I liked this book to start with. The characters are well developed and while the plot is somewhat complex and tends to wander, it doesn't lose you. For me the book droned on too long, too many flashbacks and there seemed to be no real limit to what magic the main character could use. Great book for an epic road trip.
Young Tom Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son. We meet him at thirteen, that year when a young boy is sent to apprentice with a local journeyman of one kind or another. But as the youngest of seven, his options are drastically limited. The eldest will take on the farm. The butcher has already apprenticed one of his brothers, as has the local carpenter and so on. Tom isn't sure what will become of him.
Until the County Spook appears at their gate. Tom finds out his mother has written to the man, offering her son as apprentice to the one person in his life that terrifies him. Not that Tom has ever met the Spook, but what the man does! Lifting curses, fighting bogarts - hunting witches. It's a solitary life, and not one Tom is sure he wants at all.
It never occurred to me as I listened that this was a young adult read. The main character is a boy of thirteen, but while the main character is learning and making mistakes, they are the kind of mistakes that come from inexperience, not stupidity masquerading as inexperience, and I appreciated that. It's a tale of dark magic, lonesome heroes, and encounters with girls with pointy shoes. Not too long, not too short, but just right.
I saw the British series television make of this before 'reading' it. Robson Greene plays the part of Dr. Tony Hill in those. I love them. I love what he does with that character. The book version hasn't decreased that in the least, and might have even elevated my appreciation of his talent as an actor. The narrator for the audible version does a wonderful job of bringing all the characters to life.
That said, the movie version does not follow the written story exactly - and for once I love that too. The book, as it should be, is much more in depth, letting us deeper into the detectives who work so hard to bring a serial killer to justice. It's more difficult than usual with this case as the killer they've set their sights on is a national sports hero turned tellie star, and the National Profiling Task Force that Dr. Hill has only just started, aren't even supposed to be working a case.
To add to that, the district they've been set up in is full of coppers who don't give a fig about profiling. When one of Tony's team gets too close to the suspect and is murdered, it's the profiling team those detectives look into for a suspect, not the wealthy T.V. star whom the murdered detective was last seen alive with. It's up to Tony and his team to find evidence on Jacko Vance before they lose a second detective from the task force to an incompetent frame up.
From a technical perspective, I appreciated the way the author used third person unrestricted along with the judicially placed omniscient sentence or two. The transitions between the characters, which included the killer, never left me feeling jolted out of the story. It flowed with impeccable and certain aim to the ending. That tends to be one of my pet peeves with third person- that feeling that I've suddenly been dropped into a completely different book with the turn of a page. One could argue my experience is because I had already been introduced to the story, and I can't discount that, but the way the author handled transitions between scenes and characters had something to do with it as well.
Normally when you read a mystery, it's all about answering "who done it". Not so with this story. We know who the killer is practically from the beginning and that doesn't lessen the tension built as the team works to prove he's their man before his latest victim dies. It is a story about profiling after all, and it was expertly handled all the way around.
I love a good anti-hero and Sandman Slim is exactly that. Jimmie Stark is a member of the Sub Rosa, what the magical community in this world build call themselves. At nineteen he's got it all, magic, a group of friends he can use it with, and the love of his life.
And then his friends betray him. They try to kill him, but send him to hell alive instead. Stark becomes the hellions new toy, fighting as a gladiator in the pit until Azazel sees prospective talent and claims Stark to make him the best assassin hell has ever known.
But Stark hasn't forgotten his friends, or what they did to his Alice. With a stolen key, a bone knife that kills all demons, a knowledge of Hellion magic, and his desire for revenge, Stark breaks out of hell intent on tracking down Mason and the others.
The world build involves angels, fallen and otherwise, the corps of hell, humans, magical beings, and a kind of angel called the kissi - a race of beings who thrive on chaos - and they are all over L.A. As Stark searches for Mason and the others who sent him to hell, he runs into an old friend, makes a couple new ones, really pisses off an angel and a marshal with Homeland Security.
Stark is irreverent and back on Earth for no one but himself, but he isn't the hardboiled tough guy he wants everyone to think he is. He cares more than he wants to and while he attributes this to Alice, it's more about himself. This is the first in a series I can't wait to dive headlong into. This was an audible purchase for me. I like to continue with series in the same format, so I'll be listening to more Sandman in the future. Maybe we'll even find out where the name came from.
Murder at the Vicarage had a less than wonderful narrator. Every now and then I would get lost as to which character was speaking. Whether that was the narrator or the story, hard to tell. The narration for Affair at Styles was wonderful. It's Agatha Christie. Both stories were good as far as plot. These are Marple and Poirot first in the series. Both are told from a different character perspective than our amateur sleuths. I did very much enjoy hearing about Marple from another character, it was quite amusing.
Jack Irish, criminal lawyer, cabinet maker and horseracing fanatic, gets a call from the past, several in fact. If he’d only pick up his messages more often. An old client, one he doesn’t remember, wants to talk. Danny Mckillop is dead by the time Jack finds him.
The McKillop case is one from Jack’s drinking days and as he looks into the matter, guilt over having failed to represent the man properly, to question the confession, takes root and won’t let go.
This was a complex plot easily told. Jack Irish, who’s not Irish at all, delivers as a rough and tumble lawyer out running down the cold trail of a case no one wants dragged into the light. Great action and language, the secondary characters come to life. Very enjoyable story.
Harry is finally working towards an even footing in life. He's as close to financially solvent as he has been in a while, thanks in part to an appearance on a local talk show.
At the talk show he meets a vampire general from the Red Court who wants Harry to agree to a duel to stop the war he started and a priest who needs Harry's help recovering a holy relic, the shroud of Turin.
There's no avoiding the duel, and Harry being Harry, agrees to look into the shroud when his long distance sort of but not quite ex-girlfriend Susan Rodriguez, one time journalist now half Red Court vampire, walks back into this life with a warning. Don't duel.
What's not to like about a Dresden novel? There was a lot of heart, endings and beginnings in this book. Loved it.
This is part memoir, part advice. The beginning is a beautifully written history of King's beginnings as a writer. I'm not an avid reader of King's works and I found this part provocative as well as entertaining. I came away with a greater appreciation of King as a writer and I loved that he narrated it himself.
The beginning of this story grabs you and pulls you in. It's refreshing to have a male urban fantasy hero that's in a stable, if unconventional, relationship. The supernaturals in this story are bad and unredeemed and Ring dispatches them with no remorse. His coworkers and partners, Risa and Wally, bring individual talents, strengths, and reasons for pursuing this calling to the team. The characters are well built, believable and the plot is riveting.
The story is told from Ring's point of view. The close relationship between the three protagonists Ring, Risa and Wally allows for a well rounded, fully developed modern alpha male that really is a joy to 'read'. The action and lineup of bad guys (and girls) are non stop.
The performance of the Narrator was impressive. I tend not to like female voices, the high pitch begins to grate after a while, but this female voice was a firm alto and she handled the male portions of the story very well. Loved her.
The prologue makes a statement to the effect that the public's outrage and tendency to vote out long standing politicians when angered, thereby making the political situation worse (Americans, get out of the way and let the professionals handle this) is in direct conflict with the next statement that republicans voted down their own bill because the president liked it - McCain being one of them. McCain is far from being a junior member of Congress who was newly voted in and creating havoc due to inexperience.
The problem is simple: Politics has become a self-serving job for those involved, not a public service. They're in office to support their party, not the American people. While the authors of this book definitely understand how this dysfunctional system works (or doesn't), they're too close to that system to offer a real solution. The fingers are still pointing. It doesn't take much reading between the lines to see how the author feels about those troublesome people who keep quoting the Constitution. The American public is in the way - they just don't understand what the democrats are trying to accomplish.
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