Markus Novak just wants to come home. An investigator for a Florida-based death-row defense firm, Novak's life derailed when his wife, Lauren, was killed in the midst of a case the two were working together. Two years later her murderer is still at large, and Novak's attempts to learn the truth about her death through less-than-legal means and jailhouse bargaining have put his job on the line. Now he's been all but banished, sent to Garrison, Indiana, to assess a cold case that he's certain his boss has no intention of taking.
As Novak knows all too well, some crimes never do get solved. But it's not often that the man who many believe got away with murder is the one calling for the case to be reopened. Ten years ago, a teenaged girl disappeared inside an elaborate cave system beneath rural farmland. Days later Ridley Barnes emerged carrying Sarah Martin's lifeless body. Barnes has claimed all along that he has no memory of exactly where - or how - he found Sarah. His memory of whether she was dead or alive at the time is equally foggy. Tired of living under a cloud of suspicion, he says he wants answers - even if they mean he'll end up in the electric chair.
But what's he really up to? And Novak knows why he's so unhappy to be in Garrison - but why are the locals so hostile toward him? The answers lie in the fiendish brain of a dangerous man, the real identity of a mysterious woman, and, deep beneath them all, in the network of ancient, stony passages that hold secrets deadlier than he can imagine. Soon Novak is made painfully aware that if he has any chance of returning to the life and career he left behind in Florida, he'll need to find the truth in Garrison first.
©2015 Michael Koryta (P)2015 Hachette Audio
Petkoff, yes. Korda, no.
Korda writes fast-pace page-turning prose well. He annoyingly makes simple mistakes in plotting though, introducing characters such as his mother and his wife without bringing resolution. He thoughtlessly leaves careful readers and those who like mysteries hanging on unresolved or undeveloped plot lines.
Anyone familiar with science, especially psychology or neurology will be greatly annoyed by his credulous and ham-handed misinterpretation of these disciplines. So will anyone who knows about caving.
Korda's cliffhanger ending is distorted by his blatant commercial for the next book in the series. While he seems not to have drawn up a careful plot, he clearly is following a well-thought-out financial plan. I read and enjoy commercial novels, but the author is so clumsy at the end that in his excitement to advertise, he spoils the ending.
His voice, diction, and pace are pleasant. More importantly, his voices for different characters bring them to life and complexity.
He writes excellent, tight, well-paced page-turning text. It kept me reading in spite of my annoyance with the book.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
Another winner from Michael Koryta who is likely the most talented young writer in the US. Last Words is book 1 of the Markus Novak series and I look forward to Echos which will be released next year.
Last Words is a wonderful crime/psychological thriller. It may be the best of the genre published so far his year. It still does not top Those who Wish me Dead, Koryta's 2014 release. Robert Petkoff does his usual excellent narration job.
For those who have not read any of Michael Koryta's 11 books, I recommend 8 of them without reservation. My reservation are the three books in his Supernatural series (The Ridge, The Cypress House, and So Cold the River). If you like books with a supernatural character, all three of those books are excellent with The Cypress House being the best.
Tonight I Said Goodbye, the first book in the Lincoln Perry series, was published in 2004 when Koryta was 21 years old. It is definitely the best book to start your Koryta listening. Alternately, Those Who Wish Me Dead which was published in 2014 and is not part of a series is Koryta's best novel and would be a good novel to listen to first.
Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.
I finally speeded it up (love that option in Audible) but it didn't help. It was an OK book for the first 15 minutes or so and then went seriously downhill. It was not interesting, ridiculously far-fetched, and had not one single likable character. And sorry, but the narrator didn't help. I will not read the next one, but will read another Koryta book.
I so didn't enjoy this book. Seemed like I was ease dropping on people's random discombobulated thoughts. Listening to this book is like being a fly on the wall begging someone to put you out your "misery" & hit you with a fly swatter. Narration was spot on but book didn't hold my interest. I actually purchased a novella while listening to this book just to have something exciting to listen to. Skip this book even if you are a huge fan.
List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen
I was really hoping for better after the Prophet by Michael Koryta.
With only a few chapters to go after surviving through 90% of the book - I can tell you that I just don't care to finish.... I wouldn't care how great the ending is - Nothing is worth listening to the droning on and on throughout this book. A tough guy making jokes while a shot gun is held to his head? Come on man. Was Bruce Willis staring in this book with the title "Die Hard -Who Cares Anymore" This whole story was uninteresting. I only held out for the narration & the credit cost. The self dialog in some books is so over done and boring. Chapters going by listening to what some guy is thinking about. Lost in a cave and talking to himself for hours and hours while I'm growing more uninterested. By 80% of finishing this book - I was hitting the 30 second forward button on my phone and these characters were still talking to themselves 2 and 3 minutes in.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This is a tough one to review. I am a fan of Koryta's books, enjoying his intelligent writing style and his ability to create complex storylines with characters that inspire emotional response from the reader, whether empathy for the good guys or fear and loathing for the bad guys. But I don't think he succeeded quite as well with Last Words. The intelligence is still there and the plot is good but with execution flaws. I will say that the scenes inside the cave brilliantly conveyed the claustrophobic darkness with an intensity that had me holding my breath. But pacing was a problem because of long passages with no action and long inner musings. The characters were not vividly drawn, in particular I had difficulty getting on board with the main character - a first for me with Koryta, who in the past has created some excellent everyman heroes. Throughout his investigation Novak kept saying that he just didn't care what had happened to the victim and he didn't even want to be there. No one else wanted him there either, so everyone was in a bad mood or downright nasty. A lot of ugly stuff happened that kept Novak there in spite of himself, but sometimes it just seemed to be senselessly busy. To be fair, eventually he did become fully committed to the investigation, but the amount of story time spent on Novak's job woes cut into meaningful exploration of the mystery he was supposed to be solving, including how characters connected to each other. To reveal the final solution, he resorts to a long monologue at gunpoint - in my opinion a lazy plot strategy.
At the end of the book there is a preview chapter for his next book, extending the Markus Novak character. The intention to create an ongoing series may explain why there was so much time spent on Novak's backstory. But in my opinion Koryta should have invested more effort on the story at hand and let the sequel take care of itself.
I have always been a Jack Reacher fan. I read them all, the last two in audiobook format. It always has the right amount of escapism mixed with good old fashioned narrative.
This book left me cold.
There was enough padding ito fill a mattress factory. Much of the content felt like cut n paste from a wiki page. The plot was, while modern, certainly not very developed. the end was rushed, like a student that ran out of time in an exam and hadn't had time to read over it.
All in all, a deep disappointment.
BTW, the reader, as always, was excellent.
I haven't previously heard Robert Petkoff read or read anything from Michael Koryta. This will change.
Great reading meant that the story ticked along well and the female voices didn't sound ludicrous.
Highly interesting story with a few surprises along the way. Just a word of caution, those of you that may be claustrophobic may experience discomfort - I certainly did!
Love to walk and listen. Commute and listen. I typically enjoy well developed characters mixed with a good mystery.
Better character development. A more interesting plot.
Robert narrates most if not all of Michael Koryta's books which is one reason I enjoy them. He always does an amazing job with creating different voices and despite this being a horrible story, he came through once again.
Diane or the other female character, I can't remember her name. Neither one really added to the story. There was a better way to get the information needed for the story using a different method.
I'm a really big fan of Michael Koryta and was excited to see he had a new book out. I was sad to read the horrible reviews. I put off getting it, but finally just took the plunge. Unfortunately, the reviews were SPOT ON. Most of his books have a little supernatural hint to them and not knowing whether this was one of them or not helped the story a little, but sadly it couldn't carry it. The main character was typical, but the failure here was the plot. It just became silly and useless. I think one review mentioned it was all about the cave and he was right. It was literally all about the cave, which would have been fine IF that character were better developed. Instead it was a book of many undeveloped characters and semi side plots that just added up to nothing. If you are thinking of trying this one, DON'T. The negative reviews are true. I suppose you can't always knock it out of the park. I'll for sure read other books by him because I like his style, and the narration is always superb, but this one should be buried deep in the cave. On a side note, this is supposed to be an introduction to a series. There is an excerpt at the end of the book. Oddly, that feels more like it should have been included in this book instead of all the cave nonsense.
2 stars because the narrator boosted the story otherwise it would have been a 1 star story rating.
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