©2007 Clive Cussler; (P)2007 Penguin
"Cussler takes a breather from his several ongoing series with this historical thriller set in the western states, circa 1906. The U.S. government hires the renowned Van Dorn Detective Agency and its equally renowned lead agent, Isaac Bell, to capture the bank robber known as the Butcher Bandit....Once San Francisco gets hit by the 1906 earthquake and the principals climb aboard a pair of fire-breathing locomotives, the novel cranks up a head of steam and some high-speed thrills." (Publishers Weekly)
My niece recommended this to me and I was skeptical but I really did it enjoy the story.
I had serious misgivings about wasting money on what has been described to me as a "guy's writer". But, during a sale I decided to try this book of Cussler's, which appeared to have a traditional mystery plot with a historical context. I was really ready to admit my misgivings when the mystery was solved, the perp caught, and it was what I thought was the end of the book. It was an interesting concept. Then it went off track, seeming to change modes, dwelling at great length on the San Francisco earthquake for some unknown reason, seemed filled with corny lines and situations (coming up to his "love", whom he had seen all of a few times, while she was tending to the mangled and dying earthquake victims, with the line "can you help me? My arm is gone"). After that, it was a tedious plunge into the dynamics of railroad trains, and a silent movie-seeming implausibe and unbearably corny ending. I stand by my first impression--shallow characters, corney relationships, and lots of "man-stuff"--not deep
This was my first read of Clive Cussler, but it will not be my last. I look forward to reading some of his other books.
Brick does an excellent job of painting the characters and atmosphere of the SW a hundred years ago. I've never read a Cussler book before, and after this I'd certainly pick another.
The story sagged a little in the middle, when I think Cussler was trying to sneak out of the mystery genre and into romance, but it soon got back on track (pun not intended).
Not exactly a "romp", but I enjoyed the hero and the baddie battling it out.
I listen to a lot of books, there are several that I've stayed with for just a short time before I have to quit. This is one of those books that after 5 minutesI was so irritated by the narrator that I turned it off. I went through some of my other books that I've shelved and most of them were narrated by Scott Brick.
His tone is one in which puts you on the edge of your seat through every word spoken. He puts too much emphasis on every word and his enthusiasm is way over the top. I can just imagine him stomping around waving his arms while reading.
It was just too much for me. I won't be buying any more books narrated by him.
I think Cussler is talented writer, and he definitely did his research for this one. Unfortunately, he spared no detail in describing cars, trains, motorcycles, buildings, etc. The plot become repetitive after a few chapters and the hero is far too talented and too wealthy to be interesting. It would have been better at 1/3 the length.
I thought I was over Clive Cussler? I have read all the Dirk Pitt books. As much as I loved them, the recipe of Cussler's storytelling was getting repetitive. I told myself I would swear off of Cussler books for a while. Especially because I am no longer sure if he is writing them or the publisher is just using his name. I was in the mood for a good old fashioned adventure book and this one caught my eye. I decided to give Clive another chance. I am glad I did. I was thoroughly entertained. I loved all the detail about trains and the early cars of the 1900's. Thanks Clive....or whoever you are using his recipe!
My dog. My 5 yo son. A Starbucks barista.
I've listened to about forty (40) books so far, and Brick is in a class of his very own, pitiful. Wasn't there an audition? How could anyone choose this guy?
Anyone but Brick--please.
Brick's pacing and word emphasis is incredibly annoying and distracting. Lilting phrasing and inappropriate emphasis completely disrupts the storyline. Some of his phrases are pronounced and emphasized to sound like an enlongated native American word.
We'll see how many hours of Brick I can bear. He is a serious obstacle to listening to more of Cussler.
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