I have really like the Monkeewrench series, but this book is a mess. Poor writing, ridiculous stereotypes, and huge gaps in the plot. The book starts in a compelling way with the kidnapping of 4 Native American girls destined, we are told, to be sold into the sex trade. One dies trying to escape, and when the others are rescued a bit later -- that entire plot line disappears. We are told that one of the men who grabbed them was also Native -- never mentioned again. The entire plot then shifts to the possibility of coordinated terrorist attacks by small cells across the US -- and suddenly that whole thing fizzles too. The Native American special ops veteran who is now chief of police on the reservation is stereotyped to such an extreme degree that it seems like a parody. He speaks with a heavy-handed version of Native intonation, uses phrases that supposedly show his Native culture (contemporary Native Americans call dogs dogs, not "wolf's cousin,"), and was able through mystical connections to anticipate a Viet Cong attack and save his buddy years ago in Vietnam. The other veterans on the reservation can walk through the snowy woods without leaving a trail. They kill the terrorists with bows, arrows, and knives even though they have other weapons and the terrorists have semi-automatic weapons. On top of that, the narration was bombastic, the accents excruciating (Annie's southern accent right out of Gone with the Wind), and Grace, the ultimate survivor, speaks in a sad fading tone through the book. As I said, I have really loved the Monkeewrench series, but this one was wretched.
I have read this entire series. Perhaps listening to it meant I couldn't skip the annoying parts. In chapter one, for example, the wind ruffled Trent's hair. Then it blew Rachel's hair around. She stared at Trent telling herself they could not be an item. Then the wind blew through Trent's hair. Rachel felt a tingle. She stares longingly at Trent. Then something blows up, they are escorted out, and as they talk in the parking lot, the wind ruffles Trent's hair. Rachel stares at him longingly. Before anything serious starts to happen in Chapter two, Jenks and Rachel squabbled like 6-year-olds ("you want him," "no I don't," "Yes, you do," "No I don't.") Then a major event occurs, but by then I had had enough. The narrator was ok, the writing horrible.
The premise is fascinating and the main character interesting and solidly constructed, but the story began to drag. The narration is generally good but I am left wondering why a character so profoundly a product of his New England origins speaks with a southern accent. I think I will read rather than listen to the next two books planned for this trilogy.
The premise was an interesting one, but the narration was so poor I gave up on the book. The narrator wasn't bad when voicing the main character, but at other times was so stilted she sounded robotic.
I like Evanovich's novels, and have liked other audio editions, but I found it impossible to listen to this one. The narrator used a painfully exaggerated cartoon-like voice for the NASCAR-driver hero, and a bland generic voice for the New Jersey auto mechanic heroine. I had to turn it off by the 2nd or 3rd chapter. A big disappointment.
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