For the three Daley brothers, sons of a Boston cop, crime is the family business. They are simply on different sides of it. Joe is the eldest, a tough-talking cop whose gambling habits drag him down into the city's gangland. Michael is the middle son, a Harvard-educated lawyer working for an ambitious attorney general. And Ricky, the devil-may-care youngest son, floats above the fray as an expert burglar - until the Strangler strikes too close to home.
As Joe's mob debts close in around him, and Michael becomes snarled in a murder investigation gone wrong, and Ricky is hunted by both sides of the law, the three brothers - and the women who love them - are forced to take sides. Now each must look deeper into a killer's murderous rage, into their family's own lethal secrets, and into the one death that has changed them forever.
As William Landay's complex, compassionate, and terrifying novel builds to a climax, two mysteries will collide, and a shattering truth will be revealed.
©2007 William Landay; (P)2007 Books on Tape
"Landay movingly explores the bonds of family and basic questions of honesty and loyalty." (Publishers Weekly)
"A crackling debut that answers the question: Who will be the new Grisham? Stylish writing, wickedly convoluted plotting, and an insider's view of big-city jurisprudence and police accommodation." (Kirkus Reviews)
I started with Landay's newest novel (Defending Jacob), which was a great listen. It wasn't a book that engrossed me right upfront, but by the time I was just past the middle point, I didn't want to stop listening. As impressed as I was with Defending Jacob, I was more so with The Strangler.
Landay has it down. He writes excellent, intriguing, fully fleshed characters. There's real drama here (as opposed to the melodrama you often find in sub-par mystery/crime novels). He's got a great ear for the way people speak (which shows with his character's dialogue). The story is excellent - there's never an instance of characters bending to plot; everything is organic, realistic, natural.
Not only is the writing really good, but so is the narration. Stephen Hoye was perfect for this book. He did such a great job that I actually browsed other books he'd narrated in hopes I'd find something that interested me (I haven't yet, despite the extensive catalog). There's quite a large cast of main characters here, as well as an abundance of minor players, and Hoye was able to lend nuance to each voice so that, almost always, you knew who was speaking even if the context didn't clue you in.
One evening, after driving home from work, I actually sat in my driveway, listening for an extra five minutes to a tense scene. I couldn't not know how that scene wrapped up before I tuned out for the day. And I couldn't wait to get back at it the next day.
I've got several hundred books in my audible library, and there are perhaps only half a dozen or so I've gone back to for a second listen (to name a few: Hearts In Atlantis, A Widow for One Year, Terror's Echo: Novellas from Transgressions, American Gods). Even knowing how this one ends, I'll be going back for a second listen. I even bought a used paperback edition to loan out to friends, that's how much I liked this book.
Both of Landay's other novels are good too, but this one was my favorite. I only wish he published more frequently.
I loved William Landay's later book, "Defending Jacob", so was excited to get this one. I've gotten about 2 hours into it, and frankly I can't get up any excitement to listen to it anymore. For starters, it's a period piece set sometime in the 40's or 50's, and those usually don't do it for me. For seconds, it's about a bunch of brothers that I find completely unsavory, in a family that I don't like very much. The mystery is about a strangler of women that I've never met and have no connection to. At this point, I just don't care who killed them or what happens to this family, so I'm setting the book down. Sorry Mr. Landay.
I don't know if the book was bad or the narrator made the book intolerable. I put it on a fast speed just to get thru it.
It was really hard to get into the story on account of the narrators voice, he sounded almost like an announcer for a very boring game. But after a couple hours the story became quite interesting. I found that the main story wasn't even about the strangler case, but more about police corruption and its ties to the mafia. The characters left a good impression and the ending was surprising so all in all it was good, but I would certainly recommend "Defending Jacob" way before I would recommend this book.
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