Anna Fox lives alone - a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times...and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble. And its shocking secrets are laid bare.
Apparently this is a debut novel, and their are some nicely conceived and fun surprises and plot twists. However, the story is presented from the protagonist's first person point of view, and this gal is a traumatized alcoholic suffering from agoraphobia, who abuses her meds,. lives alone in a giant house, and we spend the whole novel in her head. For me this a tedious place to be. Also, the author is apparently persuaded that emotion can be evoked in the reader through the mechanism of reportage on the character's body changes during a crises. And boy do we get reportage! Her heart, neck, skin, bowels, brain and nerves are thudding, slamming, pulsing, shattered, drained of blood, heaving, throbbing, shaking, and on and on. This reportage occurs every time she walks around a corner, because, you see, she is a phobic, anxious, alcoholic drug abuser surviving a legitimate trauma. In my view, a well presented crises scene will evoke, in the reader, chills and such, and reporting that the character has chills is impotent in evoking a similar response.in the reader. Finally, there are gimmicky suspense manipulations - she goes down stairs, shuddering, she heard something, and there 'he' is. We go on for paragraphs as she interacts with him, but - we don't get to know who he is just yet! Oh the suspense!. The narrator exacerbates all this by an overly dramatic reading.
I realize that I am being hard on this effort, but I really think that we as readers deserve the best effort of writers and publishers, and this work cries out (I cried out in the car several times in frustration) for professional editing. On the other hand, buried in the somatization and manipulations, there is here a really good clever psychological suspense story.,
When Leroy "Chinese" Gordon breaks into a professor's lab at the University of Los Angeles, he's after some pharmaceutical cocaine, worth plenty of money. Instead, he finds the papers the professor has compiled for the CIA, which include a blueprint for throwing a large city into chaos. But how is the CIA to be persuaded to pay a suitable ransom, unless of course someone actually uses the plan to throw a large city into chaos - Los Angeles, for instance?
I think that the world in this book is not the world that Perry lives in, but the world that he wished it to be. This author has, even in his darkest stories, demonstrated a sly sense of irony and off-hand humorous comments on the absurd. The quality of his characters and their dialogue has elevated his suspense stories beyond the typical - Now we have a sweet colorful cast of characters in a comedic caper where most the guys are good guys and they all win. There is also an incredible cat and his (yes his, the cats') 200 pound dog. Somehow Perry makes it all believable. This is a great, fun story.
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.
This book is thirty percent too long. The plot, a Tana French trope, regarding a male detective in his prime who is traumatically flawed by childhood experiences and is assigned a case which drops him into the ancient mess, and, furthermore, he can't let his superiors know about the childhood connection because, well, he won't get to work the case (this same basic formulation appears in Faithfull Place and Broken Harbor.)
However, French's gift for endless poetic metaphor and nuanced description, as in her other novels, as delightful as it is, eventually served to deaden this listener's appreciation for the beauty of her writing and instead led to snarls of frustration, wishing she would get on with the damn story! Which actually is a pretty good police procedural.
Tana French is a gifted writer, and her lovely depictions of Irish dialogue and wit are gorgeous . Her character's and their relationships mostly ring true, with some misses. However, twenty two hours is ridiculous - what other writer needs this much space to display a novel?
But I still recommend this book - the writing, given the flaws mentioned above, far surpasses the average police procedural and most other offerings available on Audible. I say give it a try.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
After a showdown with the notorious Yemeni terrorist known as The Panther, John Corey has left the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and returned home to New York City, taking a job with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Although Corey's new assignment with the DSG - surveilling Russian diplomats working at the UN Mission - is thought to be "a quiet end", he is more than happy to be out from under the thumb of the FBI and free from the bureaucracy of office life.
This book presents a basket of clichés - the off the reservation hero who is always in trouble with the bosses, but, you know, gets it done! The pretty girl at his side, slinging bullets and cute talk; the Russian bad guys who sneer, sneer, and sneer some more. There is a suitcase bomb and a boat. New York may be blown up! Or not!
The only redeemable aspect of this garbage is that it may expose a vulnerability in harbor security; who knows. Go for it if you are desperate for a Bondish diversion. Expect little.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: The cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, and gray skies fall.
The story could have been a nice little mystery, although the ending was a bit anticlimactic. But the problem is in the presentation - the whole yarn is told through the protagonist's internal dialog, and this is a hellish place to live for the several hours it takes to tell the tale. Our heroin is a severe neurotic prone to panic attacks, claustrophobia, social anxiety, and she needs to help us understand what her body is doing every second: her heart pounds in her chest. Her throat is raw. Her stomach clenches. Her knees wobble. She is trying to choke down an ear shattering scream. And all this is just saying "hello" at a dinner party. And she vomits a lot. This sort of tedious reporting on her internal state takes up perhaps one half of the narration. I recommend giving it a pass.
72 of 84 people found this review helpful
Imagine: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After 13 years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen.... This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road.
I agree with Robbie (review 6-6-16) - where are these 5 stars coming from? The story slogs along for fifteen hours, very slow action, endless analysis of each characters emotions, sensations, how "a ray of light evokes some queasy memory," etc., etc., and above all it is a story of unrelenting misery, misery, misery. The more a character is victimized, the more passionate becomes the zeal of the authorities to punish, pursue, destroy. And there is a lot of of torture porn, if you like that sort of thing. It gets worse - there is actually a segment about the child being taken from the hospital that appears twice in the fifteen hour ordeal - once in the first part of the book, and again, word for word in the last hour or so. Don't these people have editors? Again, I agree with Robbie that this effort is what one would expect from a beginning creative writing class - a long way from being ready for publication.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
On a foggy summer night, 11 people - 10 privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter - depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later the unthinkable happens: The plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs - the painter - and a four-year-old boy who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
A private jet with a few folks - some super rich, some ordinary - crashes into the ocean, and the story, like many others of this sub genre, gradually reveals the lives and aspirations of the victims. The author elevates this trope by telling the story though time shifting - past and present are shuffled as each personal narrative unfolds, Why did I give it a five star? Because the author brings off this narrative dance with brilliance, because the dialog sizzles, magically voiced by the narrator who give us the impression that we are listing to a room full of actors, and even though we move back and forth through time the story is simple to follow and it all makes sense. The story also gives us a great protagonist, who as a recovering alcoholic has learned that simple honesty is an effective weapon against the machinations of the twenty four news cycle, exploitative media stars, the super rich, and narcissists who just always need to prevail. There is also a great kid.. I was sorry when it ended.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful
Former naval doctor Peter Crane is summoned to a remote oil platform in the North Atlantic to help diagnose a bizarre medical condition. But when he arrives, Crane learns that the real trouble lies far below on "Deep Storm", a stunningly advanced science-research facility built two miles beneath the surface on the ocean floor. The top-secret structure has been designed for one purpose: to excavate a recently discovered undersea site that may hold the answers to an ancient mystery.
The story is a bit overwritten and sometimes drags, the villain is a trite character, but the final revelations are truly inventive, satisfying and logically consistent. I think the journey is well worth the listener's time. .
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The first time violinist Julia Ansdell picked up the "Incendio Waltz" in a darkened antique shop in Rome, she knew it was a strikingly unusual composition. The minor key and complex feverish arpeggios have a life of their own. But when she plays the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her small daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. When she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a heart-stoppingly dark secret....
A young Jewish musician is deported from Fascist Venice in the early Forties. A contemporary young mother, decades later, purchases a mysterious piece of music from a dusty Rome antique store, plays the music and apparently as a result her sweet three year old turns into a monster. Husband thinks she is crazy (her mother was) and of course enlists the support of a psychologist who specializes as an expert witness causing the removal of children from inadequate mothers and the committing of people who "might be a danger to themselves or others" to mental lockdown. The psychiatrist is also beautiful and has met with husband several times. You get the idea - everybody is against her thinking she is crazy and yet to her "this stuff really happened!". This is where I almost gave up on the book.
However, as we went back in time and experienced the sad saga of some Italian citizen's abuse of their Jewish neighbors, told through the fate of the young musician, the story gained some gravitas (if not narrative force - still a bit slow) and the ending delivered up a sweet twist, totally believable, and somehow this made the whole thing fun. Bonus - much to learn about how the fate of Italian Jews was somewhat unique.
My recommendation is to give the book a chance - it may be a little trite and slow in some places, but, at the end, I enjoyed the journey, and I think many others will as well.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
After enduring a childhood of horrific abuse and crushing poverty, Tucker seeks refuge in her rural Tennessee home. The three grandchildren she is raising are her only connection to the outside, and her demeanor is purposefully rough. But her world is turned upside down when a new neighbor, Ella, moves into the old McDaniel place next door.
Tucker is a one off, and the story of her relationship with the other main character, the ex wife of Tucker's life enemy seems real and endearing. However, the plot is a bit melodramatic and some of the dialogue is stiff; But you won't run across another character soon who has the unique individual power, authentically portrayed here, of Tucker, and I suggest that it is worth getting through the few stiff parts in order to meet her, and live a bit in her world.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful