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©2008 Joined-Up Writing; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
I've listened to two and read another of the Nicci French books. Latterly I've discovered that it's a husband and wife writing team. I've enjoyed them all, but have to say the savagery of the descriptions of murder and torture in them did rather give me the creeps. In contrast, "What to Do when Someone Dies" is much more of a thriller in the same sort of style as Robert Goddard. There is some murder in it but there are no gory descriptions. Instead it's mainly a widow's quest to find the truth over how here husband died. The authors' write sensitively about what it's like to lose someone you love and how it feels if you fear that person was deceiving you. The story is a real roller-coaster of clues and false leads and I certainly didn't see how it would end and couldn't stop listening to find out what happened next. Highly recommended.
I have not read or listened to any Nicci French before but thoroughly enjoyed this. At first I was a little unsure of the Narrators voice but as the story unfolded I thought it really suited the story. I was gripped from the minute I put it on was not disappointed with the ending!
I normally like Nicci French, but this one was so far beyond anything I have ever read of hers, it had to be a ghost writer!
It was like a very long episode of Woman's Hour
Her 'teenage' voice was the most infuriating I have ever heard and she CANNOT make a baby noise, so should never try again.
Most of it!
The whole story could have been told in an hour, tops!
This book was a huge disappointment. I read the blurb and expected a fast moving thriller : a car crash resulting in the death of a husband and a mystery woman in the car. All the ingredients for a good 'read', not so, the book was slow, LEADEN in fact and the first half of the first download was given to exact descriptions of the sad activities which follow a bereavement. I ploughed through three hours thirty minutes before there was anything interesting. An early clue slipped into the story helped me guess the eventual guilty party and only the last forty five minutes proved compelling. This is a dull story, unusual for this excellent author. I have awarded the stars for the narration.
Overall this book was quite enjoyable, but due mostly to the interpretive skill of the reader. As a recent widow I found some of the writing very poignant, but the story dragged for the first twelve chapters, lacked pace for the remainder, and brought the climax in too late.
I didn't totally hate it, and it is based on an intriguing premise. That said, there is something strangely off-putting about it, which I couldn't put my finger on until I realised, after I was about half-way through that this is the product of a writing team, not a solo author. I don't know why, but thereafter I increasingly thought of it as writing by committee. But I didn't know that at the start, and I still didn't really enjoy it.
The main character is just not likable. I didn't hate her, but she is portrayed as, on the one hand, driven by (understandable) obsessive demons to find the 'truth' about her husband's death; and on the other, as incredibly cold-blooded. Her character was either intended to be half-formed and chilly (at best), or the authors simply failed to make her live. It is amazing that she managed to have her close circle of friends to be honest. And her lack of any relationship with her family is entirely understandable. I wouldn't want her at a party, either, even before she entered her weird-widowhood phase.
Other characters, including the deceased whose past we glimpse via his widow's limited memories, also failed to shine or display much of their personalities. So that was a let-down.
The plot is, on paper, really quite clever. It does offer twists, far-fetched though much (no, let's be honest) all of it is. This was better, but it still does not hang together as a mystery with all the right ingredients.
The almost complete absence of descriptive passages makes the book lifeless. Much of it reads as lists of activities, meals, outfits, and journeys. This is compounded by the lifeless narrative style adopted by the reader. Her voice is quite monotone (maybe this is deliberate, to match the monotony of the characters), there is some modulation for male versus female voices (deep/high) but that's it.
I kept going because it did have a plot which though silly and annoying, I had to resolve. But then, I am a completer-finisher with audio books. If I wasn't or if I had not paid a credit for it, I'd have quit at the half-way point.
Narrator really annoying, monotonous pathetic voice. Ames you want to shake her.
not bothered publisbing it.
Anyone with a bit of life in their voice. I know she is meant to be grieving widow but for goodness sake, you can't listen to it for 9 hours without wanting to scream. Gave up after 2 hours which was far more than the story or narrator deserved.
Such a shame I like Nicci French books usually. this was dull, frustrating and spent more time talkng about what food was on offer or being eaten, than anything else. Irritatingly middle class, conjours up Primrose Hill set, self absorbed twits, ladies that lunch type of character.There was no suspense (in the 2-3 hours I stuck with it before giving up) and it just didn't hold my interest. If you generally like the mystery, suspense genre, not sure this is for you.
This book had me captivated from the begining to end. I really found the story well written and narrated.
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