I am an avid reader of the Bernie Gunther saga ( by Philip Kerr) which takes mostly place in the pre-war Nazi Germany. Same atmosphere , same background as in Zoo Station, but all this is depicted with a brilliance that David Downing sadly lacks. While Philip Kerr can leverage on this extremely dramatic environment to add intensity and force to the story plot, Downing writes a mousy story set out in a depressing background.
Looking forward the next Bernie's book.....
I’ve read in “real time” all the Scudder’s books as they were published, but the pleasure to listen to listen to them few years later has not changed. In this story we find a Matt Scudder going trough a more settled period of his life (living with Elaine and working with TJ , almost like a “normal” detective). The plot is a more conventional of a mystery/thriller story –and a bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie. A group of young 31 "honorable" men engage themselves to meet every year –bound in a sort of life-long fraternity- until the last remaining member alone will be alive. After a few years one member suspects that too many of them are dying too young and in too large numbers. Scudder is hired to investigate and…..
This mystery has a pleasant pace with an intriguing scenario supported by great dialogue and interesting NY characters. A must read !
If you've a vague or no idea of the ancient Greek history and you'd like to know the big picture , this book is for you. The history is presented with clarity and it is easy to follow. However for more knowledgeable readers this is far too light , i.e more an high school book than a source for more academic information. The author goes trough smoothly major events and anecdotes without really trying to raise and discuss more interesting issues that go behind battles and kings.
The first Comoran Strike book was a truly surprise where a well-known writer like JKR could establish herself as a credible and engaging thriller writer. A solid and interesting plot, well carved out characters and a great atmosphere made the The Cuckoos Calling a very enjoyable reading experience.
This second book meets only partially the expectations raised by the first episode of what appears now to be a series. The plot is unduly complex and not so credible; all the characters –with the exception of Comoran and his assistant – could potentially be the killer (so there are really no clues to pick up here and there and it feels like the author choses him through a lottery at the very end of the story). The main character, Comoran Strike, comes across a bit pedantic and mousy with a continue self-pity for his physical condition and the unresolved end of relationship with his ex.
Do not get me wrong: this is still a reasonably good book and I had no difficulty in finishing it; however the expectations were (too) high and have not been matched…
Matthew Scudder’ s books are not the typical detective story where a detective -the good guy- solves a mystery of a murder and gets the bad guy behind the bars and where suspense, violence and intensity are the basic ingredients of the plot. There is a bit (at times a lot) of all this in Scudder’s stories, but there is much more. Scudder is continuously in a soul-searching mode, engaged in a journey towards redemption from his demons (alcohol, bad memories, life failures). He does all this without rhetoric or drama; he is a man with a natural sense of self-reflection combined with a self-deprecating sense of humour. He is also smart, though when needed and a great at reading people behaviours.
In this particular book Scudder is asked to help solve the mystery of the death of a prosperous lawyer; a presumed killer is caught by the police, but …. Other more personal events cross Matt’s journey toward the truth and allow different levels of reflection, which the standards detective books do not usually do.
New York provides a fantastic background to the story and Joe Barret is as good as it gets.
The book is off to a great start : the reader is immediately taken into the suspense of what appears to be a very captivating story where personal passions, politics and mistery are intermingled and the main characters seem like the pieces of a grand chess game that is played in Cairo, Budapest, Washington....But little by little the readers' excitment fades away : too many characters , too many useless details and too many levels of a story too complicated . Steinhauer knows how to write : his characters are credible and you can smell the scent of Cairo when it talks about the city , but , by losing focus,he fails to maintain the right tension and the sense of purpose and loses the reader attention. By the end of the book i was no longer engaged ...and was glad it was finished.
This is the best book to-date of Don Winslow. On the background of the establishement of the first drug cartels in Mexico, Winslow moves his characters in a complex , but well laid out , story plot. Violence, deceit, love and betrayal characterise the story with a strong tension between good and evil.The book is engaging, full of emotions and addictive. Do not miss it !
The book covers most of the life of Nedra and Ivri, a middle-class suburban couple with two children. They go through life withouth true values, intimacy and any deep sense of realities. There are hopes (no true passions) and rather trivial dreams (traveling to Europe, glamour , wealth, the sexy secretary..) ; their life fades away and ends almost like a candle that has burned out in the dark. Beautifully written, but unengaging , sad and,at times , almost boring.
A number of great reviews pushed me to buy and read (or rather to "listen to") this book . What a disappointment ! The story moves along stereotypes : "our" guys are all good, corageous smart & fighting for a better world (except a couple of top CIA bureaucrats) ; "theirs" guys (the Russians) are so unbelievably stupid, mean and corrupt (except those of are willing to betray their country). Modern Russia is like URSS (the Evil Empire) , if not worse. The reader does not develop empathy for the main characters as they are lacking depth and originality ; the plot moves fast , but gets boring after a while.
On surface it sounds and looks like a Le Carré cold war novel , but it is only a pale imitation. Stay away !!
This is the darkest Matt Scudder's book of the serie so far : sex for sale, snuff films and an evil killer . New York provides a fantastic background to the story and a number of convincing and engaging characters (Elaine , Tj) accompany Matt Scudder in his journey towards the truth. Joe Barret is as good as it gets.
Another great book : Audible should make available the whole serie.
James Salter's writing is beautiful, elegant and delicate at the same time and gives you plenty of emotions . The life of the main characters is presented in a series of pictures at different times of his existence , without an excessively structured and logic connection.
We are the privileged witness of his hopes, emotions, deceptions ; we feel with him thorough 60+ years. A great book, plenty of joy and sadness, which reminds us that great literature can be great fun.
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