With works such as Swan Song and the historical thriller Mister Slaughter, best-selling author Robert McCammon has proven himself an extraordinarily accomplished storyteller. The Five features a rock band skirting the margins of success while touring the American Southwest. Life on the road, however, takes a strange turn when they encounter an Iraq War veteran. Soon thereafter, violence descends on the group, and their lives are tuned to a terrifying pitch.
©2011 The McCammon Corporation (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
I am quite a fan of Robert McCammon's "Matthew Corbett" series and when I listened to "Swan Song" I was hugely impressed and thought he could be an alternative to Stephen King. It was with this in mind that I eagerly downloaded "The Five", expecting great things but this one turned out to be a huge disappointment. I found it to be overly long and often rambling in his descriptions but even worse, the book never really seemed to get anywhere.
The story is quite linear and when McCammon does tempt us with a juicy morsel it just dries up and goes nowhere. Even the climax of the book is incredibly weak because one feels no real affinity with any of the characters, unlike Swan Song where every single character was a story in itself.
I must admit to being a bit of a masochist in that I don't give up on books and movies easily. I'm one of those people who hang on in there waiting for the story to change and suddenly get better but sadly more often than not they don't and I was bored with this book after about hour 2 and it never got any better.
I still rate McCammon quite highly as a writer and storyteller but The Five was a real drudge for me.
I agree with the review stating this was not as good as his other books. The last two hours in particular could have been done without.
The main story was great, a rock band misquoted incurs the wrath of a soldier suffering from PTSD; so he takes it upon himself to kill them. That was fine, but then there was this whole subplot about a random girl who offered them water and told them to write a healing song; and a rock venue having a haunted past, which was very wishy washy.
I'm onto his next book now, fingers crossed it's a good one.
If you work in a rock-band then avoid this novel. While the author has tried to research the "technical" side of gigging he makes some dreadful goofs as far as the gigging vibe goes and the practicality of fullfilling a tour with a decreasing number of bandmates. It just wouldn't work like he says. The first guy to get killed is the bass player but they carry on happily with the keys guy "playing his part" - in a rock band! - get real. I gave up on it ,but if you are not in the business then you may find this a decent serial killer yarn.
"This story flows like a river"
With every word of this book, Robert McCammon builds an elaborate web that goes across the American southwest, an epic and yet still a personnel battle between good and evil, makes you question your decisions and lays the groundwork and the reasoning behind deeds done later. The heroes of this book are hugely flawed, and the villains even after doing horrible crimes, aren't beyond redemption. The book is magic but it's not quite a fantasy, there are magical elements. It's the magic of what lies under our perceptions and the movers that are behind the scene.
The book takes place from the viewpoints of the band members, their manager and a damaged Veteran of the Iraq war who was at the point of suicide at the beginning of the book and see's a music video that the band made protesting the war and it touched him.... but not in a good way.
Like most of McCammon's work, at the end of the day, you'll leave after grieving, laughing with joy, shivering in the shadows, saying, "Oh no!" and falling in love with the characters. Good job Sir!
I love Robert McCammon's as an author. I anxiously await the book "Baal" on audio. I read some of the review prior to ordering "The Five", and for the first time, didn't pay attention to some of the in depth comments.
McCammon rambles in this novel. On and on it seems. I always loved his turn of a phrase, but in this case, it was all filling and no turkey. But by far, the worst...and I mean what stopped me DEAD in my tracks, was the narrator SINGING...yes, singing in the worst voice you can imagine...some of the songs in story. If you want the listener to be drawn in by the dynamic rock group, and real buy into the persona...don't hire Uncle Larry to belt out the tunes. Total buzz kill. Literally made me snap the plugs for my ear and contemplate just deleting the story.
Onward to Baal. At least I know there is no music in that tome.
Stephen King - Joyland
Zero. Zip. Nothing. Take singing lessons or just DON'T sing. Thanks for ruining what little was there.
I felt like someone just picked my pocket...or that feeling you get when you put twenty bucks in a slot machine and get nothing for the trouble.
Next time there is music involved, read the lyrics...or hire a band.
"Not his best writing"
Wordy, sophmoric and tedious. Not at all like the Mathew Corbet books. A good editor might have helped but in the end I just didn't care what happened to the characters
"Written like a song with a purpose."
