Charlotte MacLeod is my favorite cozy mystery writer. I have read Rest You Merry and the other books in the Peter Shandy series a number of times - I wouldn't change anything.
As other reviewers have noted, the narrator pronounced certain words very strangely, to the extent that I'm not sure if he is a native English speaker. This audio book was less of a performance and more of a straight reading of the novel by someone who didn't really know what it was about or who the characters were supposed to be. You need a very particular kind of narrator for a cozy mystery that gets its color from quirky, not-quite-realistic characters and stylized, old-fashioned dialogue, and unfortunately Mr. McLain doesn't quite hit the mark.
Max, the main character, is a lot of fun. The concept is great, and I liked the narration. Basically, it's a good, fun book.
But . . . it sounded very much like a first draft to me. It's more of a series of vignettes strung together by a not-very-interesting thriller-type story. Just enough details about the "bad guys" were thrown in that I thought there would be something there, but it was kept so cryptic that I couldn't bring myself to care, and I was really bored for the last two hours. It may have been a deliberate choice on the part of the author to withhold details for later books in the series, but if so, I think it was the wrong choice.
Also, for a novel about time-travelling historians, there is next to nothing about historic events. It would have been lovely to have a description of, say, the signing of the Magna Carta, or the death of King Arthur, or an explanation for Richard III and the two little princes. . . something. Anything. Instead, there are about 50 scenes describing the historians & their crews drinking and getting drunk and then drinking some more - it bothers me not at all on a moral level, but it's not very interesting to read about.
Plus, plot holes.
Kate Mulgrew knows how to tell a story. Narration can make or break a story. I listened to Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box a while ago and didn't like it much. The narrator did a competent job of reading the story, but he didn't *act* it, and the characters never came alive for me. Kate Mulgrew can ACT. The voices she creates for the different characters are realistic and, for Charlie Manx and Bing, absolutely chilling. She is amazing.
This book kept me awake at night wondering if N0S4A2 might be coming for me.
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