qaddafi will be manageable, and "friendly to American business interests." Fine. It's a fair bet that any character you might find a little bit interesting will be found in an alley with his throat slashed in just a few pages. There really is no one person who is the protagonist in the book. There are several parts which are named for individuals in the story, like Part I: Stan. Or Part II: John. As a structure for a plot this is dull. There is so much time-shifting that finally you don't care about any of these individuals. I gave up about two-thirds of the way through, which seems to be happening to me a good it lately. Maybe I am hitting the bottom of the barrel in the detective/thriller genre. There are a few writers whom I find wonderful: Tim Hallinan, Martin Cruz Smith, John Lescroarts; and there are a number of individual works by authors whom I generally don't care for, and then there are a few bright newcomers, but there sure is a lot of bad stuff out there, books that cry out for editors, or books that clearly are targeted at groups to which I do not belong. So, once again, this book is going to be exactly the thing for people who like this sort of thing. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful than that.
I started reading Harlan Coben's work about twenty years ago. He was very good then. His first character was an ex-basketball player and now an agent for players. His name was Myron Bolitar. An outrageously Jewish name for a guy who probably had maybe one or two fellow Lantsmen (fellow Jews) in the NBA. Myron was LOL funny. His best friend was a cartoonish rich guy named Windsor Lockehorne something-or-other, a guy who leapt tall buildings with a single bound, lived in a penthouse on the Upper East Side, etc. Myron, at 35, lived with his parents in New Jersey. There were several other supporting cast members in this fictional family. The books were a whole lot of fun. As a result, Harlan Coben is now a phenomenon. You can go to your local bookstore and watch a televised bookstore talk about his latest book, which is this one. The publishing industry lives for guys like Harlen, who makes them rich. Unfortunately, Harlen has now pulled way too many rabbits out of this hat. I sure wish Myron would return, but it ain't gonna happen.
A Myron-like character stars in this book, Six years. I had stopped reading Coben's books quite a number of years ago. Now I understand why. I did listen to the first download and to half of the second download. I just could not get myself to finish it. It's good writing, I suppose, and it will sell like hotcakes (I bought it, didn't I?). But I just did not get interested enough to want to find out what happened to Jake's lost love, Natalie. Jake is the Myron-stand-in. Part of the problem, as many Audible listeners will surely appreciate, is Scott Brick. With Scott, you either love him or hate him. I absolutely loved him in The Ice Limit, which is within my top five all-time favorite audiobooks. Scott regularly amps up the excitement to such insane decibels that you can't hear yourself think. And here we are. Scott's tendency to scream even while he is whispering is just too much, as it is in many other works of his. BTW, he too has become an Audible superstar, and thus he is all over the place. I won't bore you with the plot. If you like these two guys, then have fun. I'll take Tim Hallinan and Victor Bevine, or Edoardo Ballerini and almost any writer over Harlen and Scott, hands down. Harlen already has another one in the pipeline. I think I'll skip it.
The story of Emil Dreyfuss is fairly well known to people like the above. They will no doubt love this book. As for the rest of us, not so much. It's pretty slow going. First, the narrator: David Rintoul's French accent is so good that it's annoying. He over pronounces every French word, street name, personal name and so forth that it actually grates on the nerves. Modern French is a beautiful language, spoken with melodic phrasing, lots of elisions and a casual manner which is hard to master. Mr. Rintoul has done the opposite. He pronounces each word as if it were a royal address in front of an extremely learned and stuffy body. He could really lighten up. The book suffers from his formality and the absence of nuance in his speech. Less would definitely have been more here.