I would recommend this to anyone who likes a subtle thriller with twists. I particularly like the fact that McCammon has presented this story as a quest for the reason to write a last song. The fact that there is an ever-present threat to this group takes a back seat to the true story.
I liked True. He is a Marine veteran FBI agent who is fighting an internal battle. He is conflicted because he needs to save the band, but wants to help the antagonist (fellow veteran) get the help he desperately needs.
I particularly liked Nick Landrum's portrayal of the country gas station owner at the end of the book. Also, the bell-bearded member of the 13th Floors.
I was moved by Terry's climactic moment from meeting the 13th Floors keyboardist to his meeting of Pett.
As usual, McCammon has given us the most descriptive settings and characters. He has given us background of characters to allow them to develop not only in our minds, but also in our hearts. He makes us hate and love the same person. This is his talent: he knows humanity, he knows forgiveness, he knows how to write people.
"Amazing book from an amazing writer!"
I chose this book because I love Robert McCammon's early American series. Historical mysteries are my main interest, but he is such a good author that I took a chance on this story - and I am sure glad I did! This story is amazing. It takes a little while to get into the flow, but if you read McCammon, you'd best prick up your ears from the very first word, becuaue every sentence and scene is there for a reason.
"Same excellence but wildly different"
Yes, McCammon is the master of subtlety and I'm sure I would learn more about his characters and the plot....
Perhaps in character interaction and variety of colorful personification of characters, so different yet united and are forced together in a desperate situation it is reminiscent of Stephen King's "The Stand".
How could you not love Arielle? (sorry just listened not sure how he spelled it) However, the performance was spellbinding!
Yes....a diploma makes a difference! Ask Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.
From "Swan Song" to "The Stand" I will (as an auditory learner) enjoy listening to this again...and redundancy bores me.
"Typical great McCammon story"
McCammon stories always entertain... Especially when one is ready for just a little macabre details. Although I have enjoyed his Mathew Corbett books more, The Five reminded me of some of his older books.
More than a specific character, I enjoyed the obvious attention he gave to details of music, bands of the era, and the typical good research that goes into all his books.
Excellent rendition of character voices...really helped you "be there". He may need to work on his singing, however.
From now on when you hear of "The Fab Four", you'll remember The Five, too.
I've been attracted to Rick McCammon's books because I know him personally. He's a great guy who isn't afraid to bring up life issues and questions that he and we all deal with, and he always finds ways for "good" to win out over "evil".
"characters still cross my mind"
I found the Five absorbing – great character development. I began to think of the Five as real people that I wanted to meet and get to know. Story line was not necessarily unique but that didn’t matter. I was a little disappointed in the ending. Not sure what I expected or how I would have wanted it to end but to me it just kinda sizzled out. Was long but you come to expect that with McCammon. The band members still cross my mind and I find my self missing them and wondering where they would be now and what they would be doing.
"Mystical and Mysterious in a Bad Way"
I really wanted to like this story. Mr. McCammon is a first rate writer and I???ve enjoyed all of his previous work. This one???it was a struggle to get through. The premise (I think) is a little known rock band being stalked by a ex-Marine suffering PTSD who hears voices and thinks the band is disrespectful of soldiers. The ex-Marine may or may not be a tool of some evil force who doesn???t want the band to write a particular song. The problem is that story line only covers about a third of the book. The rest is a wandering journey that goes everywhere and nowhere. There are a lot of repetitive symbols, dreams, portents and characters and issues that pop in and out randomly. I???m still not sure what the point was. Good vs. Evil? The tragedy of war? The tragedy of family? The power of music? Self-destruction? An ancient curse? Insanity? The story is disjointed, uneven and at least for me was an uphill battle to get through. The last third of the book was especially rambling.
I suppose if you???re interested in ???rock band culture??? you MIGHT find it more appealing than I did but I doubt it.
"Not what I expected"
Robert McCannon wrote a couple of books that are in my all time favorite list (Swan's Song, and Boys Life) so I expected a story that would draw me in and be interesting. I was disappointed. The story seemed to ramble along, and was kind of pointless. No suspense--no suprises.
I will probably go back to supernatural stories.
The narrator was OK, but couldn't save the story.
All of them.
Maybe someone who really likes rock bands would like this one.
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