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Black Maps

Narrated by: Scott Brick
Series: John March Series, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (83 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The stronghold of white-collar crime in the rarefied world of high finance - this is the setting for Peter Spiegelman's edgy, suspenseful, sharply-honed debut novel. At the center: John March, who walked away from his family's venerable merchant bank for the life of a rural deputy sheriff - a life that would explode in personal tragedy and professional disaster. Three years later, he's back in Manhattan, working as a PI and running from his grief and the expectations of his wealthy family.

March takes the case of Rick Pierro, a self-made man who has everything - and who's in danger of losing it all. An anonymous, poisonous threat has implicated him in a vast money-laundering scheme already under investigation by the feds. March's own investigation uncovers a blood-stained paper trail that leads him deep into the lives of both insiders and outcasts on the street. He discovers that his client may be the latest victim of a serial extortionist diabolically adept at psychological and physical intimidation, but the more March learns the more questions he has about Pierro, his wife, and the secrets hidden beneath the glossy surfaces of their lives. And the more he begins to fear that his own blood will be added to the trail before the case is closed.

With its headlong narrative, quick, incisive language, and brilliantly clarified details of finance - the legal and the illegal - Black Maps is a stunning first novel.

©2003 Peter Spiegelman (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nothing about this stylish, literate mystery reads like a debut, as Spiegelman handles the complex plot with verve....John March is one of the most intriguing new PIs to come along in quite some time, and if this strong first outing is any indication, he should be in for a long and enjoyable run." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Favorite Author Who Doesn't Disappoint here.

Nicely plotted hard-boiled dick novel and then tied together well with characters that shimmer. Liked it, recommend it. Enjoy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Incredibly mixed bag, this one...

This book has an excellent premise and the story is executed with intrigue and suspense. Unfortunately, it also has a couple of problems: First, the protagonist has a stupid streak that makes him hard to root for. He does idiotic things and then repeats them. This being a first novel, I'm hopeful that the author will improve his character development going forward.

The second problem is huge: The descriptions. Oh my, let me see if I can find the words to accurately describe this problem. This author describes EVERYTHING worn by EVERY character in EVERY situation, and he does it EVERY time they appear. By page 100, I was ready to scream, and this problem is pronounced enough that I won't make it through his future books if they're the same way. I have no idea what he was thinking, and it's unfathomable that the publisher didn't insist on paring this practice back during the editing process.

NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, is left to the reader's imagination. Each time a character appears, he describes every stitch of clothing, from the shape of boot heels to the style of earrings to the color of hair ribbon, the hairstyle, the pants, the shirts, the blouse, the scarf. Matters not if they're walking down the street or staring into the muzzle of a gun, he's gonna tell us EXACTLY what they're wearing. If there are a group of people present, he ticks through each one like this. It's not limited to characters, of course. We get the same level of minutiae for every building, every room we enter, and basically every piece of furniture in every room. It's utterly maddening, and it's made worse in the audiobook format since you can't skim through this nonsense.

I want to like this author because of the good story and interesting premise. I can only hope that someone somewhere helps him understand the seriousness of this problem. Reading is about visualizing, about imagination. It's not television and it's not necessary to try to turn it into that kind of experience.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story – terrible narrator

I really liked this book. At least I really liked the story, but it was really hard to stay focused on the writing what with the narrator, Scott Brick, treating every sentence as a dramatic reading. I had to keep backing up to re-hear passages since in my annoyance I would start thinking of how a normal person would narrate it. What a Drama Queen he is. Author and story were great though. I would have given more stars if it were a better narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good mystery book

If you enjoy murder mystery, you'll enjoy this too. The author draws each character and scene in a very good way, with a brief intro to the character and moves on with the story, so you are not confused. Well written with good pace. I'll be looking forward for more books by the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good first effort

The book review said this was the author's first effort and it was well done. Good story line with lots of plot twists and turns and sustained action. The main character was generally believable and not the run of the mill cop turned PI. I was a little put off by the author's desire to describe everyone's clothes with enough detail that it made me think they mattered. I finally decided that since this was his first effort in this genre he may have kept a day job in a clothing store.

I will give him another try and hope he decides to focus a little less on aimless description. The character is good and can be further developed and the author knows how to tell a story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent novel

Scott Brick is an outstanding reader, so I'll listen to almost anything he reads. I was surprised and pleased with how much I liked this book. The suspense and plot development are excellent, and unlike another reviewer, I thought the various descriptions in the book added texture and substance to the story. I would compare this book favorably to Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Reaction

I usually choose male authors for the simple reason that women have a tendency to overdo their description. Part of the enjoyment of listening is using one's imagination to create scenes and characters in the mind. This author was able to sustain my interest with the intricate plot, but he described in minute detail every interior, article of clothing, and physical characteristic. Even in the most dire circumstances and exciting action, he stopped to mention what everyone was wearing. If this is a first novel, I certainly hope Mr. Speigleman writes more books, but learns to leave something for the listener to visualize.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great first effort

Others hypercritical comments don't have much to do with the fact that this is a book you'll not regret getting. I hope the next book by this author will be out soon.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Peter at his best

I've read 3 now. Dr Knox is my favorite because I was an ER doctor. But I really like John March (not Marsh). I thought a financial / legal / criminal story line might be boring or too technical. But it was not in the least. It was riveting. I do hope that John has time to rest and heal now that I have finished this volume!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good Listen

I liked John March and I thought the narrator was good overall, but he did tend to make some of his characters sound a little too much alike which then made the story line a little more difficult to follow.

I would listen again to this author to follow John March and see if he is a character that I would continue to care about.

Only 3 stars because I have nothing to compare it to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful