©2007 Peter May; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Compared to the first book in the series, it felt like the author was reaching with this one. There seemed to be a lot of exposition that was not introduced very seamlessly - a lot about winemaking that felt like the author was saying "look what I found out about winemaking as I reseached this book!"
There was important detail necessary to the story; it just could have been more artfully introduced.
The denoument seemed sort of flat.
I listened to the first book and this, the second. I may give the third a try.
I thought it was ridiculous to give the characters outrageous French accents (to quote Monty Python) when, after all, they were all ostensibly speaking in French. In the first book, everyone had a regular (British) accent and Enzo had a Scottish accent. That seemed a much more appropriate approach.
It was actually a bit painful to listen to. Whoever was supervising the recording could have done a much better job.
This is book two in a multi-volume series.
Tell us about yourself!
In The Critic, Enzo takes on another cold case: a body pickled in wine. He has to deal with local police obstruction, appearance of another pickled body, and several attempts to kill him.
He has a parade of people dropping in on his small, rented cottage. Each contributes to the case with his/her own skill set.
There is much information about growing grapes, harvesting them, production of wine, rating wine, and local vintners' jealousies. Enzo makes a trip to the US with soil samples to be assayed and compared to the wine from the newest body.
Needless to say, Enzo solves the crime and ties in a string of local disappearances.
This audiobook's biggest disappointment, for me, is the narrator. His use of phony, haughty, Inspector Clousseau-like French accents is not appropriate for this book. If he had just narrated, it would have been much better. In fact, in the parts where he does drop the accents, it flows well.
The second disappointment is the motive. After a big build up of odd murders, obvious obstructions to their solution, and near death experiences, the motive seems very thin.
In spite of the disappointments, I enjoyed listening to the book. I am still an Enzo fan and I will move on to the other books. I see that the narration has returned to Simon Vance which should be a huge improvement.
This book was recommended to me by a friend who had read the paper version. It is, however, on of only two Audible books I have had to trash before finishing. What disappointment!
The initial problem was that the narrator, who would be quite good if he was reading a book about upper-class, stiff-upper-lipped British characters was reading a book in which the hero is half Scot and half Italian and who lives in France.
The accents were most unconvincing even though the narrator seems to pride himself on his pronunciation of French nouns. He no doubt does it well... for an upper-class Englishman.
The writing seemed to me to be trite and, therefore, painful. I had just finished listening to "Diamond Dust" which is well written and well read (British) and then moved to "Stranger in Paradise" (Robert B parker) which also captures the way people might really speak (USA) and the contrast with "The Critic" cause me to review/complain about the latter.
Don't waste your credits.
I liked the story and the writing, but then I like almost everything by Peter May. I may have been spoiled by having listened to Simon Vance read other books in the series, because James Adams' reading of this completely ruined it for me. I had to force myself to finish the book; the performance was just sooooooo bad.
Enzo Macleod, a college professor who used to be a crack forensic technician, accepts the challenge to solve the seven most famous unsolved murders in France. This is the 2nd book of the Enzo Files series. Enzo is off to a small country town to solve the murder of a famous wine critic. The same elements that made the first book such a treat are all here: a brutal murder, a mysterious secret society, tons of history, local color and Enzo's women troubles (daughters, an ex(?)-girlfriend, and a new lover.)
Unfortunately, I started the series with the first book in the series, Dry Bones. Simon Vance, the narrator on the first book, was switched out with James Adams on this book. Simon Vance did such a terrific job on the first book, it took me a while to get used to the new voice. Problem was compounded by the fact much of the books are in first person, so the change in narrators was more distracting than it might have been. I toughed it out though, and was glad I did by the end of the book. 4 stars.
I am a huge Peter May fan. Loved the Lewis trilogy, Entry Island and liked the first Enzo McLeod book. The Critic is a bit over the top, but I still like the character and will continue the series.
Disappointed that Enzo took so long to figure out who was behind the murders when others like Michelle figured it out first.
Almost stopped listening early on. His French and American accents are horrible and sound very cartoonish. The narration would be 100 percent improved by leaving out the accents altogether. They are completely unnecessary.
Ultimately it was worth it because of the story and characters. I think I will choose another series with a better narrator and read the rest of the Enzo books.
This is the second of the Enzo files that I have listened to in audio format. The first was good,in a lighthearted way. This one, the second in the series, was almost destroyed by the narration. The pseudo French accents, the voice over-acting, and even the American accent all grated. I will not choose another audio book read by this voice actor!
