I should've heeded the warnings in other reviews. I'm a Stephen King fan, and didn't expect a lighthearted feel-good story, but this book was just too disturbing to finish (so I can't comment on the ending). It did start off very well and the premise itself was very clever, but about halfway through, I got the kind of sick feeling I imagine I'd get from watching a snuff film.
This is one of the best-written books I've read (listened to) and I can't believe I waited so long. I'm very familiar with the movie and knew what was coming at every turn, but was still so drawn in to the narration that I kept catching myself tensed up. I also have a new respect for how loyal the film was to the story (although far less detailed, of course), particularly the casting. The actors were so spot-on perfect for their book counterparts that it's hard to believe that the book wasn't based on the film rather than the other way around.
I bought the book yesterday evening and finished listening late into the night. This morning, it's still weighing on my mind.
I love John Grisham, and while not his best, these two stories are decent and the narrator is flawless. The main problem is in the mechanics of this audiobook. There are infrequent skips, and VERY frequent repeats (meaning, a line is spoken, then spoken again, like an old vinyl record with the needle stuck in a groove). Particularly in The Brethren, those repeats happen often enough to be really distracting. I believe I'd stick with the written version of these books.
I am almost familiar enough with this story to hear it in my head without audio, and I sure was pleasantly surprised to find that this narrator spoke the narration and dialogue almost exactly as I imagined it. The story, of course, is excellent (anyone who watched the film without reading the book can't begin to imagine the historical detail Mitchell worked into this story). I very highly recommend this one!
Definitely one of Grisham's best. The story is filled with twists and a final resolution that I never saw coming (I was convinced I had it all figured out about 3/4 through, but was dead-wrong). The narrator nails the Mississippi drawls as well as Grisham nails the Mississippi culture. Highly recommended.
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