According fictional characters iconic status for the purpose of historic relevancy is a risky business. Follett takes his chances here and falls flat. The players in this story are shabbily drawn. They do little to engage listener interest or empathy. In his attempt to touch all the bases attending Western society up to and through WW I, his reliance upon coincidence is self-consciously overwrought. The more historically-minded will appreciate a tolerable deference to the accuracy of events as they unfolded - particularly in Russia - but in his effort to represent a comprehensive chronology, he sacrifices plot and character. Good concept; bad execution.
This is my third Jackson biography. S.C. Gwynne offers great insight into his subject - that, and clarity of narrative. The book is appealingly organized. Whether one is new to the life of this extraordinary man or a student of his exploits, this iteration does not disappoint...a very good read.
( Note: Occasional internet forays into battle maps are useful - one of the few downsides to listening rather than reading. Some notion as to the geography of the Shenandoah Valley is essential.)
Well written. Well read. An extraordinary testament to the vagueries of chance, the depredations of war, and the ambiguities of love and romance. Author Flanagan offers a credible analysis of one Australian doctor's quest to find meaning in existence during and after three years of captivity in Siam. As troubling are the efforts of his Japanese captors to do the same following the the war.
This book can be both haunting and dark. A very good read.
I began this book with high hopes, not least because Will Patton was reading it. And Charles Frazier is a serviceable writer. He handles his characters tolerably well - at least, up front. Cold Mountain was a favorite for many, but over its course, I found it a tad fraught in tone with anachronism. It seems Mr. Galbraith likes to spray a fine mist of political correctness over his narratives that, in turn, renders them all too predictable.
Thirteen Moons compounds these tendencies to the point of absolute tedium. His sepia-hued descriptions are taxing, and the reader gets no sense of characters truly living in their own times. The appeal is always to rather parochial 21st Century perceptions.
I finally threw off my earplugs in frustration; then downloaded a good history book. After covering two thirds of it, Thirteen Moons was going nowhere. Will keep the last quarter on hand, and maybe I'll get back to it if I am desperate.
Ms Gardner would do well to pull out Strunk & White's and brush up on her writing skills. Sixty percent of her adjective's are gratuitous. (She might, also, pick up some Mike Connelly novels as a template for economy of narrative.)
Moreover, saddling women police officers with rather shopworn expressions of glibness in the face of violence is a poor vehicle for conveying strength among female characters. The "All I want for Christmas..." mantra was beaten to death.
Neither of the dueling narrators were compelling.
The story itself affords a nominal, if not at times, intriguing degree of complexity, but my suggestion for those looking for a good listen within this genre is to look elsewhere.
Whenever I spot the new release of a Mike Connelly book, I download it immediately. 'Tis a matter of reflex. And I am never disappointed. "The Drop" is a great listen, augmented by Cariou's flawless narration.
Connelly's economy of language, clarity, and tightly crafted plots keep the listener engaged without effort. He is meticulous and credible on police procedure. And his characters always emerge, to a great extent, by default - that is, as a function of the compelling settings he creates.
I usually listen to his books when exercising. I hate to shut off the narration when I stop. And the thought of picking it up again gets me out when I don't want to go.
"The Drop"'s story line suggests that the shelf life on Harry Bosch may be good for another five years. This reader hopes that will translate, at a minimum, into five more Bosch-oriented books.
What Louie L'Amour was to Westerns, Mr. Connelly is to the Detective genre. But he is a better writer.
I downloaded this book based upon a recommendation by Audible. It was a good choice. Littell parallels near all the better known events attending the Cold War, and does so in compelling fashion through the prism of the CIA. His characters, many of whom are historically familiar, are nicely brought to life in their difficult and self-imposed isolation. Their interactions with the events of the era are thoughtfully plausible, and he is deft at sustaining the tension-filled momentum over four-plus decades - no small task. There really wasn't a dull moment. Kudos to Audible for putting it on their "must" listen list.
Connelly's confident economy of language, well-crafted plots, and skillfully revealed characters always add up to a great listen or read. In this murder trial drama, one comes to appreciate the vicissitudes of a game well played by all the legal participants. Connelly's thorough grasp of courtroom procedure is an education unto itself. Once again, he shows himself to be the premiere crime writer of the day.
George Guidal is testament to the power of narration in taking a good story across the finish line..........thoroughly enjoyed Flynn's latest page turner.
King's rather defensive pontificating at the end of these three stories detracts from his effort. All seemed a tad formulaic. The first was simply too long and hampered by an affected, sing-song, adolescent narration. The other two held together better, but one never gets a good sense of what it is about these women's characters that led to their reacting as they did.
I was thoroughly engaged by King's lengthy "Tower" series, a real tour de force of the imagination. It appears he was just "mailing these in". Perhaps that explains his over earnest personal comments to the reader as a post script.
If there is an espionage counterpart to Peter Benchley's "Jaws", this would seem to be it. The author serves up an unpretentious, fast-paced thriller featuring Court Gentry, a white knight assassin with more lives than Rasputin. Don't look for a lot of nuance here. But if you are going for a page turner, capably executed from beginning to end, this is it...
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