The first Jance-Beaumont that I read was "A more perfect union". I liked it well enough to try another. "Until proven guilty" is book 1 of the series. I didn't much like it.
I thought the book was supposed to be about a young girl's murder and about Beaumont's efforts to solve it. Not about romance. Unfortunately the balance was badly off, with more romance than detection. That's one reason why I didn't like it.
Looking back, I wonder if Beaumont did any detection at all. Did he find a clue? Did he make a great analysis? I must say that, if this had been my first Beaumont, the detective would have come across as a bit of a bungler. That's another reason for my poor opinion of the book.
As for the person who murdered the young girl: well, this individual didn't seem to exist. This person's character development was zero. As a reader I ended up not getting involved in the book, and this decreased my enjoyment. That's reason number three.
So should you buy this book? Well, if you like mysteries, the answer is no. If you like romance, the answer is no. If you are a great Jance fan, and want to know how it all started, the answer is yes.
Many reviewers have criticized the performer, but I really thought he was good.
As I said, I didn't like Until proven guilty. However, I presume this is one of her early books, so I guess I could cut her a little slack. Yes, I will try another Jance.
I like Higashino. In my opinion he is the classiest of all thriller writers. His detectives solve mysteries based on logic and deduction: coincidence and chance play absolutely no role in the process. His plots are to mystery writing what chess is to sport.
Higashino also tells you the name of the murderer right in the beginning in his novels. The fun comes when the detectives try to solve the murder. There are layers upon layers of deception. No James Bond stuff like car chases and people jumping off roofs. Some might consider his books a little boring.
This particular book is, in that sense, just like his previous two. A man is killed, the killer is found quickly, and the detective now has to discover the motive.
Higashino makes the entire process interesting. The characters are very well developed. The pace is adequate: not at all fast, but no too slow either.
Higashino's earlier two books were better. But this is worth reading too.
Alex is a corporate lawyer. His father's friend is accused of financial misdemeanour, so Alex represents him. There's a long (a better word would be loooong) legal battle, followed by a twist or two in the tale.
I didn't like the book. On several occasions I was on the brink of abandoning it altogether. I persisted only because I'd spent money on this one. Audible allows you to return books you don't like, but since I had recently returned one I didn't think it fair to return another so soon. So I soldiered on. It became bearable once I mastered the skill of jumping pages: easy in a paper book, takes some doing in an audiobook. I took two months to finish it (my usual time for a Connelly is 3 days).
I'll try to explain why I didn't like the book. Try: writing isn't my greatest strength.
1. The story is too simple. There's no time where the plot becomes clever. I don't expect every writer to have the genius of Higashino, but this is the sort of plot that a 60-year-old fogey like me, advanced cerebral atrophy and all, could have thought out during my morning ablutions.
2. The pace is painfully slow. I was frequently reminded of the phrase "it's like being stoned to death with popcorn".
3. I just didn't like the extramarital affair that the protagonist was carrying on. If this was the writer's way of showing that our hero is only human, it's a bad way, in my opinion. The affair's contribution to the plot was exactly zero point zero: what a waste of time!
The narration was quite good, actually.
Will I read Mitzner again? Probably yes, since so many people have praised this book. Maybe he's good, and maybe I was going through a bad patch.
Can’t say I loved it.
The other reviews here give you an idea of the story. The book was certainly interesting enough: well-paced and engrossing. Still, there were several things I didn’t like. For one, Hardy and Glitsky were very mortal, and produced no brilliant stuff. Disappointing; I would have preferred Superman or at least for one of them to do something out of the ordinary. For another, the ending was weak. It was very plausible, but very ordinary for all that. There was a feeling of having been let down, of something left hanging. I have been looking for the next book to see if there is some sort of closure. Lescroart’s next book is “The Keeper” but (reading the publisher’s summary) I don’t think The Keeper provides this closure. There is a fair amount of courtroom, er, stuff, in The Ophelia Cut, but it's quiet. I wouldn't really call it "courtroom drama".
The plot is decent, the details are adequate, and the characters are nicely developed. I think this book is a fairly typical Lescroart, and is money well spent.
The Oath could be considered a medical thriller, but the hospital is only the start of the action. This particular book is also short on courtroom drama, so if you really want some Perry Mason stuff this one is not going to please you. There are a few philosophical passages, but they are actually quite nice and not too long.
The Abe Glitsky twist towards the end was unnecessary.
Robert Lawrence has a somewhat sing-song style of narration, but, once I got used to the style I thought he was quite good. Despite all the adverse reviews about him, I will gladly pick up another book read by Lawrence.
Cape Refuge contains murders and amateur detective work, and plenty of religious messages.
About the murders and detective work. These have more the depth of an Enid Blyton story, less the depth of a Connelly. It's reminiscent more of the Five Find-outers and Dog, less of Harry Bosch. If your intellectual diet is a good murder mystery, eschew this one.
About the religious stuff. It's like the background of a webpage, colored so bright that it sometimes distracts from the content. The religious theme isn't overplayed, but it's certainly not underplayed either. So if you are looking for religious discourses, I suspect that Norman Vincent Peale or Billy Graham will be better bets, though I confess I have read neither.
So who should buy this book? I think if you are looking for a gentle murder mystery, something that doesn't tax the brain too much, and a lot of family and spiritual messages, this book could be ideal.
Some reviews have criticized the narration. Personally, I thought that it was quite good.
"Found" is science fiction. I am not a science fiction person.* Ergo, I didn't like it.
This one is a time-travel book. It ended rather abruptly, obviously to make a setting for the next. I am guessing that the time-travelers will ping-pong through eternity in subsequent books.
I persisted with the story, punishing myself in the (mistaken) belief that I was getting my dollars' worth. The sudden end came as a relief. I quickly shut off my player, fearful that the writer would change her mind and decide to inflict some more.
Technically, the writing is quite all right. Character development is fairly good. The pace is fine, and the style overall isn't bad at all. I do believe that children will enjoy the series. The narration is good. The story has no depth, which, if you are a kid, is a plus.
My verdict: If you are 8-12 years old (my best guess), give it a try. After all, everything that an adult finds inane is usually completely ane to a child.
*(I actually absolutely LOVE Asimov and Clarke, but their books are cerebral stuff in a sci-fi setting. I've never really liked other writers in that genre.)
Void Moon is a story about Cassie Black, an ex-con who decides on a caper after nearly a year of going straight. As expected, the unexpected happens. The rest of the story is almost entirely about the duel between Cassie and Karch, the man who gets after her to recover the stolen money.
The plot is clearly above average; perhaps even above Connelly's usual great plots. The speed is at least at the legal speed limit, and often crosses the limit. Yet it is very easy to understand the story, which is more than I can say for several convoluted action books that I have had the misfortune to read. Connelly develops the characters well. As always in his stories, it's not just "possible" to get into the minds of the players -- it's almost impossible not to. This story also has an emotional mother-child angle, balanced just right.
Connelly's writing style in this book is a little nasty. There are sub-stories within this story, and Connelly almost never reveals the entire sub-story at one go. The effect is to tantalize, tease, frustrate and annoy you to a degree, yet there is equal satisfaction when the pieces finally fall into place. A masterpiece!
I've always loved the Bosch stories, but I think this one was better than almost every Bosch novel. If I have any grudge it is this: Connelly almost literally gripped me by the the trachea just below the larynx, and pinched to narrow the airway to 50%. Till I finished the book I was tense, palpitating, and slightly breathless. Is there such a thing as "too thrilling" at my age? (I am severely on the wrong side of fifty.)
The narrator is excellent.
I've read both Run and Pines. I didn't really like either, but since a sort of promotion was running when I bought the audiobooks, I guess I've not lost too much money.
There's nothing inherently wrong with the books. They are as brainless as any of the other thrillers I enjoy very much. The pace is rapid enough. The characters are fairly convincing. The author writes well. The problem is that I didn't know when I bought them that these books were Sci-Fi. I am not a fan. The setting in both books was so bizarre that I found myself wishing for the books to be over as quickly as possible. I actually bought the Kindle version for both books so that I could jump pages, something one cannot do with an audiobook.
There are stories that appeal on a very basic level. The hero is already halfway to being superman. The villain is all bad. Throw in a few frills like detective work, maybe a touch of romance, and you have a book. So what if the hero does things which are often impossible, illegal, or both? So what if, near the end of the book, the bad guy turns out to be someone you least suspected? So long at the bad guy gets ground to dust, I am happy. Such books may be brainless, but, hey, they appeal to me at a testicular level.
Not this one. This one’s appeal is much higher. The book is genius. Everything is plausible. The author's description of the crime and its solving is a thing of beauty. The detective work is served like a lavish dinner, one course after another of excitement. If I ever write a book (ha!) this is the sort of book I wish to write.
Some reviewers have commented on the sort of sad ending. The ending isn’t REALLY sad, but Higashino is a bit of a pervert. He deliberately blurs the distinction between who is the good guy, and who is the bad. He makes the bad guy fall in love, so that the reader cannot easily think of the bad guy as a villain. He makes it less easy for the reader to achieve satisfaction at the testicular level, perhaps forcing the reader to appreciate the book for its craftsmanship.
I’d have to rate this as the best of about a hundred books I’ve listened to on Audible.
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