The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop 20 years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan "Doc" Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T.C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings.
The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams.
©2006 George Pelecanos. All Rights Reserved; (P)2006 Hachette Audio. All Rights Reserved.
"George Pelecanos takes the urban crime novel as far as it can go....Pelecanos does some astonishing character work." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Pelecanos delivers a dignified, character-driven epic." (Publishers Weekly)
"One thinks of Michael Connelly, John Harvey, and Ian Rankin, other writers able to look inside their cop heroes with remarkable sensitivity, but Pelecanos' scalpel may cut more precisely than any of them." (Booklist)
Usually I do not write reviews but for this audio book I will make an exception.
You will enjoy this book because it is one of those "keeps you on the edge of your seat."
It is a story that could have happened (good thing it did not) in real life.
The author who reads his own book is very good.
The New York Times to the contrary nothwithstanding, this is a boring book. I cared nothing about any of the characters, the plot dragged, and the book failed my litmus test: I was happy to have it over. For a murder mystery, when the reader doesn't care who dunnit, you've got a problem. In fact, this was one of the few audio books that I seriously considered unplugging well before the end. I stayed with it, but I get no prizes for determination. It was a mistake.
I read and listen to a lot of books, and do not expect to experience only winners. But what astonished me was Mr. Pelicanos' decision to be the reader. He is absolutely monotonal, and while the book's lack of action is a material fault, the flat delivery only exacerbates the problem. Mr. Pelicanos sounds like he is depressed. Really. And that's contagious. There are a number of wonderful readers out there and it difficult to understand why the publishers chose an unqualified amateur. Did the author insist? Were they trying to save a few bucks by not hiring a pro?
Pity the poor listener.
Slow going, never finished this book. The narrator seemed monotone. Didn't hold my attention well at all. Will try again, might actually need to buy the book so that I can hear it in my head and not in the voice of the narrator.
"Excellent Pelecanos book withstands being abridged"
Yes. It is a great story well read by the author.
I would compare The Night Gardener to Homicide: Life on the Street by David Simon. Both are the product of the author spending a significant amount of time embedded with an actual homicide unit and both have fascinating small details that seem to have come from this valuable experience. They both have an impressive verisimilitude. Particularly in the characterisation of the investigators, who are less crusaders and more workmanlike than television depictions would lead us to believe.
Pelecanos reading highlights the humour of the dialogue, particularly the banter between the detectives.
Pelecanos' ever strong characterisation never fails to draw an emotional reaction from me. The sad truth of the central mystery and the elegiac description of a later death both moved me.
The abridgement of the story seems to have taken something more than just length away - I enjoyed the original book more. Pelecanos is a little quiet as a voice actor so turn it up!
The opening is a flashback so try and listen to the first couple of chapters when you begin the book or it may be a little confusing.
I am big fan of Pelecanos, and having the author reading his own work was a real treat.
My only sadness, is that the book was very seriously abridged. What a shame.
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