Ralph Roberts has an incurable case of insomnia, but lack of sleep is the least of his worries. Each night he stays awake, Ralph witnesses more of the odd activity taking place in Derry after dark than he wants to know. The nice young chemist up the street beats his wife and has delusions about beings he calls "The Centurions".
I waited 15 years to read a Stephen King novel. I think I avoided his novels because I'm suspicious of hype, the popularity was unattractive. Insomnia was my first King experience and beginning from an objective point, it became one of the most beautiful stories I've ever digested. I regret having waited for so long but I couldn't have asked for more from an author. The imagery is stunning, coupled with what I can only call physical que's which are King's opportunities to mentally place yourself within the frame of his story. Parts of it are tactile, visual and poetic simultaneously. I don't know if King is usually this good because this is my first but I'm frankly, a little surprised... Every now and then I download a book that keeps me dragging my mac around the house, listening at every opportune moment; this was the first to book to resemble a crack habit in a while. Of course its not perfect, a book this long is fundamentally repetitive but it wasn't so in bad taste or to excess, more just for the sake of being worth it. I strongly recommend.
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Bernie Gunther had his first brush with evil as a policeman in 1930s Berlin and came to know it intimately as a private eye under the Nazis, when each case drew him deeper into the enormities of the regime. Now the war is over and Gunther's in Vienna, trying to clear an old friend of the murder of an American officer.
"A German Requiem" had no care for my expectations. I wanted noir. It delivered noir, brutal and overwhelming through a force of macabre interest. I felt a sense of dark trepidation as every new event took shape on the horizon. I was beginning to feel i could not predict this book. Just when I opened an inquisitive eye to expose the motives of the author I was again jerked in a different direction. It was everything your looking for now and don't realize. Not only was I insatiably drawn to the story but the book paints such a visceral scene of post-war Europe (particularly Berlin and Venice) I learned more about the people affected by WW2 than I thought I knew before. It offered a new perspective on life after all the "interesting" war action took place, on which many are so fixated...where countless millions of people stood by and wondered what to do with their shattered civilization. This book places you there, in the desperation, the gloom, the fear and the force of will that shaped that space and time in history. Its easy enough to get all worked up about the dread of the war itself but after this book I understand the people that created the war and the people that ended it.
Among those that would have shined through the aftermath is Herr Gunther, our protag. His antihero atributes are his most endearing. His life is not enviable yet your forced to respect him. You won't always agree with his actions but you'll feel like you'd stand behind them. Philip Kerr also creates character equally hate worthy -effigies of social commentary that demand dislike and are so sharply depicted they seem familiar.
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Spencer Grant had no idea what drew him to the bar with the red door. He thought he would just sit down, have a slow beer or two, and talk to a stranger. He couldn't know that it would lead to a narrow escape from a bungalow targeted by a SWAT team. Or that it would leave him a wanted man. Now he is on the run from mysterious and ruthless men. He is in love with a woman he knows next to nothing about. And he is hiding from a past he can't fully remember.
You must know before anything else I'm like a Dean Koontz eagle scout, huge fan. Still, I think even Dean would agree I must be true to myself and him so here I go... Usually, I'm struggling to remain topside in the ebbing and flowing tide of Dean's unpredictable imagination but I feel like this book was written with his fingers not his mind or heart. It was outstandingly repetitive. The entire first download of the book switches back and forth between the protagonist and antagonist both toiling to accomplish nothing of interest. I noticed the use of the word "still," to describe the status of nearly every situation for the first 8 hours of the book. Still...he knew nothing Still...the dog sat patiently. Still...he couldn't remember -someone try to kill someone, please!
Also, the complaints about the voice actor are dishearteningly valid. The voice did not match a single character in the book until an elderly lady was introduced late in the first part of the book. I imagine if I was reading it myself I would get a better feel for them but I can't seem to get a tangible sense of any character when they all sound like world war one veterans.
In the end, Dean wrote another fabulous story so I'll throw it 3 stars. However, it took far too long to make a story out of the words, the irrelevant voice was confusing and a lot of it was too familiar from other Dean Koontz novels.
I think a lot has to do with the fact that Dean's books are much better when read, the complex wordplay is a little corny when heard out loud.
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