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Elinor Dashwood

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An hodgepodge of bits and pieces

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

Reviewed: 07-12-19

The thing to know is that the author died before writing her book. So this "book" is actually a confused and confusing jumble of source documents: some writing by the author that presumably was intended to be part of her book one day, transcripts of interviews, articles, excerpts of "early drafts of articles," bits of memoir about her own life that have nothing to do with the killer/murders, a chapter from her editors and another by her husband lauding her, essays pondering abstract issues, etc.

There's no organizing principle - it's not collated, for example, chronologically. So this chapter's interview might overlap the one last chapter and then the next magazine article goes all the way back to the beginning. This make for lots of repetition and it's kind of bewildering to listen to. Parts are written in first person, and then it jumps to third person. One section will be written as straight true crime and then there are fictionalized sections of how conversations might have gone. THere's no one person's journey to get invested in as a reader.

What is most certainly isn't is "one woman's obsessive search for the golden state killer" - that would have been a book I'd have liked to have read, because McNamara can write well.

1 person found this helpful

Good but not great

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

Reviewed: 01-12-19

This is the story of (mostly the interrogation) of a recent serial killer Israel Keyes. I found it relied too heavily on interview transcripts - I don't think the writer every actually interviewed family members of the killer or victims, or, obviously, the killer himself. She has a repeated and (to me) unwarranted prejudice against the prosecutor after he apparently refused her request to be interviewed for the books, and this makes me question the objectivity of the account in general.

The narrator does a good job for the most part but occasionally mispronounces words (like pruh-PANE for PRO-pane, and pros-tetics for pros-THetics) and she needs to learn how to change her pitch or tone for subordinate clauses so as not to render sentences meaningless.

Overall, the book was competent but not particularly entertaining or fresh in terms of either writing or insights.

Narration ruins book

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

Reviewed: 10-05-19

I usually love John Connolly, but this book not so much. I think it was an okay book, not his best by a long shot, but okay. I say "think" because honestly, I could hardly hear the story due to the awful narration.
Jess Harding can read American male characters, even though he does so with an irksome upward inflection on the last word of every other sentence, so that it sounds like a succession of questions.
Unfortunately, the way he reads women and children makes them sound absurd.
In this book, he had to read in a variety of accents - English, Scottish, Geordie, Dutch, German, etc. - and his accents were execrable. I wish he had rather just read the whole thing in his usual accent, instead of attempting accents with which he clearly has no familiarity.
You may want to read this book in print rather than listening to the audibook.

Strictly for fans of the genre

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

Reviewed: 02-01-19

If you like this genre and want a fun book that hits all the usual notes, this is for you.
For me, it's confirmed I don't like the genre. I found the protagonist unappealing but maybe some readers would like her.
My main complaint is the narrator, who has a repetitive rhythm and an annoying way of overemphasizing words. And please would someone tell her "archangel" is pronounced ARK-angel, not ARCH-angel.

10 people found this helpful

Book doesn't deliver on the title promise

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

Reviewed: 22-10-18

The contents of this book does not match the title. Most of the book can be summarized as this: your back pain is in your head. Loads of fluff and padding, but that's it. Your repressed emotions cause your back pain. I kept waiting for the "Healing your back pain" part. When it came - about fifteen minutes worth in the last half-hour of the book - it amounted to this: ignore your back pain. And if that doesn't work, get therapy.

I was sorry to have spent a full credit on this.

4 people found this helpful

Good story, problematic narrator

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

Reviewed: 14-08-18

This book is basically an examination of adolescent sexuality. I thought the story was good, and well-told, albeit a little overwritten. But the narrator who reads the chapters from the perspective of the teen girl character spoiled my listening experience. She has an annoying sing-song "upspeak" accents and a strange habit of putting the emphasis on the second-last syllable in the sentence. This, combines with putting stress on the wrong syllable in words, and the wrong words in sentences is confusing and makes her sections hard to listen to. It also then makes it difficult to like or root for her character.

I did listen to the sample before I bought and it sounded okay, but it got worse as the book progressed.

Oh, and like an earlier reviewer, I also thought the father and brother were wayyyy too focused on their daughter/sister's breasts and sexuality. Very creepy.

Nothing new

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

Reviewed: 01-07-18

This is an old book with very outdated references and some information that is factually incorrect with modern science. Moreover, almost all of it is padding. About 95% of the book is this: alcohol is bad for you. When you finally get to the "easy action steps", there's no magic and nothing new. Basically you're told the way to stop drinking is not to drink anymore. What a waste of a credit.

1 person found this helpful

Not Burke's best, but still very good

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

Reviewed: 15-03-18

This isn't the best James Lee Burke, and I found the ending a bit lame, but even on a bad day, he's a master of his craft. As usual Will Patton reads like a dream, though I do wish he'd look up how to pronounce "misogyny" correctly.

1 person found this helpful

Narration spoils book

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

Reviewed: 26-08-17

I can't understand the raves for the narrator on this book. Please listen to the sample before you buy. Whenever the chapters or segments are from the point of view of the killer/heart donor, the narrator reads in a robotic, monotonous voice which is near impossible to listen to.

The reading perks up in chapters from the main character - but only really in dialogue, the descriptions or narrative sections are also in a monotonous voice with a staccato rhythm. So irritating! I got to chapter 6 and gave up. Up until then the story was only okay, maybe it perks up later but I can't listen to this anymore.

Starts well, then fades

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

Reviewed: 30-05-17

I thought this book started off with excellent writing, but then it lost its way a little. It was a good enough story, but there were a lot of cliches borrowed from other YA books and not a lot that was fresh or original, and I wasn't a fan of the "love square".

I was disturbed by the gratuitous use of violence. There are so many deaths (used as plot devices) that you become numbed to them, and the casual acceptance of rape combined with the endless violent victimisation of the main character begin to feel like sadistic voyeurism.

The narrators brought good expression and characterisation to their readings, BUT there were so many mispronunciations of words. So many. I can't think why the audio producer didn't edit these. Particularly irritating is the way the female narrator pronounces "says" phonetically ("s-ay-z" rather than "sez"), which just kept popping me out of my immersion in the story.

3 people found this helpful