The story of Dreyfuss's conviction for treason, clearly a misstep by the French government of the late 1800's, is sickeningly riddled with ferocious anti-Semitism. The coverup by the military and politicians is as plodding as an elephant. The hero of the story, Major George Picard, is a very easy guy to like, a guy who believes in the truth and is genuinely horrified to see the government turn against him, convicting him in a kangaroo court. Corruption, petty and large, is rampant. Villains are juicy and easy to hate. For those of you who haven't read Robert Harris before, you may be delighted at how deep his research is, how authoritative his voice is, and how you come to fully subscribe to his version of reality. These things just must have happened in this way, because Mr. Harris says so in such an articulate fashion. And, in case there was any doubt about the collusion of the French with the Nazis in WWII, that doubt should be put to rest here. Even though there are over 140n years between the Dreyfuss affair and WWII, the French come off as slimy collaborators. The camps may have been in Austtria, Poland and Germany, but the Jews were rounded up in small towns all over France, stuffed into rail cars and sent off with the utmost cruelty to their unspeakable deaths. It is hard to be romantic about France, a country I have visited many times, and a country which is justifiably proud of its culture, art, music, food, wine, museums, and so forth. To see up close and personal the evils that underlie all of that beauty can be a very tough thing to face. Mr. Harris makes us face it unflinchingly. The book is a tough read, but Mr. Harris continues to put out authoritative, brilliantly researched depictions of some of the most important points in human history. Pompeii is worth listening to. I found this one a pretty rough go.
Matthew Quick wrote The Silver Linings Playbook, which was a wonderful movie. When I listened to the audiobook, I thought that Matthew showed a lot of promise as a writer, and a lot of guts, to put on display an extremely accurate, vivid, unflinching picture of what it is like to have a major mental illness. The movie was hollywood, of course, but the book was written by an author with tremendous skills, I can speculate about whether Matthew has a personal experience of mental illness, particularly the disorder which is called Bipolar Disorder, formerly manic-depressive illness.It doesn't matter whether or not he has that, but if he hasn't, then he is a man of remarkable powers of observation.
He wrote a second book, which I listened to but immediately forgot, not a good sign. The third book is so bad that it is annoying. Neil, the main character, is clearly a seriously deluded man. One of his main goals in life is to have a beer with a friend in a bar. He also hallucinates Richard Gere. He and Richard have daily conversations. This portrait of loneliness is awful enough, but the skill of the writing deteriorated to the point at which it was very hard to listen to, saying nothing about the uncomfortable content. However, in the middle of the book Matthew decompensates to the point at which his words are literally nonsensical gibberish. Matthew introduces a character who has to include the word fuck, or any of its variations, whenever he speaks. I quit at this point. Matthew completely lost me. I just cannot believe that an editor could allow such a manuscript to be published. The words become something like stream-of-consciousness, with the exception that the author is no James Joyce. Still, I root for him. I hope he does better next time, and that for God's sake he finds an editor.
Where do I start here? How about with the protagonist in the book. Her name is Indiana Jackson. Have you ever in your entire life known a person of either gender whose first name is Indiana? Neither have I. A small thing, but it has the ring of false-hood.
I love Edoardo Ballerini. I have listened to about thirty books that he has read, and I've loved almost all of them. Even he can't save this mess. I gave up after four hours, which I think is a decent amount of time to judge whether I am enjoying a book or not. Not. I believe there is supposed to be a murder mystery somewhere in the book, but I heard little about that. What I heard about was a whole lot of she said-she said, and a whole lot about women who go to a lot of yoga classes, plus hydrotherapy, aroma therapy, hypnosis, and so forth. Even in the world of Ms. Allende, these are extremely pampered individuals. And, BTW, I am a psychologist, so I am not at all adverse to hearing about people's experiences in psychotherapy.
I live in the same neck of the woods as Ms. Allende, and I know that she is a major star in the world of Latinas; my wife comes from Colombia. That, combined with the chance to listen to Mr. Ballerini disposed me positively towards the book. No use. It may be the case that millions of women, and maybe a few men, love this kind of writing, but I don't. And I love murder mysteries, detective novels and thrillers: still no good. If you are a fan of Ms. Allende's, then you may well like this. As you have clearly seen by this point: I didn't.
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