First a confession - I think the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt is just plain terrific. This comes from a person who has been reading mysteries - starting with Sherlock Holmes - for 6 decades. I've read literally thousands of mysteries, and I put Andy Carpenter and company right in the top group. Good writing, good characters, interesting mysteries, an ensemble cast - just as important in a book series as in any form of entertainment - and wit. Love the wit. This one seems a little less together than usual - which still makes it a must read - don't pass it by - but do get all the others as well.
And Grover Cleveland the reader - I could write a sonnet about his reading of this series. Absolutely perfect. Doesn't miss a beat, and I can't imagine anyone else speaking with Carpenter's voice. He is 10 stars out of 5 - one of the very best combinations of reader and story I've heard - did I forget to mention how many mysteries I've heard on audio books (including, for those young'uns amongst us, on tape?} hundreds - not as many as I've read in book form, but plenty.
Unfortunately, David Rosenfelt seems hellbent on writing non-series mysteries and they are really not good. They lack everything that makes the Carpenter series terrific - the writing is stale and unsure, the mysteries are either transparent, or so contrived they are annoying, and the characters are made of cardboard. I applaud efforts to grow and expand - but I really do wish his publishers would do him the courtesy of not publishing these books until he gets a grip on writing them. Meanwhile, better he spend more time writing Andy Carpenter books, instead of what he did here, which was dash one off quickly. This is obvious when reading it - but even then it beats the non-series books by miles. And it beats quite a number of other mystery books by even more miles.
I challenge anyone to read 2 Andy Carpenter books - saying this to be on the safe side, I was hooked after reading one - and not become a fan.
This was a great way to explore one of the most formative and defining events in Harry's life. It also explains why the current spate of "cold case" television and movie stories are so strong - the cases are fascinating - but it's personal with Harry. He investigates the murder of his mother, which doomed him to a childhood of children's homes and unsuccessful foster homes. Well written, intelligent, good detection. Only problem I had was the ending, which I thought was lame. However, Connelly is always a 5 star writer, and I would hate to have someone miss him - so a 4 star Connelly is going to get 5 stars from me unless it's really bad - and this is definitely good.
One of the best portrayals of a therapists is in this book. Usually they are portrayed as either far too directive, too sexy, or just plain bad. Harry's department mandated therapist is excellent and Harry responds to her, which is one of the good parts of this book. It shows Harry moving ahead in his life - rather than ossifying into a paper cut out character. Connelly has written a long series of books with this character, and he has done it better than most authors because Harry is a smart and thoughtful guy, and smart and thoughtful guys can take what comes at them and change over the course of their lives. He keeps the qualities that make him Harry, and make him a killer detective at the same time. By giving Harry a life that is not static, and a personality that never freezes in time, he keeps himself and his readers from being bored. I'll keep reading about Bosch, so long as Connelly is willing to write about Bosch.
You love mysteries, you like great characters, you want a believable story, you want the detectives to be smart enough to get the clue, but you want the book to never end. You want to listen to a reader who gets the book, the characters, and the whole package. If so, you owe it to yourself to listen to all the Andy Carpenter books by David Rosenfelt. However, do not bother with the non-series books - they are really not good.
Love the whole series. Love all of them. Good writing, good mysteries, great characters, good dogs - perfect package. Grover Gardner is so right on for this series I can't come up with enough superlatives - I would have hated to have my favorite mysteries ruined by someone who doesn't get it - Gardner has won my heart by putting across the stories and people beautifully. How many series I can't listen to because of the reader, I hate to say - but this time it's a package to be cherished. We listen to them more than once - just love to hear the words and the voice.
The first book after Rankin ditched Rebus was simply terrible. Then came "The Complaints" first book in this series. It was good - but not up to the Rebus books. This one is terrific - the man is back and swinging and I'm very pleased. Few mystery writers are as good as Rankin when he's on the top of his form and I was afraid we'd lost him. Happy to say, I'm back enjoying every word. Hooray for mystery readers everywhere!
I can't imagine why Ian Rankin stopped writing about Rebus, his long running series character, as it was as though he had found his voice - so why toss it away? The first non-Rebus book was simply dreadful. But The Complaints is heading in the right direction. Not surprisingly, the main character has some Rebus-like characteristics, and perhaps that's what makes it a decent book. Good mystery, the reader is on target, and it had some characters I could see developing into people I would want to follow in future books. He (Rankin) will hopefully get his feet under him again, and we will have more years of Rankin audio books to enjoy. I have every one of the books available in audio, and find them fun to return to when I know I want a book I can rely on.
I've been reading Michael Pearce's Mamur Zapt books for years and have rarely been let down. They are always eagerly anticipated, and this one is right up there with his best. I have not liked Pearce's other series, but the Mamur Zapt is just plain beguiling. The atmosphere of Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century is portrayed beautifully. I wish I could have been there and seen it - Pearce clearly loves the place and the period and so will you. Oh, and good characters and a well thought out mystery - what's not to like?
I have enjoyed Reginald Hill mysteries for many years - some are better than others. The very last ending (he puts the ending in two steps) was just downright annoying, which is the only reason this book doesn't have 5 stars. The reader is excellent and very listenable - not trying out for an academy award, just presenting a good book well. Would that others would follow his lead. I like the main characters and like very much that they are consistent and act the way you would expect them to act. That may sound picky, but series characters become people you feel you know after years of following them, and I don't like it when authors fiddle around with the characters in order to further a plot device. Overall, I say if you like British mysteries, you'll thoroughly enjoy this one.
I have some reservations about this book, but overall I would recommend it. I've read literally thousands of mysteries, and I'm darned hard to please, so a 4 star from me means something! On the other hand, the reader is not very good. He is boring, which is bad enough, but also does those phony baloney voices.
I have some reservations about this book, but overall I would recommend it. I've read literally thousands of mysteries, and I'm darned hard to please, so a 4 star from me means something! On the other hand, the reader is not very good. He is boring, which is bad enough, but also does those phony baloney voices. Puhleese! I like a reader who reads the book, and doesn't try to fiddle around with voices - and pauses where not necessary. After the 10th pause before "I said." or "He said." I was wishing the guy would hand the book over to someone else. That said, the story is good and interesting, the characters are fun for the most part, although the main character jumps to some conclusions that aren't supported by the evidence - that tactic has been used in both of Park's books - which serves, I suppose, to put him in jeopardy and add unneeded "tension." On the other hand, there are a lot of mysteries out there, and few of them are as readable as these, so I say read them and you won't be sorry.
I think that Brad Parks could enter my exclusive group of favorite mystery writers as he hones his skills.
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