Danville, AR, United States | Member Since 2007
This is one of the best urban fantasy books I have read all year (and yeah, it is only March, but after several disappointing UF books the past few weeks, this was REFRESHING.)
This book will NOT appeal to everyone, hence my headline. There may be some people who aren't geeky who will find this book interesting if not excellent, but given the number of "in" jokes and references, you would be like a young child watching "The Simpsons", missing the allusions that make it a truly funny show. If you, when hearing the narrator quote Adam Baldwin (Jayne's "smellin' a lot of 'if' comin' off this plan) and you find yourself wondering which one of the Baldwin boys Adam is, this book probably isn't for you.
The protagonist is a 20-something barista/screen writer who becomes enmeshed in a magical world where one can gain short-term magical abilities by watching media (every geek's dream, right?) I won't go any further, as I do not want to give anything away, but I found the plot exciting, full of action scenes and intriguing, unique characters. One warning, there are several descriptions of teenage suicides, which might be a delicate topic for some, so be forewarned.
This is a fun romp if you don't over think (yes, I know, difficult for any card-carrying-geek) how the magic actually works (such as, why does Ree only start manifesting the talent after meeting Eastwood.)
I didn't want this to end and hope there are MANY more books of this caliber in the series.
Farhat does an excellent job bringing the characters to life.
If you are new to the world of Bernie Little (Hawaiian-shirt wearing Arizona P.I.) and his intrepid partner, K-9 flunkee (there was a cat involved, enough said) Chet (the Jet), I urge you to give this book a try. Although it is the 7th of the series (and Chet often refers to past cases in his mental soliloquies), you can easily start with this book.
Spencer Quinn is as reliable a writer as David Rosenfelt -- I always know what to expect and am never left wanting, saddened only in knowing I will need to wait for my next Chet and Bernie adventure.
The books are told from the point of view of Chet, which can be puerile or overly sentimental in the hands of less skilled writers. Quinn gets Chet just right, "plain and simple." If you have ever looked into your dog's eyes and wondered what he was thinking, this book is for you! Could your sleeping dog's whimpering be caused by a nightmare of a javelina with buzzsaw tusks? I just love Chet!
The mystery isn't overly complex, so if you are looking for twist and turns and surprising denouements, you can skip this one. If you are looking for a delightfully fun romp in the world of Chet and Bernie (this time in the mean streets of Washington, D.C, where Bernie's girlfriend Suzie Sanchez is working as a reporter), give this one a try -- it is worth a credit.
The narrator, Jim Frangione, IS the voice of Chet and does well with Bernie's vocalizations. However, his delivery of some of the accents (two of the British characters don't sound very British) is subpar. But, he is so perfect as Chet, the few shortcomings did not detract from the overall delivery.
I really enjoyed the 1st in the series and anxiously awaited this sophomore effort. However, as a mystery lover, I felt this book fell a bit flat. The mystery was tertiary in the book, following the relationship drama of the newlywed protagonists, Acton and Doyle, and the internal politics at the police station. Cleeland makes up for the thin mystery with wonderful writing (although Doyle has a few too many internal monologues, I found those to be the most amusing bits in the book.)
Overall, I enjoyed this book and loved "visiting" again with these characters, but I hope we see more police procedural in the 3rd entry in this series and less family drama.
Marcella Riordan is FABULOUS. She handles a range of voices, male and female, with aplomb. I plan to see out other books she has narrated.
Interesting novel set in Taiwan. The protagonist, Jing-naan, runs a food stand in Shilin Night Market in Taipei but once had aspirations for more. He attended UCLA briefly until his returns to Taiwan to fulfill family obligations. After the death of his girlfriend, Julia, whom he had not seen for years, he becomes an unlikely detective, pursuing justice at the bequest of the Julia's parents.
The best part of this novel is the description of the Taiwan, especially of the night market -- the culture, the sights, smells and the FOOD. Even when Jing-naan travels outside the market, the food descriptors follow him (most memorable -- "clouds the color of rancid, fatty meat".)
I enjoyed hearing the expositions on the history of Taiwan and its people, but there was too much, which slowed down the story and made the mystery seem secondary (or tertiary.) There were episodes of good suspense, clever writing and humorous dialogue, though and the characters in the night market were interesting, although they seemed like caricatures.
This was enjoyable, but mostly due to the descriptions of the setting and its history. If you are looking for a riveting mystery, you might want to skip this one.
Feodor Chin, the narrator does fine job, especially with the protagonist and other male characters.
I started this book the day before a business trip to Florida and found it hard to put down outside of business hours. I was so happy to have this well-crafted mystery to help the miles melt beneath my wheels; otherwise the hours I spent on the road wouldn't have been so pleasant (although, I learned one needs cruise control with such an involving tome, otherwise the speedometer frequently tips 80.)
"The Silkworm" (Rowling's 2nd mystery under the nom de plume Robert Galbraith), continues with the character development begun in "Cuckoo's Calling" of Cormoran Strike (war hero, illegitimate son of a rock star and struggling PI with one prosthetic leg, courtesy of the Afghan theater) and Robin, Cormoran's temp secretary turned Girl Friday/Dr. Watson.
