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The Witch Elm audiobook cover art

I Have Loved Tana French's Books; But -

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-24-18

Not this one. In fact, it so overall, all 'round poor that it is really hard to believe that it is written by the same person.
You have to wonder if this wasn't something she wrote way, waaay, back when, stuck in the back of a drawer and pulled out and resurrected and published - because, let's face it , when you have her sales record, publishers will publish anything with her name on it and people (like me) will buy it.
Her agent, editor ( was there an editor?) and publisher did her no favor with this one, though.

For a start, it is way over written, and way, way too long. Her Dublin Murder Squad books are so well crafted, that this is just really puzzling. The plot, what there is of it, is loose - and frankly, often just plain unbelievable. (There is No Senior Policeman on Earth who would allow himself to get into the position Rafferty does, for instance.Or then behave the way he does.)But even before that, you have to care enough about what happens to the characters, and that's a real stretch here. Mostly because the central character is a self obsessed, self indulgent, crashing Bore. So, given that this is in the first person, all the long, loooong way through, that's a problem. The others aren't real great either. And they all ramble on and on and on.
I listened to the end of this because I got sort of fascinated - sure that somewhere, somehow, the whole thing might spring to life. I did. It doesn't. You don't have to.
I really hope that this is just a glitch. Because I think Tana French is hands down one of the best crime writers working today. This book, however, is an embarrassment. I've read other reviews pointing out that she writes about a lot more than Who Done It, per se, and that's true. It's what makes her So Very Good. But in this case, there is no other there there. I'd recommend any of her other books whole-heartedly. And lets, please, hope she's back on form next time around.


Ill Will audiobook cover art

I loved Dan Chaon's earlier books, but Not This

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-17-18

I had been waiting for this book to come out because I am a huge fan of Dan Chaon's previous work. But I just couldn't take this. This is simply, hands down, one of the most depressing, dismal, awful stories I have ever encountered. It is just weighed down. Too Far. The main characters range from un-engaging to irritating to something out of your nightmares. So much so, and I found the story SO depressing that I finally stopped listening.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Anatomy of a Scandal audiobook cover art

I enjoyed this. It's not Totally Brilliant, but -

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-17-18

It's pretty good. There is a slight predictability to this story, especially if you're up on British political sex scandals...But, even so. It's a good story, the writing is good, the characters are well drawn and the narration is excellent. Over all, this is a solid, enjoyable, listen. I liked it enough that I would certainly buy Sarah Vaughan's next book. The audio production on this is Very Good, so it's probably even better to listen to than to read.

Bad Luck and Trouble audiobook cover art

I usually love Jack Reacher, but something is off.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-17-18

This one sounds like it's going to be great. But Reacher comes across as kind of thuggish. Which he doesn't usually. That kind of ruined it for me. And the story isn't as tight, or creative or interesting as a lot of other Jack Reacher adventures. This series is one of my 'Go Tos' when I can't find anything to listen to, and I will Go To others. But this just isn't as good. The narrator gets Reacher wrong, and the women in it are just kind of rote. So, not the strongest. There are better Reachers.

Apple Tree Yard audiobook cover art

Really on the fence about this one

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-17-18

There were parts of this book that I really liked - mainly the narration, which is fantastic. And the writing is very good. But the main character is - I can't make up my mind. She's in her early fifties, and supposedly really accomplished...but. It's not that she does something sort of wild once; it's that she carries on - and what was wild once just becomes pretty stupid. I'm trying to avoid a spoiler here; so let's just say: What did she think was going on? I have a hard time buying that a supposedly intelligent person would get herself into this predicament. And, no, it's not the old 'you never really know anyone thing.' Because she doesn't even try to know. I mean, come on. Really? And by the end, honestly, she was getting on my nerves. On the other hand, I listened to the whole thing...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

A Place of Greater Safety audiobook cover art

Totally, Utterly, Brilliant

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-12-18

Everything about this is Just Plain As Good As It Gets.
I used to think Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies were Mantel at her best - which is amazing. Now, I'm not so sure. This is incredible as a novel. As an historical novel, it is superlative. The writing is beyond good. Making sense of the French Revolution, especially The Terror, is Not Easy. But, not only does Mantel do that, she also manages to produce an extraordinary novel on its own merits - and one that is completely relevant for today, or any day.
I read this, a few years ago, and loved it. Then I bought the audio version to listen to on a trip to France. And actually, I think it's even better. The narration is fabulous. A total pleasure to listen to, and , for my money, it actually enhanced the book. Which is rare. Spend a credit on this. You won't be sorry.

The Naturalist audiobook cover art

This started with such promise

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-19-18

But, wow. Then it really went down the drain.
The plot looked/sounded great to start with - although you can't help wondering , if our hero is Such A Genius, why on earth didn't he call a lawyer? Still, I stuck with it because I liked the premise, and I found the plot engaging enough. Until it was just ruined by being massively over-written, and burdened with this central character who becomes utterly unbelievable, and a pretty ridiculous crime-premise, too. In scope, if nothing else. (I'm working hard not to be a spoiler here.) But let's just say, the cliches don't help either. There are some really good, or at least sensible, small town police. All rural areas are not drug-addled waste-lands. And, you don't have to use every cliche in the book to write the book. It was promising, and with a good editor, this might have been OK. Without, not so much.

Agent in Place audiobook cover art

I really liked this; I didn't think I was going to

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-19-18

But I did. I thought this would be just another sort of ex-CIA, Bourne-ish knock off. Which is fine. But they are sort of same-ish. This is a cut above though, and as such, a really good listen. Great plot. Good central character. Well-written and well narrated. So - what's not to like? At times it was a little predictable - but it was overall really solid and very enjoyable. I'll go looking for another Grey Man ( while worrying about exactly How Many of these guys there are out there running around? And what if they all meet up?)

How It Happened audiobook cover art

THIS IS JUST PLAIN A REALLY GOOD BOOK

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-19-18

I have been reading/listening to Koryta for a while, and though I was never 100% with the supernatural stuff, I thought he was a good writer, and a pretty fantastic story-teller, so that kept me reaching for the next one. Well, now, for my money, he has really broken out into a whole new level. This book is completely realist - a Who done it, and Why Done it - FBI central character, essentially police procedural. BUT, it is also so much more, which is what makes it so good. The writing is compelling and powerful and, basically, totally engaging - helped by first class narration. The plot is just great. But it's not even that. It's the characters, and the character development, and the sense of place and issues. I'll cop to the fact that I come from this part of Maine, and Koryta has not only caught it, but hit the nail right on the head. Because, as much as anything else, this is a book about class, and how class works. So, while it is a really good 'thriller/police procedural', it is also, thanks to that, a really good novel. He's hit it on this one. Spend the credit, you won't be sorry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Providence audiobook cover art

I'm Really Sorry, But, Nope

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-24-18

I'm not happy to write this review, because I Really liked Caroline Kepnes' first two books. I thought they were just fantastic - so I bought this one right off the bat. But. No.
I understand that she might have wanted to do something obviously different - but this is just really poor. I loved her sharpness, and her humor, and her characters, all of which this book lacks. The story is idiotic - and, sadly, sort of pretentious with it. Anything tense, scary, thrilling, whatever, has to have some basis in realism for the reader - even the most fantastic things, as in great science fiction, create a world you believe in and characters you care about. This fails on both scores. The writing is labored. The plot is silly. And, worst of all, it's really hard to care about any of these people.
I think Caroline Kepnes is really talented. And I am sure she will do something wonderful again. But this book isn't it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful