©2004 Denise Mina; (P)2004 Books on Tape
"It's voice, not event, that grabs hold of the reader and won't let go. Lachlan Harriott immerses us in his obsessions; like Nabokov's Humbert Humbert, he repels and commands sympathy in the same instant. He is a charming, comic, intelligent narrator....Mystery lovers have lately been looking to Scotland, in part because of Mina's fast-growing reputation; this stunning new work can only bolster the trend." (Publishers Weekly)
Right from the start one is sucked into Lachan Harriots claustrophobic and obsessive world as he tries to find evidence to prove that his psychiatrist wife didn't kill one of her patients. The 'patient' being a convicted serial killer upon whom she has allegedly lavished excessive time. The book is Lachan's account of his quest to find the truth with copious extracts from court, police and psychiatric records all of which gives the story an immediacy and real-time quality. The lengthiness of the extracts are a bit too much for an audio book and at times repetitive as one cannot skim this sort of material when listening as one can when reading.
One feels sympathy for Lachan as his life falls apart as one surprise after another is heaped on him. It's not all doom and gloom as the author injects quite a bit of humour through his relationships with other family members who descend on him to 'help' during his wife's trial.
Well worth listening to. The reader is good. I'd advise giving the last hour of so of the book your full attention as the twists and turns reach their full crescendo.
"Realistic and riveting"
It's funny that those stories that are predictable are the most unrealistic. You find you know what the characters are going to do, not because you would do the same in their place, but because you know what this type of character does in this type of situation. Denise Mina has written a good story with a believable twist AND her characters act like real people. The husband goes back and forth between I trust her/I don't trust her, she did it/she couldn't have done it. The reader is superb with no jarringly false voices. I look forward to more books from Ms. Mina.
"Good surprise ending"
Although this book was a bit slow-moving in the middle, the ending was worth the wait and the character development was, in retrospect, excellent. I really enjoyed the narrator's brogue; he truly brought Lachlan Harriott alive!
This book would have merited 5 stars had the middle moved faster and had the action not shifted back and forth in time quite as much. I didn't have trouble following the plot, but I can see why other reviewers might well have.
Definitely worth a listen!
"Give Me More!!"
What a fascinating study of human emotion and relationship. I'd read anything by this author, and the narrator was absolutely fantastic. This is one I'm leaving on the iPod so I can go back and get a little fix of Scotland from time to time.
Very highly recommended! Give us more of Mina!
The intricacies of character development. Is this guy a boob? Is this woman an innocent? wha?
What I liked best was the way it developed. Some might find it slow. I didn't. I found it more and more involving.
No, I haven't, but he was excellent.
You won't get no High Concept from me!
Denise Mina is a great story teller with a real flavor to her stories. Like I said, involving.
"Hang In there"
It took me a little while to adjust to the fact that this book would be told in the first person in the form of a journal, but soon I found myself absorbed in this man's dilemma. I started to care how things would turn out for the characters and to wonder about the truth of the murder mystery. Stick with it through the beginning and the story builds. I'll look for other books by this author.
Great story and characters. I could not stop listening to this story. I think this is probably the best buy I have done at audible.
"Well-crafted psychological mystery"
With just a few short and very insightful descriptions Denise Mena can capture a gesture, a mood, even a character. The people and places seem to come alive and be so real. This is more of a psychological thriller, with slow building suspense. The character of the narrator, Lachlan, and his constant ruminating is trying, but his account of his efforts to find the killer(s) is engrossing and enjoyable. Well narrated.
"The voice gets you hooked"
I'd read Fields of Blood by the same author. This book was quite different, but Denise Mina's writing showed her amazing talent for quick caricature. One or two sentences and the characters are alive.
While there is a twist, I wasn't too suprised, and it's not a traditional mystery. Those looking for a procedural will be disappointed. While the main character does gather evidence, he doesn't know what to do with it--so he wonders over it, slowly becoming more depressed, or oppressed, until he reaches a decision as to what he's going to do for himself and his family.
The narration is of good quality, and though the Scottish accent seems a bit overdone in places, it more often adds convincingly to the story. For example, note the main character's nickname, Lachey: the Scots dialect pronunciation is "Lackey."
In all, very enjoyable and looking forward to more unabridged titles by this author!
"Get to the story!"
The story was interesting and everything but it takes ages to get to the good stuff! You spend so much time inside the protagonist jumbled head. If I wasn't the kind of reader who really, really needs to know what happened I'd have quit after the first hour. I'd only recommend this book if you're patient reader who doesn't mind listen to the inner thoughts of the protagonist for hours at a stretch.
"give this one a pass"
This book is written in journal format. The main character isn't very likable, and he and the others (his wife, the person killed etc.) aren't very interesting. It is the only audiobook I haven't listened to all the way through (and I've listened to many!) The narrator did a very good job, but even he couldn't create interest out of this book.
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