San Francisco | Member Since 2006
If you only read one book by Michael Chabon, this should be it. And, fortunately, David Colacci reads it, with his typical skill and verve. The book might be called over-written. Many of Chabon's books are like that. The story, however, is a remarkable one. Josef Kavalier escapes from Prague to eventually land in New York City during the early 1940s. He is welcomed by his cousin, Sam Klay, and the two young men rise to the very top of the world of comic books. Their hero, the Escapist, is a superman-like hero who is always escaping from Nazi-like traps and then returning to beat the Nazi-like guys to bloody pulps. The story of the personal lives of Kavalier and Klay is told in great detail. The book is extremely carefully researched. The ambience of New York City during this period is lovingly recreated by Chabon. There are a number of remarkable scenes. Kavalier has studied the great Houdini (whose real name was Erich Weiss) and has become an escape artist himself. He is also a magician and a clever entertainer. The book goes on perhaps too long, but if you are truly entertained, then Chabon and Colacci have done yeoman's work. The scenes of Kavalier's stretch in the Navy at a base in Antarctica are particularly memorable and heroic. Chabon's writing style is an acquired taste for many, but this is exactly the sort of thing for those who like this sort of thing.
Yes. In fact, I have been doing so for about twenty five years now. Mr. Burke's sense of place is magnificent. He describes Iberia Parish and New Orleans so perfectly that you can almost see, feel, smell and taste them. Further, he addresses moral, ethical and personal areas, particularly around issues of conscience, that few other writers would ever even attempt to discuss.
Although you always know that Dave Robicheaux will eventually come out on top, his road there is strewn with vicious characters who put him into very dangerous plights. His buud, Clete Purcell, is a walking hand grenade, ready to explode at any moment with his own brand of hurt from his time in Viet Nam. Dave is also hurt and vulnerable to depression, particularly when he feels the racist big shots running the towns. Dave's sense of morality is a complicated, developing thing. Everything about his life is interesting to the reader. I may not have read all of his books, but it is hard to imagine Mr. Burke writing anything below truly extraordinary prowess and sensitivity. He puts most other thriller writers to shame.
I have. I can't name them right here, but his voice is quite distinct. His portrayal of Southern accents is awesome. At times there is some overlap between the voices of Dave and Clete, but this is a quibble. He holds my interest almost as well as Mr. Burke's content does.
I can't possibly do that, for reasons I am not really sure about. Twelve hours is a long time, and I can't think of anything I do without stopping for that long. I find it nice to read several hours, and then in a few days come back to the book, as the talents of these two men are things to savor, and I like to make them last for a long time.
The opening, as above, was promising. The setting, the ice caps around the Arctic Ocean, is rendered quite vividly, and the characters are introduced in a way that promises good things to come. They really never do.
I don't think so. I don't believe he has the talent to keep the reader's attention for that long. When I put this down after about four hours, I listened to "Strip," by Thomas Perry. Very quickly I felt amused, entertained and completely enjoying the talents of a truly great writer. Some got it, and some don't.
I think the performance is OK. It's the material that gets scientifically as stiff and boring as a corpse. We get small doses of interesting ideas to whet our appetite, and then we are completely overwhelmed by science which is stupefyingly boring.
I don't think I could answer this question, other than to say that you would improve the book by cutting it in half. I was reminded by a quote from Elmore Leonard, a truly masterful and prolific writer. When someone asked him why his books were so entertaining, he said, "I leave out the parts that people don't read."
Thrilling, ingenious and moving.
The scene in the river where our hero, Matthew Corbett, and several others confront the most profound perils in nature: crocodiles. This scene alone will keep you on the edge of your chair, and is worth the price of the book alone.
I have listened to almost all of his audiobooks, with only a few missing. Mr. Ballerini has taken on the mantel of Frank Muller, which is the highest possible praise. I would say that the entire Robert McCammon series might be a favorite, but there are so many: Beautiful Ruins, We live in Water, Malevita: the mind boggles. Mr. Ballerini is a unique talent, and I really hope he never stops narrating audiobooks.
I can't do that. Seven or eight hours of sitting is much too much for me physically. Plus, when you stretch out your favorite books, you get the pleasures of anticipating what happens next, trying to hold in your mind the main characters and plot developments...I am very happy to stretch out this book for several weeks, if possible. And then I wait a year or two, and do it again!
Mr. McCammon has taken on a truly daunting project. Matthew Corbett can be called the first of the modern detectives...in the year 1700. Matthew works with his mind and with very few external tools. His plots are the fruit of an astounding fount of creativity. I do at times wish that Matthew would marry the lovely Berry. They could have around-the-world adventures together. But, whatever. I will snap up every single book that comes from the fertile mind of Mr. McCammon and the interpretive mastery of Mr. Ballerini. I loved this book.
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.
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