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.
In the top third.
No. There is too much repetition. The book has many things to recommend it but it's not all that suspenseful. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to Dennis Lehane, but now I think I know. Mystic River was an amazing start, the movie truly one of the best I saw in the last century. The Kenzie-Gennaro partnership is good. Witty, plenty of sexual tension (which you know will never be resolved), but the other characters tend to be one-dimensional and kind of cartoonish within this genre. There's way too much of Patrick's macho swagger with the other tough guys. This is the kind of book that Elmore Leonard would cut down to about 100 pages; although, in truth, he would never write it. Too much padding. A very good sense of Boston, though. The same neighborhoods that Spenser hangs out in. Spenser, though, is terse where Lehane overwrites for no apparent reason other than to have as many pages as he can crank out, I am sorry to say.
I have listened to him before, although I can't remember specific books. He is great. He gives both Patrick and Angie very memorable voices. He actually is better than the material he is narrating, IMHO.
I am not really good at witty tag lines or eye-catching teases. I have much more fun casting actors for the roles. However, that was not the question.
I will definitely read more of the series, even though I have distinctly mixed feelings. Mr. Lehane can write up a storm, although he doesn't know when the storm should blow over. His sense of place is almost as good as James Lee Burke's, which is quite a compliment, I modestly say. There is a lot of wit here. The plot so far is actually the weakest aspect of the book. Kenzie and Gennaro are an interesting duo, and I would enjoy learning how they work as time goes on. Speaking of time, I hope these two do not get frozen in it. Some successful writers feel that their characters should never age. I dearly hope that Mr. Lehane does not fall into that trap. Mr. Lehane is no Thomas Perry, but he certainly write.
There is absolutely nothing which would do that.
This is a book which should never have been published. Mr. Vonnegut's successes were well known in the last century, and so, being a celebrity of the publishing world, he must have thought that simply anything that he put on paper, no matter how preposterous, was worth reading. In the case of this book, he was wrong.
Actually, I love Stanley Tucci. I have watched him in a number of movies, and have been seriously impressed by his acting chops (don't you just love these words?). However, there is no narrator, not even Frank Muller or Edoardo Ballerini, who could have transformed this hogwash into something worth reading. You can put lipstick on a pig...
Not a one.
No. There are so many other police procedurals, murder mysteries, detective stories, etc. that are so much better than this. The first two books in this series are way better than this.
Probably not. I think he has gone to this well enough times. Although of course I know nothing about the author's life, but the book really sounds autobiographical to me. There is an awful lot of talk and almost no action. The life of a police reporter on the crime beat has no real dramatic value.
Yes. Both are slow. The narrator does what sounds to me like a valid Rhode Island accent (although I am no authority on this). However, what little plot there is is drowned by detail that may have journalistic value but is a poor cousin of good fiction. Mr. De Silva should read a little Thomas Perry. Then, he should go back to being a journalist.
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.
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