I love that Galbraith/Rowling makes Cormoran a bit misanthropic and surly and not some unrealistic, noble hero. His imperfections make him all the more likable.
And the icing on the cake -- a twisty mystery with multiple plot arcs, replete with engaging characters.
Rowling proved to the world that she can write YA fantasy -- well, she has proven to me she can write mysteries irrespective of which name appears on the cover.
And the narrator, Robert Glenister -- PERFECTION! His range is incredible despite is deep voice, he manages not to make the women sound campy (like some male narrators do.) I plan to search for books narrated by him so I do not have to wait until the next Robert Galbraith novel appears.
The worst part is I have started and stopped several books since I finished "The Silkworm" -- it is a tough act to follow.
Brekke has done an excellent job (and kudos to translator) in this police procedural. It was sometimes difficult (especially at the beginning) to remain engaged in the transitioning narrative (from 1500's Europe, to 21st century Norway and Virginia) and I didn't find the story in Virigina (outside the Poe Museum, that is) as engaging as the other 2 narratives, but by the middle, I was hooked -- and missing sleep.
Best moments occur after the 2 police detectives unite in Norway (and my favorite line "This isn't Texas" from Odd Singsaker, the Norwegian detective). It was a bit redolent of those buddy cop films, but I loved the interaction between the characters (and styles.)
I especially loved the inclusion (however indirectly) of Poe trivia into the plot.
The characters were well-developed and the plotting intriciate.
If you are a fan of Nesbo or Fossum (or other Scandinavian mystery writers), you will not be disappointed with this book.
David Menken does an excellent job with the narration, especially well with the Virginian accents, which can easily be overdone. I liked that the only other accents were when speakers were not speaking their native langauges (I find it baffling when narrators give people speaking their native languages -- albeit, translated for the "readers" -- foreign accents.) Odd does not pick up his endearing accent until he needs to speak English with his new "partner", Felicia Stone (the Richmond detective.)
I am looking forward to many more novels from Brekke!
This book hooked me from the opening scene, and was difficult to put down.
In retrospect I wished I had purchased the kindle version of this as well, as there are so many characters and interrelated plots, I found myself wanting to refer to a flow chart. I felt mollified when I did a search for this book on Amazon to find there is a Kindle "Cliff's Notes" type summary of this book available for purchase.
Nevin has a great facility with character AND plot development, while keeping the lingo amount the police characters quite realistic.
George Kuch does an excellent job with the narration, especially helpful with the constantly shifting scenes and characters.
I rarely listen to books twice, but this is one I will probably listen to again -- it's that good.
Excellent police procedural set in Cambridge, UK featuring 25-year old DC Gary Goodhew, a new detective, who is viewed with mistrust and envy due to his quick rise to the DC role.
The book follows the stories of suspects, victims and police, showing the varying point of views (POVs) as we seek to unravel this complex mystery.
DC Gary Goodhew is a bit of a maverick at the station, following his own methodologies and uncanny hunches, much to the chagrin of his boss, DI Marks who is determined to make Goodhew a team player or let him go.
I loved the writing, especially how well all of the characters were fleshed out and the intricate relationships between the families and the co-workers.
Jonathan Broadbent did an excellent job with the narration, although his pacing can be a bit "off-putting" at first.
I found it difficult to truly classify this book and found that to be a positive aspect of this unique new voice to British mysteries. This is part police procedural, part romance (with a slightly creepy bent) and part quasi-paranormal.
Newly promoted DC Kathleen Doyle, with her lilting Irish accent and the fey ability to "read" the truth in people becomes the protégé of DCI Michael Sinclair, an English lord called Holmes behind his back for his uncanny ability to solve the most complex of mysteries.
The mystery is moderately complex, but the true joy in this book is the unique voice of the protagonist. I look forward to reading more of Cleeland's novels, as she begins to make her mysteries more taut, because her characters are already "spot on."
Marcella Riordan's narration is superb, especially her delivery of Doyle's Irish voice!
From the blurb, I thought I would love this novel, as I am a big fan of British mysteries, especially police procedurals. However, I never really related to any of the characters and there was no "mystery," as we are introduced to the villain's point of view (POV) early on. The shifting POV was a bit jarring occasionally (from victim to police to villain to witness and back to police) and the narrative voices seemed a bit unrealistic at times.
Despite the choppy writing and the underdeveloped characters, I would probably purchase the next book in this series, as I believe the writer will continue to improve her product.
Lucy Price-Lewis, the narrator, did a good job of differentiating the many characters.
With some serials, the output diminishes over time, with the writing becoming formulaic and staid. However, Sally Spencer (nom de guerre of Alan Rustage) continues to deliver taut, suspenseful police procedurals.
"Lambs to the Slaughter" is the 5th entry in the series (25th if you consider the 20 books in which DCI Charlie Woodend is the primary protagonist and Paniatowski is his protégé) , set in 1970's Northern England. This book revolves around a potential coal strike and a murder in the town of Bellingsworth.
The mystery itself is complex. However, the hallmark of this series is the continued development of the police team. I look forward to many more books in this wonderful series and anticipate more intricate mysteries and more windows into the characters.
Another great joy is the brilliant delivery of Penelope Freeman. She captures wonderfully the accents and characters of the book, male and female.
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