The narrator. Anyone who's had the incredible pleasure of listening to Jonathan Davis read The Short And Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao will see the great benefit of bilingual readers. It's like eating lemons, listening to this British reader try French or even American. Unfortunately, all words that are the same in English and French are read as if they were French. Ruins an otherwise good book.
No.... I like Enzo and his entourage and the plot is okay but this book did not keep on the edge of my seat.
NOOOOOOOOO. Well, maybe if it's all British characters.
Read this one.
Blogger of accidental discoveries through books
Very good read with moments of quirky humour amidst the mystery and intrigue. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I like this series. If "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" is the best audiobook I've listened to, with a Neil Gamin book as second, this isn't a masterpiece but for me it is very enjoyable.
The reviews of James Adams really put me off for a while about getting the 2nd book in the series. Eventually I got it anyway.
It's not bad - I like the Simon Vance narration better but ??? Come on! It was fine.
"A mish mash of different kinds of book"
I down-loaded this book because I'd greatly enjoyed the author's The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man. But I was disappointed by The Critic. It's a curious mix of a very slow detective novel weighed down with far too much detail about the processes involved in wine making and tasting. I'm actually very interested in these subjects but would prefer to read about them in a book by a real expert. As a scientist I was a bit irritated by some erroneous 'facts'.
The sex scenes seem grafted in to make the book a bit racier and the author seems obsessed by women with large breasts, which proliferated through the book!
Love Peter May's books-the critic was no exception but found the narration irritating- Enzo shouldn't speak in a posh English accent!
"Disappointed with the narration"
I haven't finished the book yet but so far I am enjoying it and am quite happy with the wine making details. However I made the mistake of listening to this immediately after the first Enzo book. Somehow Enzo has gone from a believable Scot to a rather plummy Englishman. Maybe if you listened to this book in isolation it wouldn't matter so much but I am finding it quite distracting from the plot. A case of try before you buy perhaps. Glad to see that the other Audible offerings in the series are back to the original narrator.
"a pleasure to read"
Peter May always delivers a good quality detective drama with a human warts and all hero who is human and fallible; not at all like the indestructible heroes of some detective stories. The plot moves fast, the characters are well sketched and have depth. The story is believable and I enjoyed every minute of it. Especially good is the French background, where Peter May obviously knows his France.
"The light of a bottle of intelligent wine."
This time the backdrop is wine, the french love of it, the business, the traditions and the mysteries of what is a good tasting wine. Enzo Macleod is back investigating the murder of a renowned wine critic. and forcing himself to deguste in the service of the investigation.
This are good fun books that open the door of different facets of french traditions, culture and history, while entertaining and delighting the imagination with a character that is fun and erudite on the joys of life.
"Inspector Clouseau is Alive and Well and Living"
If feel the characters are great and I invested in them in the first book in Series, I was looking forward to the second book, however I could not get past the French accent of the narrator. In fact after three hours I could bear it no longer and gave up. I love the way Peter May develops the characters and the plot, and Enzo is a great central character.
I never got there, Sorry!!
Great story and characters
"Allo Allo revisited"
A reasonable tale spoiled by the ridiculous accents used by the narrator. Whether the accents be French, Scottish or North American they're equally bad. I've listened to the first two of this series and they both have the same issues. No more for me I think.
"Overall a good listen"
The book was hard to get into but after perseverance I got caught up with the plot and couldn't switch off . The narrator had a hard job with all the different accents but once again inti the story and I found he was pulling it off.
I am about to start Blacklight Blue in the hope that Simon Vance can restore my enjoyment of Peter May tales.
James Adams attempts at any accent or at indicating female characters speach were irritating and distracting and spoilt 'The Critic' - so no, I will avoid his performances.
The story seemed weaker than usual and of course the performance killed it.
"Disappointing after the fabulous Lewis series"
No idea. Perhaps an older reader who may be more forgiving of the lack of subtlety
No. But I will not be reading any further Enzo stories
Didn't finish it so couldnt say
The narrator should not get in the way of the story. The over camp accents were just too off putting. The Lewis trilogy is brilliant and shows that Peter May is a real talent. I may try the Enzo files in paperback, but it is a shame that the audio is not more palatable as It may be years before I find time to read the paper version.
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